My first taste of the 2012 Bai Hao Yin Zhen from Norbu today, a typically classy silver needle: it started with a very lively, fruity aroma even as dry leaves, and a very typical silver needle appearance. I didn’t measure the leaf quantity used, but started with just a little, because I know these teas can be overwhelming if brewed concentrated. The wetted leaf takes up about 1/4 or 1/3 of the gaiwan.
The steeped tea (now on my 6th infusion) lives up to the promise of the leaf scent. Floral, fruity, sweet in the early infusions, a little more tart later one. Delicious stuff. I have taken it from about 30 seconds/150 degrees first infusion through a minute or two/195 degrees by the 6th, gradually increasing time and temperature, but this is such a good natured tea that I could do it casually without fear of bitterness or astringency breaking out.
This is in contrast to some silver needles I bought a while back at my local teashop, which tasted a bit musty from day one, and show a pronounced bitterness if not handled with a very light touch. This is a nicer grade of tea.
I almost forgot to add a very important feature of this tea: it pairs magnificently with small quantities of very intense, fruity dark chocolate, like Scharffenberger’s 70%.