Posted by: dan | April 8, 2009

mountain of needles

adagiosnheader(title with apologies to David Byrne and Brian Eno)

Dan: One of our first reviews was Jing’s Silver Needle tea. This time, it’s adagio’s turn to tantalise my tastebuds with their Silver Needle. There’s one crucial difference, though. Adagio’s tea is in a bag. Now you might have noticed that I’m not a big bag fan, but I shall lay that to one side for now, and focus on the taste. I think this is the first tea variety to be reviewed twice, so I’m breaking boundaries all over the place. Not caring about the bag? Reviewing a Silver Needle again? I can do what I want around here without Ben to stop me! Not that I will, of course. This is about as adventurous as I get. Nevertheless, the review shall go on.

To start with, the leaves don't fill the bag

To start with, the leaves don't fill the bag

Jing’s Silver Needle made a big impression on me, as did teapig’s slight variation, the Silver Tips. Whilst both were similar, the needles beat the tips, but by a small margin. They were both delicious introductions to white teas. With adagio’s Silver Needle, we have a similar situation. It smells fairly similar, with the usual wet cut grass scent, though this is much fainter. The aroma is underwhelming, almost to the point of non-existence, when the leaves are either dry or wet.

Fortunately, the taste makes up for it. It’s another wonderful white tea, with plenty of flavour and clarity. The colour is the same; and the taste is, as predicted, close to Jing’s version. But what is different here is the subtler flavours. While Jing’s had the underlying taste of “cucumber and melon”, adagio’s doesn’t. In fact, the underlying flavour is reminiscent of the wheaty tones of the Puerh and the Popcorn teas, which is weird. Fortunately, it’s extremely lighter. I say fortunately not because it’s a bad taste (it’s not), it’s just that it would be completely wrong for a white tea, far too powerful for the airy tastes they offer.

The leaves expand, not unfurl

The leaves expand, not unfurl

This will come as no surprise to you if you’ve been keeping up so far, but I love it. It’s a gorgeous cup of tea, with plenty to offer. But the big question you’re now asking is this: Is it better than Jing’s silver needle? And I can’t give a definite answer. They’re both marvellous drinks, and both have something slightly different to offer. As such, it’s hard to pick a clear favourite, and I would suggest you try them yourself. If you like white tea, it doesn’t matter whose you pick, you’ll still end up a winner.

Dan was drinking adagio’s Silver Needle white tea, available at £5.99 for 15 teabags, or £8.99 for 55g loose leaf.

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