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Post-lunch tea:

Silver Needles (a white tea) from Narien Teas

Back on March 23 of last year, I reviewed my first white tea. I was not too fond of the unadulterated white tea at that point in my limited tea drinking experience. All that has changed.

Today I am drinking a white tea from Fujian province called Yin Zhen, often known as Silver Needles. This tea, according to the book Harney & Son’s Guide to Tea, is “widely considered the best white tea in the world.”

The tea is very subtle in flavor, with a hint of floral high notes such as jasmine. According to the book previously quoted, “Yin Zhen can sometimes begin tasting only of water. But it quickly blooms in the mouth to show a light sugar sweetness, dulled with gentle vegetal flavors of steamed bok choy. Some versions also have faint ‘heat’ notes, like toasted white bread.”

I feel my tea drinking has come full circle. I am now able to appreciate a fine quality white tea that before left me screaming, “What, this tastes of boiled water!”

Check out Narien Teas next time you are in need of quality tea.


After lunch tea:

Orange Blossom White Tea from The Republic of Tea

Another trip to the cafe in my building brought a new tea experience. I had my eye on this Orange Blossom white tea for some time, and I finally decided to try it today insofar as I was out of options that piqued my interest.

This white tea comes from Fujian Province, China. I learned–after making it–that this should only be steeped for 30 to 60 seconds. I think my brew had steeped for at least four minutes, but the flavor did not suffer in my opinion.

I was a little concerned, prior to imbibing, that this tea would have a very strong orange flavor: one that I would not appreciate. On the contrary, however, the profile of this tea was subtle, and left merely a hint of citrus.

This evening, while listening to Bud Powell, I am drinking a white blueberry tea from Adagio. White tea, as many of you probably know, is low in caffeine. According to Wikipedia: “White tea usually contains buds and young tea leaves, which have been found to contain lower levels of caffeine than older leaves, suggesting that the caffeine content of some white teas may be slightly lower than that of green teas.” Therefore, it is a perfect nighttime tea.

From my experience, white tea takes well to flavoring, especially with fruit. I have only encountered one white tea I did not enjoy and that was a Silver Needle white. The tea I tried tonight did not have a powerful blueberry taste, which in my opinion, it could have used. It said to steep the tea for seven minutes, and I overdid it, but you cannot ruin this tea: the tea is very forgiving.

This tea would probably be served well either iced, with sugar, or iced and with sugar. I might try my next cup with a little sugar to bring out the blueberry flavor.

After today’s disappointment with my morning tea selection (read Passion Tea post below), I decided to redeem my tea drinking experience on this first day of Autumn. At the local food court, an eatery offers teas from Mighty Leaf. Today I asked for a favorite Green Tea Tropical, but unfortunately, they were out, so I opted for White Orchard.

Mighty Leaf’s web site explains:
Mouthwatering fruits of melon and peach harmoniously blend with the delicate notes of pure China white tea.

A delicious, fruity white tea that is, as Mighty Leaf describes, quite delicate. A perfect tea for a Fall day.

As you might have gathered from recent posts, I am hitting the iced tea lately. I have always been partial to iced drinks, and really had to adapt to hot beverages in Massachusetts’ capricious weather that was unthinkable in my former home, Florida. I think it is important to drink what your own personal whims dictate, and mine have been enjoying the four offerings of iced tea each day at Tealuxe. Over the past four days I have enjoyed four teas, which all are available hot, so I will be able to enjoy them even when they cannot be found cold.

kir royale iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)
Tealuxe description:
A warm and sweet mixture of various red berries and fruits. Set apart by the tangy flavor of black currant. Give yourself the royal treatment, Kir Royale treatment.

Tastes a little of blackberry juices. This is an herbal tea, and I am really not one to compliment an herbal tea.

vanilla jasmine iced tea from Tealuxe (108 Newbury Street, Boston)
Tealuxe description:
A “must have”. Start with the tastiness of good Ceylon vanilla tea and add sweet jasmine. The result: two flavors that were meant for each other.

Neither jasmine nor vanilla was very strong in this black tea blend. I have recently grown tired of jasmine tea, but decided to try this one insofar as none of the other offerings interested me and I had a hankering for tea. This was a nice surprise, and my first experience with jasmine in a black tea.

pear & green tea (iced) from Tealuxe (108 Newbury Street, Boston)

Wonderful combination of green tea and pear flavor. I just love the pleasing yellow/green color of a green tea especially when it is iced and in a transparent cup.

white blueberry iced tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Tealuxe description:
Rare White Tea from the Fujian region flavored with sweet blueberries. A wonderfully smooth and subtle treat. Try it hot or iced.

This is my third chance to try white tea, and each time I have come away with the feeling that white tea does not have a very strong flavor. This was also true of this tasting, but this time it was suited to the subtle blueberry flavor.

Breakfast tea:

Tazo china green tips from Starbucks (Marriott Boston Copley Mall entrance)

Mmmm…vegetal. It was just how I like it. Not as strong as the Korean green tea I had from Dado, but about as enjoyable. Both teas I found to be extremely smooth. I can’t wait until I get my green tea starter kit from Den’s Tea.

Jason and I stopped by the Teavana in the Prudential Center to see what blends they were sampling. It appears to have been the same from last Sunday, but luckily the last time we went I did not try all they had to offer. Today I tested out the Queen of Babylon blended with the Rooibos Rose Garden. According to the Teavana catalog, Queen of Babylon is “a whimsical tasting white tea blended with immunity boosting pomegranate seeds, sour cherries, sweet carrot bits, apple, pinapple pieces and rosebuds,” while the Rooibos Rose Garden is “a flowery and fruity blend of green Rooibos, rhubarb pieces, red currants, citrus peel and red rose petals.” Needless to say, this combination, with the added sweetener, was way too sweet for me.

Lunch tea:

darjeeling silvertips white tea from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Love tea? Try the most wonderful white tea we’ve found. White teas are even less processed than green teas, and this one is delicate, sweet and balanced.

Blah!! Tastes like boiled water. Perhaps white teas are not for this unrefined palate.