OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby JRS22 » Jul 7th, '10, 23:08

I've been ignoring the heat wave and drinking Adagio Silver Needle in my non-airconditioned kitchen the past 2 days. Unlike the_skua I couldn't detect Jasmine in the tea. I brewed my tea at 160 degrees for 3 minutes, and while the tea was lightly sweet and floral it was nothing like the Jasmine Silver Needles that I'm so fond of.

This is my taste of plain Silver Needles in some time so I can't compare Adagio's entry until I try some of the other teas in the OTTI.

Chip, thanks again for doing this.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 8th, '10, 01:14

Thanks the_skua, Putibung, and JRS22 for your reviews. And you are quite welcome!

I will have to recheck the Adagio SN, I did not notice a jasmine scent.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jul 8th, '10, 08:55

Is the Rishi Fuding Grand Cru from 2009 or 2010?
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jul 8th, '10, 09:17

Wow. And I thought the regular Silver Needle from Rishi was good.

At first, I thought that this tea was overly subtle, punishingly delicate, and fleeting. The first steeps didn’t have that punchy strong glowing pale fruit juiciness, the hay and straw scents restrained, a faint bit of starchy squash lingering in the background. But as the leaves warmed and steeped, the soup settled into what I can only call a graceful, complex maturity. This tea has a very refined air to it, with quiet, but complex, soft notes of fresh garden herbs, warm dawn earth, and just-peeled tree bark.

Sometimes it takes a quiet mind and a patient palate to pull from tea what it has to give. I think this one requires that level of detail, as it has not been processed to beat you over the head with that full-of-juice, spring-like, dewy sweetness and flavor that comes on strong in the first steeps of so many silver needles, only to evaporate quickly and leave you with something grassy and plain. No, this tea has stamina and grace out in the seventh and eight steeps. A truly notable and sophisticated example.

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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 8th, '10, 12:45

Yeah, TBH I am really liking the SN OTTI.

Thanks for reviewing the_skua!
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby nickE » Jul 8th, '10, 13:06

the_skua wrote:Wow. And I thought the regular Silver Needle from Rishi was good.

At first, I thought that this tea was overly subtle, punishingly delicate, and fleeting. The first steeps didn’t have that punchy strong glowing pale fruit juiciness, the hay and straw scents restrained, a faint bit of starchy squash lingering in the background. But as the leaves warmed and steeped, the soup settled into what I can only call a graceful, complex maturity. This tea has a very refined air to it, with quiet, but complex, soft notes of fresh garden herbs, warm dawn earth, and just-peeled tree bark.

Sometimes it takes a quiet mind and a patient palate to pull from tea what it has to give. I think this one requires that level of detail, as it has not been processed to beat you over the head with that full-of-juice, spring-like, dewy sweetness and flavor that comes on strong in the first steeps of so many silver needles, only to evaporate quickly and leave you with something grassy and plain. No, this tea has stamina and grace out in the seventh and eight steeps. A truly notable and sophisticated example.

Image and Full Post at tea.theskua.com

the_skua, your reviews are an absolute pleasure to read! :D
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby JRS22 » Jul 8th, '10, 15:07

nickE wrote:the_skua, your reviews are an absolute pleasure to read! :D


+1 on the poetic review, but please, share your brewing parameters so I can have the same tea experience
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jul 8th, '10, 21:15

Thank you.

I like to think that by not posting the brewing parameters with each review the comments about the tea can stand out.

For this and the last tasting series, I did post my brewing parameters in an introductory post on the topic.

For silver needle...here

...but with my own experience in brewing silver needle, I prefer a more gongfu-like approach, with a higher ratio of leaf, briefer initial steeps, and slightly warmer water. Accordingly, my steeps will be as follows: 45s – 175, 1m – 180, 1m30s – 185, 2m – 190, and onward. I think silver needles have such fantastic lengthy steeping capabilities that I regularly take them out to a seventh or eighth run. For this series, I will be calling into service my trusty two-ounce gaiwan...

Specifically I actually used 4g of leaves in a 2oz gaiwan.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby JRS22 » Jul 26th, '10, 18:58

I just finished catching up on my tea drinking that I missed over the last few days of being away from home. The 3rd and last tea that I tried was the Rishi Premium Silver Needles. I experimented with a lower temperature and longer brew time - 158 degrees for 3 minutes - and was rewarded with a delicious sweet floral brew with no trace of bitterness. One of my favorite teas the past few years was Jasmine Silver Needles and drinking these samples has illuminated for me the synergy between the jasmine and the silver needles.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 26th, '10, 22:04

Thanks everyone for sharing, hopefully more reviews to come! :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby JRS22 » Jul 30th, '10, 22:46

I've really been enjoying this OTTI. I've been having a problem lately with finding a Japanese green that doesn't taste to bitter to me, so trying Chinese and chinese-style teas has been a good change of pace. So far my favorite is the Rishi Fuding Grand Cru - it was the sweetest and richest of the group, and also the flavor held up over more steepings. I haven't checked prices but I'm guessing it's also the most expensive of the group. Still, I've enjoyed all the samples.

The next time there's an OTTI I'd like to organize my tastings so I drink several in one day, so I can compare them more closely.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 31st, '10, 00:17

JRS22 wrote: The next time there's an OTTI I'd like to organize my tastings so I drink several in one day, so I can compare them more closely.

Tasting sets are excellent for this!

Glad to see you are enjoying this OTTI! :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Aug 3rd, '10, 20:26

Desparately eager to get back to my last two samples and review, but life and work have been keeping me away. Not much longer...
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Aug 4th, '10, 15:04

Finally, back at it. Unfortunately, this tea was not very welcoming.

The needles of this tea were incredibly varied. A large portion were broken significantly and the color spectrum ranged from punishingly pale to a deeply hued golden to a near black. This was even more evident in the cup after a few steeps. The variance in processing showed through in the flavor and texture of the tea. The brief glimmering moments of delight came in the first wetting of the leaves, as they breathed out some apricot, muscatel, and white fig jam. After that it was all down hill, with an over-oxidized, weak black tea, and papery character. No pale fruits, little straw, and vanishing to non-existent sweetness.

I am honestly excited that regions are exploring tea styles that they have not historically produced, but as this example shows, some refinement is needed in the production process before these style-newcomers can create tea in the style that comes even close to holding a candle to the traditional producers. I look forward to that day, it will be a new dawn of tea terroir.

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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 2 Silver Needle ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Aug 4th, '10, 19:14

wow Skua...that Adam´s Peak sounds quite a bit different or lower grade than the one I get from Steeps. :shock:
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