Arbor Teas’ Silver Needle

Silver Needle by Arbor Teas
White Tea / Straight
$21.00USD for 2oz

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Arbor Teas has provided me with Silver Needle for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Silver Needle came to me from Arbor Teas in a sealed plastic packet. The text on the packaging told me that it was all biodegradable to be environmentally friendly, which I think is really neat. The nice thing about tea is that it is biodegradable, so it is really encouraging when the packaging is as well. Arbor Teas states on their website that they are certified organic.

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Silver Needle is an organic Chinese white tea, with no additional ingredients. The leaves themselves are long and skinny, with the white feathery down on the leaves. They’re quite beautiful to look at. Because of the shape and size of the leaves, it’s quite a bulky amount of tea in this package! There’s a sweet honeyed smell to the dry leaf that’s quite inviting.

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Preparation

Arbor Teas recommends steeping Silver Needle in 180F water for 2-3 minutes. My initial steep of Silver Needle was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Silver Needle steeps to a very pale yellow that you can almost miss, if you don’t have the best light. The tea itself has a light scent to it, floral and honey is the best way for me to describe it. My first sips were so enjoyable. There’s a lightness to this tea that is the opposite of ‘heavier’ teas (black teas, I’m looking at you!). There is zero astringency, absolutely no bitterness. Silver Needle has a beautiful honeyed flavouring to it that balances well with this light floral flavour. The lightness of this tea makes it easy to drink.

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A Second Cup?

Silver Needle gets darker with each resteep until it gets to be a bright, golden yellow. I resteeped Arbor Teas’ Silver Needle a total of six times (seven steeps overall), adding an additional 30 seconds per steep. The tea gets almost thicker in texture, with an increase in floral-honey taste. Silver Needle is still light and very much enjoyable, despite getting thicker as it gets darker. I found my last steep got to be a little bit lacking in flavour, but I was able to get five resteeps that were a complete joy for the taste buds.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Arbor Teas’ Silver Needle. Such a beautiful tea from the dry leaf to the first (and last) cup. The honey floral flavour of this white tea are delicious, and the capability of this tea to handle steep after steep is a testament to the quality of the young leaves. In a way, this Silver Needle got a little bit more complex in flavour with each steep because it got darker and thicker and just more delicious. I think it would be great as a post-meal tea if you’re looking for something a little sweet, or as a tea to pair up with an afternoon tea that is skewed more heavily to the sweets and pastries over savoury food options.

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24 Days of Tea: Organic Ginger Pear

Organic Ginger Pear by DavidsTea
White Tea / Flavoured
$12.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

Day 8 of the 24 Days of Tea calendar is Organic Ginger Pear, and let me tell you that the smell of this dry tea smells exactly like it’s labelled on the tin – ginger and pear. I found with this tea, and a lot of the other teas that have big chunks, is that the tea base itself ends up settling to the bottom of the tin so when I first looked into it all I saw were the dried pieces of ginger and pear. But after digging into it a bit, there was the white tea leaves, so that wasn’t too disconcerting.

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Organic Ginger Pear is made up of: ginger, apple, cinnamon, white tea, pear, rosehip, and natural quince, pear, apple, and cinnamon flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Organic Ginger Pear in hot water (75-80°C/167-176°F) for 4 to 7 minutes (both on the packaging and on the product page). If this was purely just the additives, I’d be inclined to agree, but there is a white tea base. White teas are generally steeped for 2-5 minutes. I steeped Ginger Pear for close to 3 minutes. I have a page here on One More Steep about steeping times for various types of teas.

First Taste

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While Ginger Pear is steeping, there’s this really nice warm ginger aroma to it that just wafts up. It has a lovely light orange colour, and it just smells good. On first sip, I was pleasantly surprised that I could taste the pear as I couldn’t smell it very well as it was steeping. The ginger flavour just lingers pleasantly on the tongue as I drank this tea. There’s a subtle natural sweetness, that I would attribute to all the fruit that’s in this tea blend, that partners well with the ginger. I don’t think that this tea really needs additional sweetener at all.

A Second Cup?

I tried one more steep of Organic Ginger Pear. I found with the second steep that there was a bit of a flip in the flavour profile. The ginger was stronger the second time around than the pear, although that was still present as well. There’s less sweetness to the tea as the ginger’s spiciness begins to crowd out and overpower the other flavours.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s Organic Ginger Pear. I think it does fantastic for a single steeping to get the full ginger and pear flavour profile. If you’re a fan of ginger, I think you’ll also enjoy subsequent steeps with this tea. I would hesitate to recommend following the steeping directions set out by DavidsTea as 7 minutes would be far too long for a tea with a white base. It is a very tasty cup of tea though, and I really enjoyed the ginger and pear pairing.

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DavidsTea’s Royal White Peony

Royal White Peony by DavidsTea
White Tea / Straight
$14.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

White Peony is a tea that I’m fairly familiar with – it is a tea that is often available with at the dim sum restaurants that I go with my family. It’s also called Bai Mudan (literally translates to white peony), for those who want to read more about it. DavidsTea’s Royal White Peony is one of their newer straight teas – it’s a nice touch after them releasing many teas with additional flavourings/ingredients. DavidsTea describes Royal White Peony as a “delicate white tea” that has “fresh notes of garden-picked snow peas”.

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The dry leaf of Royal White Peony takes up quite a bit of space, it’s a light and airy tea that takes up a lot of space. The tea has a light floral scent, with visible feathery down on the leaves. I’m not getting any of the snow peas mentioned in the description of the tea, but I’m intrigued by it because I’m familiar with bai mudan. Royal White Peony is made of organic white tea from Fujian province.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Royal White Peony in hot water for 4 to 7 minutes. Hot water is mentioned on their website as being 75-80°C (167-176°F). I used the green tea setting on my Breville IQ Kettle (175°F) and steeped the first pot for 2 minutes. White teas are steeped for 2 to 5 minutes, I find the recommended steeping times of 4 to 7 minutes to be much too long.

First Taste

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Royal White Peony steeps to a pale yellow and has a very delicate floral scent. There’s quite a beautiful taste to this tea, there’s a natural sweetness with floral notes. With the steeping time of two minutes, there is zero bitterness to the tea, a creamy texture to the tea, but also no taste or scent of the mentioned snow peas. It’s a very pleasant tea, I find that it’s easy to drink and I could easily drink this all day.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Royal White Peony a total of three times. I added an extra minute or so with each subsequent steep – the second steep was the deepest golden yellow colour. The flavouring of the second steep was the best as it had a deeper floral taste, although I am still missing out on the snow peas. I find that the third and fourth steepings were good but not as rich as the second steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Royal White Peony. While this isn’t an inexpensive tea, I do think that Royal White Peony does a great job of being economical. You get quite a bit of tea going by the weight, and the tea itself is delicious. I love that Royal White Peony resteeps well, and that you don’t need to use a lot for a pot of tea. I always enjoy teas that can be resteeped well, and it tastes fantastic – huge bonus! It’s a nice every day tea, and the delicate floral taste to the tea would make an excellent tea to have with an afternoon tea or other sweets.

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DavidsTea’s Mango Madness

Mango Madness by DavidsTea
White Tea / Flavoured
$11.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I like fruit, I like white teas, but a fruity white tea? Mango Madness came recommended to me by someone who worked at the DavidsTea that I so frequently frequent. It smelled amazing in store – very much like a ripen mango. The dry tea smells like mangoes, apples, and flowers. I cannot for the life of me actually smell the white tea base, but it’s supposedly there. Mango Madness is made up of: apples, white tea, pineapple, orange, safflower, strawberry, calendula petals, mango, stevia extract, and natural mango flavouring. Mango Madness contains sulfites (sulphites) for anyone who’s sensitive to them.

Mango Madness isn’t the nicest looking tea that I’ve reviewed before here on One More Steep, but it certainly has a heavy fruit to tea ratio.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Mango Madness in hot water for 4-7 minutes. Their website indicates that “hot water” is 75-80°C (167-176°F). The base of Mango Madness is a white tea, so you want to make sure that your water isn’t too hot or else you risk burning the leaves. I steeped my pot of Mango Madness for about 4 minutes for the first steep.

First Taste

Mango Madness steeps to a bright yellow that reminds me a lot of the colour of the inside of a ripe mango. This tea lives up to its name as it does smell like mango! The taste of Mango Madness is undeniably fruity. It has a sweetness to it that doesn’t require additional sweetener at all, in my opinion. I can taste the mango and pineapple, along with some subtle floral notes that are a bit difficult to pick out at times. The stevia/sweetener distracts from the natural floral notes in this tea blend.

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A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Mango Madness, it was quite watery and didn’t make nearly as much of a punch as the first steeping of Mango Madness. I would say that Mango Madness is only good for one steep.

My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Mango Madness. It’s delicious and lives up to the promise in its name – heavy mango flavour that doesn’t require anything extra. I tried icing the rest of the tea that I had in my pot and it does very well as an iced tea, I would say it would be good as a tea pop (tea mixed with soda water) or just on its own cold. It is quite expensive for a tea that doesn’t do well for being steeped more than once, so do take that into consideration – there are other teas that are less expensive that do equally well when iced. However, if you’re looking for a mango iced tea, Mango Madness will fit the bill!

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Teavana’s Silver Needle

Silver Needle by Teavana
White Tea / Straight
$17.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

This was a Starbucks/Teavana reward that my sister picked up at Teavana. Unfortunately, she had asked for a different silver needle tea and wasn’t aware that they had given her a different one until she had gotten home – disappointing, to say the least.

Silver Needle is a straight white tea, it has a very light floral scent to it that is quite subtle. It has some grassy qualities in the dry leaf – you can definitely tell by looking at the tea leaves why the tea is referred to as ‘silver needle’. The pale silver-white down on the tea leaves is soft to the touch, and the leaves are a decent size.

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Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping Silver Needle in 175°F (79°C) water for 4-5 minutes.

First Taste

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Silver Needle is an amazingly pale tea, it steeps with a light yellow colour after about 4 minutes of steeping time. The aroma is much like the dry tea – grassy, a little bit of floral notes. The taste is very subtle, but it tastes just like it smells. The mark of a true straight tea, it’s quite nice to have a tea that tastes the way it smells. There’s a lightness to this tea that is enjoyable. While the taste doesn’t bowl you over, it’s still quite good and it’s one of those teas better suited for a mellow or lazy day.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Silver Needle several times. The Teavana website states that it can be steeped for 3 to 5 times. I steeped it for a total of 5 times – adding an extra 30 seconds for each steep. It still has this amazing lightness that I enjoy, the flavour remains subtle but present the entire time. The colour of the tea gets a little bit darker with each subsequent steep – it turns into a golden yellow.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Teavana’s Silver Needle. The tea itself was good – the smell of the dry leaf matches the steeped tea, the taste doesn’t disappoint. There’s a lightness to the tea that is enjoyable, and steeping to the recommended time results in a tasty cup of tea. It really is the type of tea that you need to be able to sit down and enjoy, not rush through. I am disappointed with Teavana’s customer service, given that my sister had asked for a different silver needle tea to use her Starbucks/Teavana reward on and was given this one instead.

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