Posted by: dan | October 2, 2009

silver (needle) cruiser

AtticSilverNeedleHeader(title with apologies to Royksopp)

Dan: The delightful people at ATTIC Tea (All The Tea In China), a café hidden away somewhere in Bristol, sent us some samples to sip – one of which is their Silver Needle. You may remember that Silver Needle is one of my favourite white teas and one of my favourite teas overall. Despite having reviewed two different version before I’m going to do so again and with good reason.

A mountain of needles with no fuzziness

A mountain of needles with no fuzziness

One of my favourite things about teas is the smell. I think it’s often overlooked because it’s only a small part of the whole experience of making a cup. But that first whiff of the dry leaves can reveal a lot about the tea you’re pinching into your pot. The smell of the dried leaves often comes close to the taste of the drink and it’s a wonderful indicator of flavour and texture.

I’ve always had a fondness for the smell of dried tobacco leaves (can’t stand them once they’re lit, though). It’s not just the ‘flavour’ of the smell that’s pleasant but the ‘texture’ of it too. The crisp dryness that comes with cuts through the air and delivers a direct hit of the scent to your nose. It’s reminiscent of hay that’s been reaped and left to dry in the sun over the long summer months, only less dusty. I mention all this because it’s what the texture of the smell of this tea reminded me of when I opened the bag.

Possibly the oddest angle for a teapot photo ever?

Possibly the oddest angle for a teapot photo ever?

Obviously the flavour of the scent is different – it’s quite grassy as most white teas seem to be – but that clear-cut, well-defined feel is there. Coupled with the fact that the leaves aren’t fuzzy like the previous silver needles I’ve tried I was intrigued. It was the same, but different.

And the flavour reflects this perfectly too. When it’s hot, it tastes like the silver needles I’ve tried before – notes of cucumber, hints of wheat, etc. But when it cools it takes on its own sense of laid-back refinement. The flavour is very, very slight which may put off some people (I’m sure Ben would find it too non-descript), but it’s the texture where it shines.

The leaves cling to the side of the pot

The leaves cling to the side of the pot

The mouthfeel is incredibly smooth compared to the fuzziness of other silver needles – and  that is what makes it special. As I said before the texture is what supports and directs the flavour and here it makes its mark spectacularly. While the flavour is much lighter, you get a better sense of the leaves’ delicacy and individuality because it knows what it is. Attic’s Silver Needle is more confident and as such it can afford to relax more. This is the whole point of white teas – effortless cool that captivates and intrigues.

Dan was drinking Attic’s Silver Needle, available at £5.50 for 50g.

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Responses

  1. Good to see the One Cup Teapot in action again guys!

    Have a good weekend.

    David (JING Tea)

  2. Yes, another white tea review. A chance for me to spout off about the White Tea Puerh I’ve tried recently. The stuff is marvelous mostly because it’s not too slight and I can actually taste it. –Teaternity


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