Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sampling Silver Needle Tea

As soon as I started reading "The Silver Needle Murder" by Laura Childs, which I finished last week, I got a bee in my bonnet to go try some Silver Needle Tea. Here's how the book described it: "Silver needle was a white tea from China's Fujian Province. Picked in early spring, its dried leaves resembled white pine needles. Brewing yielded a pale yellow tea with a delicious buttery almond flavor." Yum! So off I went to Teafusions, a tea shop in Peachtree City that is about 10 minutes from my house.

The Silver Needle was rather expensive, I thought, at $9 for one ounce. The tea was very fluffy, however, so the bag that I usually get with two ounces of other teas was nearly full. Once home, I transferred the tea to the vintage tea caddy I found recently, and I couldn't wait to try this "buttery almond flavor" tea.

Now I should probably emphasize that I am merely an amateur tea taster and by no means have a refined tea palate that is capable of sensing every little nuance of a tea's flavor. I like the fruity stuff as well as a good Darjeeling, and it has been my experience that the most expensive teas aren't necessarily the tastiest. (Not at all, I find.) That said, I did not find this to be a "buttery almond flavor" taste. I've tried other white teas that had a bit more flavor to them. This was fine, but only fine. Maybe it's just not a great quality of Silver Needle, or maybe this is the way it is supposed to taste. Advice, anyone? Should I try another Silver Needle Tea or just let it go? It's not that I'm *dying* to get my hands on some great Silver Needle Tea, I just want to experience it properly as part of my ongoing tea education! And maybe I did ...


  1. I was fortunate enough to find "The Silver Needle Murder" by Laura Childs at our local Canton, GA GoodWill store. Over the weekend, I visited Whole Foods in Alpharetta, and like you, I was curious about silver needle tea. I did look but ended up instead with my favorites. I am curious if anyone else finds the taste of silver needle as "buttery almond."

  2. It's hard to tell about this tea - you might try a slightly longer steep with ever-so-slightly warmer water (but not boiling) to see if that can coax more flavor out. Or try the reverse.

  3. I am curious just what a "buttery almond" tastes like. Would that be like unsalted almond butter? Would the almond be unroasted? I've never tasted a buttery almond. I know there is butternut squash, but I have never tasted a butternut either.

  4. We find this tea very pleasant but I don't know as I'd describe it as having a "buttery almond" taste. I just went and made myself a cup to see!!!

  5. Aren't you lucky to live so close to Teafusions. I was there just recently and really enjoyed my visit with the owner, Moe. His business seems to be booming and I was happy to see that they are now open for dinner. I am planning a return visit soon to try their fish stew.

    As for the Silver Needle tea, I think you are right. It did not seem to have much flavor and was too delicate for my taste. I could not detect anything resembling buttery almond. I'd rather have Dragon Eye oolong any day.

    I did find great satisfaction in sipping the tea from my extreme bargain of the day cup and saucer. It is Calvin Klein "Tonal Floral" pattern, made in Japan. I found it on clearance for under a dollar at Marshalls - what a hoot!


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