Friday, September 7, 2012

Jasmine Silver Needle from TeaVivre

This review is long overdue, as I received this as a free sample earlier this Spring from TeaVivre.  I love jasmine-scented tea, and have tried pearl-style versions before, but have not tried too many of the loose Silver Needle variety.  You can find out more about TeaVivre's particulars at their web site:

It actually started feeling like Fall today, and leaves began falling from the trees, so it felt like the right time to steep a warm cup of comfort tea and fight the urge to visit my local Renaissance Festival.

Dry leaf:  as-advertised: needle-like light green and grey leaves, fresh, with a pleasantly sweet floral aroma.  It's important to note that it doesn't have the "rock candy" sweet smell of the Jasmine Pearl type I've tried from another producer.  I actually prefer the TeaVivre version because it isn't as overpowering or hitting the nose like a packet of "kool aid" before you even pour in the water.  The balance seems to be more appropriate.

Steeping Hints:  being a white tea, it's not something you want to over-steep or over-think.  I heated up a small mug of filtered water for 1 1/2 minutes, just before boiling, then allowed the leaves to steep for 1 1/2 minutes.

Cup:  Very light, pale yellow in appearance.  The floral sweetness continues, but there's also a hint of buttery or mildly vegetal "green tea" hints as well, which points to the freshness of the leaf.

Again, the balance is amazing.  The jasmine doesn't steal the show and have me puckering my lips to prepare my palate for a sugar overload.  It simply glides.  I can actually taste the white tea flavors - which is unusual for me, because I tend to steer away from white teas because of their tendency to be so subtle that I don't really pick up on anything.  This is delicate, in the true sense.

Overall thoughts:  Definitely caught my attention and made me re-think whether I want to keep the pearl leaf version in my cupboard. 

Pairing ideas:  buttery pastries, and I could even imagine serving this as a contrast at dinner with a salted, light fish or turkey entree

Wine Equivalent:  if only the Wine World had a jasmine-flavored grape...But if you have guests who would rather not take the tea plunge, a Pinot Grigio would have the same lightness of body and "punch," with a lean towards a citrus finish.


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