In the world of tea, as in other areas of human endeavor, awards are given out for various reasons, and quality is not always a factor, so when I, your fave little teapot, heard that Doke Tea’s Silver Needle (2nd flush of 2016) had won a gold medal in Japan, I and my humans were skeptical. Were they just about a fancy gold presentation bag? Or did the Japanese palate detect something special here? This little teapot and my humans wanted to find out and were excited when a package arrived with some of this tea included. The taste test was delayed a bit due to other commitments (another package of samples had arrived from another tea vendor), but we soon got one of the gaiwans in our Tea Gang busy on the infusing. Was Doke Silver Needle worth that award? Well…
Click on each photo for details:
Silver Needle is the highest category of white teas. This is due to it being composed entirely of leaf buds (as opposed to flower buds) that have to be plucked at the right time and processed with great care. The demand for this tea among connoisseurs is high and has resulted in a lot of different gardens outside of the Fuding, China, area where this tea style originated, trying to get into the act of producing this special tea. Within the Silver Needle white tea category there are various grades, and the Fuding version is often considered the top grade. So, competition is stiff.
My humans began trying this Doke Silver Needle tea by cutting open the foil package that sealed out air and odors very well. The fragrance of the leaves was less nutty and more vegetal than expected and quite light. They laid out some of the buds in a dish to take a close look. Silver Needle is called “silver needle” because of the fine “hairs” on the leaf buds and because of their needle shape. These buds certainly lived up to both. They were also well-formed and of good size.
My gaiwan buddy infused the leaves in water heated to 160°F for 2 minutes. The buds didn’t open much, but the aroma of the liquid convinced us that that was long enough. And indeed it was. The flavor was light, sweet, a hint of vegetal, smooth, and no bitterness or astringency. Considering our impressions of the first version of Doke’s Silver Needle we had tried, this one is a HUGE step up.
A look back (click on each photo for details and year):
It certainly seems as if the Japanese judges knew what they were doing when awarding this tea a gold prize. Our congratulations to Neha Lochan and the Lochan family who own and manage Doke Tea Garden where this tea was grown and produced. TOOOT!
Proud moment (click on each photo for details and year):
Where to buy: Doke Tea. Please tell them you saw their tea here. Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: We get no commission on sales of this tea. We just want to share our love of this tea and our thanks to these TEArrific folks (one of our site sponsors).
© 2016-2020 World Is a Tea Party photos and text
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