Review: White August Silver Thread

Bai Hao Tea, White August Tea Co., White Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The nose was still slightly vegetal but also had a nuttiness that was somewhat welcoming. The flavor echoed the vegetal impression, but the melon note was there to my relief. "
Geoff’s Teaview: 8/10
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I am no stranger to white tea. For nearly two years, my stubborn arse only stuck to Silver Needle as a tea-ish mainstay before finally (and begrudgingly) moving on to greener (and blacker) pastures. Still, Silver Needle white tea (or Bai Hao Yinzhen for you pinyin purists) holds a rather ornate perch on my imaginary cupboard. How can one hate it? It's so...well...fuzzy!

White August Tea Co. presents a white tea that I assumed was a Silver Needle offering. Why they name-changed it, I know not. Probably the same reason they trademarked the new moniker. I will give them some credit, "thread" does sound more poetic than "needle" - less foreboding. I treasured the aroma of their batch; it smelled like grapes. No, not the muscatel kind, the ones you snack on. There was also the requisite melon-like comparison to the scent, but the grape-i-ness dominated. As for the appearance, they weren't as cleanly-cut as other Yinzhens I've seen, resembling an Indian white. Not a bad thing, though.

Brewing instructions called for 170F-180F water and a one-to-three-minute steep. Most folks that drink delicate teas have their own preferences, but I hoped for at least something as a start-off point. No matter. I brewed 1 tbsn in 8oz of 165F water for three minutes - a safe bet for Japanese greens and subtle whites. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the brew for nearly a minute over what I intended. That spinached it quite a bit. So, this - indeed - was a delicate white. On a second try with a new batch of leaves, I lowered my steep time to two-and-a-half minutes.

At the gentler (and monitored) time, the liquor brewed clear-to-faint yellow. The nose was still slightly vegetal but also had a nuttiness that was somewhat welcoming. The flavor echoed the vegetal impression, but the melon note was there to my relief. The finish was also a bit more pungent than I usually expected from a Yinzhen - like a grape dipped in butter. Overall impression, still quite good but not quite at the level of other Yinzhens. Don't get me wrong, though, that's still excellent...just not perfection.

— To purchase White August Silver Thread, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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