Silver Needle


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Silver Needle

Postby Ti » Jul 13th, '08, 09:41

Today I tried silver needle for the second time. First time I could hardly taste it. The second time I added more leaf. 180 degrees five minutes. I don't know. I could almost get this same result from steeping an actual silver needle or a straight pin.

It looked good in the white cup and had some color and fragrance. Happy so far I took a sip. At the back of my tongue I could tell that what I had in my mouth wasn't just hot water. Slightly astringent maybe? I drank three small cups this way but trying to find any flavor was like...like scanning the horizon of the ocean trying to see a small ship that you know is out there somewhere and is about to disappear over the edge. "Is that it? No, no...maybe that's it there! No, that's not it either." I can't think of how else to describe it. Well I think I caught a glimpse of it anyway. I liked what little I could taste.

How much of this tea do you have to use to get flavor? I used what seems to me to be waay more than I do of anything else. I know it's not like pu or black but man...at this point I'm thinking 'pack the teapot solid' with leaf, fill the voids with water then maybe take the leaves and chew on them for a while like tobacco. Maybe then I could get some taste.
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Postby Marky » Jul 13th, '08, 09:55

I used too little leaf when making silver needle until I got a scale. Silver needle can be about 4-5 times puffier than black or green tea. Don't be shy, pile it in. Also, you can steep silver needle for a long time without it becoming bitter. (10 minutes or more) If you make it stronger you should be able to taste it. You may not like it any better, but it does indeed have flavor. Good luck!
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Postby Trey Winston » Jul 13th, '08, 11:35

Yes, you really need to heap it on with SN. I has an experience similar to yours the first time, but now I get good results with about twice as much leaf as I would use with sencha. Increasing the steeping time could work, but I'm not sure I'd steep it for ten minutes as the SN would get bitter before that (at least the ones I have tried).
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Postby puerhking » Jul 24th, '08, 14:46

I have to admidt after buying 250g of silver needle tea and trying it many times....I just did not dig it. Gave the rest to my cousin...who really likes it. To each their own I guess.
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Postby inspectoring » Jul 25th, '08, 21:37

Now this is funny - I was going to post my experience with my 1 yr old silver needle and I stumbled upon this thread. I have to say Ti - be patient.
Try steeping it for about 2 minutes at 185 deg.
I am drinking it right now - Rishi Premium Silver Needle - and I have to say - it is REALLY good.
Where did you get your tea from?
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Postby Ti » Jul 26th, '08, 05:47

I put the silver needle on the back burner for a few days but I decided to try it again today. This time I used A LOT more leaf. I did two minutes at 185 degrees and now there is flavor. It's good. I like it.
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Postby inspectoring » Jul 29th, '08, 11:38

Ti wrote:I put the silver needle on the back burner for a few days but I decided to try it again today. This time I used A LOT more leaf. I did two minutes at 185 degrees and now there is flavor. It's good. I like it.


Just out of curiosity - what do you mean by a "lot"? You know - I will take a picture of the amount of leaves I use to get a very pleasant complex sweet honey like flavor.
Silver needle is quite expensive and I would hate to see you waste leaves (I went through that phase couple of months ago)
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Postby Salsero » Jul 29th, '08, 11:51

inspectoring wrote: Just out of curiosity - what do you mean by a "lot"? You know - I will take a picture of the amount of leaves I use to get a very pleasant complex sweet honey like flavor.
Silver needle is quite expensive and I would hate to see you waste leaves (I went through that phase couple of months ago)
Yes, me want more info too. I am struggling with some yellow teas that I am finding just booooring. I can taste it, but I'm quite sure that I am not getting the real deal and my brewing is undoubtedly to blame. Whites, for some reason, seem to brew pretty well for me.
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Postby Chip » Jul 29th, '08, 12:41

Salsero wrote:
inspectoring wrote: Just out of curiosity - what do you mean by a "lot"? You know - I will take a picture of the amount of leaves I use to get a very pleasant complex sweet honey like flavor.
Silver needle is quite expensive and I would hate to see you waste leaves (I went through that phase couple of months ago)
Yes, me want more info too. I am struggling with some yellow teas that I am finding just booooring. I can taste it, but I'm quite sure that I am not getting the real deal and my brewing is undoubtedly to blame. Whites, for some reason, seem to brew pretty well for me.


Yeah...yellow bored me stiff. I struggled to get through a 50 gram bag. White however has never bored me, but has not excited me as greens and oolongs have.

But it is completely different.

When brewing SN, you have to remember, it is not how much volume of leaf you use...it is how much weight of leaf you use. I generally was going with 5-6 grams (a couple tablespoons) per 6.8 ounces of water. Once you know how much to use, SN is no harder than any other tea. But Whites can vary greatly in density of the leaf. Thus a scale is "helpful" at least in the beginning.

I breezed through my SN pretty quickly, not from wasting it, but really appreciating its subtleties. A session also lasted a long time...many steeps. There was no waste due to using a lot of leaf. I got every bit of flavor out of the leaves before I was done with them.
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Postby Ti » Jul 29th, '08, 20:30

From what I can remember...

I figure the SN would have filled my 4oz tea cup about halfway or so. Put it in a 6 oz tea pot and added 165-180 degree water with which I did a quick initial rinse (why, I don't know...just felt like it at the time) then filled the pot back up again for two minutes. Used a timer so I know it was two minutes. Then poured it into a heated cup. It was really good. No searching around for flavor like the last time. As I'm discovering there is a sweet aftertaste to some tea.

Second two minute infusion was about like the first. Third infusion was for four minutes. Still not bad. Fourth infusion was almost pointless. It turned into tinted water.

When the leaves completely re-hydrated they filled the tea pot more than half way. Maybe this was a lot of tea, maybe it wasn't. It was to me. I only bought a one ounce sampler so I'm not to worried about it. I remembered seeing some youtube videos and being aghast at the amount of tea used in some tiny tea pots. So I figured hey what the hell... pile it in.

I'm probably going to order some more.
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Postby hop_goblin » Aug 8th, '08, 13:42

I enjoyed a nice Silver Needle Jasmine once.
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Silver Needle

Postby Angela Justice » Aug 8th, '08, 15:03

Silver Needle is the finest and most delicate of all white teas. I also consider it to be one of the most delicate teas for tea in general. It comes out very light in the cup. I recommend steeping 1 heaping tablespoon 2 minutes in glass or porcelain in 180F water. You must use very good water. If you have any traces of strong minerals or chlorine, they become very apparent in this tea.

A great silver needle is delicately astringent with a fruity essence. The fruitiness is melon-like; sweet and cleansing to the pallet.

When I drink, I drink quite a bit of our Adagio Silver Needle and usually drink Silver Needle rather than water because it is low in caffeine and very hydrating. It intensifies on your palate as you drink.

That being said, many folks that favor bold oolongs, black teas or puerhs may find this tea too delicate for their tastes. If this is the case, it's simply not your cup of tea. But if you enjoy delicate, ethereal, other worldly drinking experiences, please give Silver Needle a try.
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Postby inspectoring » Aug 9th, '08, 02:52

Well I will post pictures after 19th but untill then let me say this - which is a universal truth for me.

The way the tea tastes, greatly depends on how clean your palate is. For me, and i know this is going to gross out some people, the gyokuro tastes best in AM BEFORE I brush my teeth. It will loose most of its vegetal flavor if I have it after lunch or dinner. Matcha on the other hand, will taste good after brushing teeth. White tea tastes best a couple of hours after brushing but before eating anything - or in the evening - a couple of hours before dinner and couple of hours after lunch.
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Postby Ti » Aug 24th, '08, 11:32

Took a break from the mulch pile today and tried silver needle again. I used about 1 tablespoon.

1. 180 d water - 4 min
2. 150 d water - 10 min
3. 150 d water - 10 min
4. 160 d water - 10 min
5. 160 d water - 12 min

I can't believe I got this many infusions out of it. Infusion #1 was kind of strong. 2 thru 4 were all about the same strength, 5. was getting weak but not just colored water. Probably could have streched a 6th out of it. I'm getting to like this stuff.
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