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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review:’s Emerald Needle Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  Emerald Needle [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:180° F
Steeping time:1-3 mins. (diff for each infusion)
Tea type:Green
Aroma, dry leaves:  Planty/grassy

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —1 min.
Aroma, plain —  Rich yet light, not grassy
Taste, plain —Mild, relaxing, full feel in mouth
Color, plain —Pale golden
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —1½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Rich yet light, not grassy
Taste, plain —Slight floral quality, smooth, full feel in mouth
Color, plain —Pale golden
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —2 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Lighter
Taste, plain —Lighter
Color, plain —Pale golden

The name “needle” for teas often indicates that the dry leaves are finished into a long, thin shape. That is certainly the case here. A fine tea made from the tipmost leaves and buds and retaining their natural shape.

The “official description on the vendor’s site:

If you love Japanese green teas, then this is a must-try Chinese green tea for you! Emerald Needle has the vegetal, savory notes Sencha and Gyokuro are known for, but with an added complexity of flowers, cream and sage. Its underlying sweetness gets stronger with the second infusion, so we love to pair it with dinner (first infusion) and a savory dessert (second infusion).

We found the 1st infusion to be quite richly flavorful, the 2nd one to be less so, and the 3rd infusion to be rather too light. For a tea of this quality not to give a 3rd infusion of sufficient flavor is a bit disappointing, and so we had to deduct a half teapot. However, the first 2 infusions are so wonderful that we still consider this a tea worth keeping on hand.

One look at the tea leaves before and after steeping shows the high quality of this tea. Full leaves, brownish green when dry, steep up to a bright yellow-green:

The steeping directions on the label agree with what’s on the vendor’s site:

Sip the tea and savor every drop. It (and you) deserves it.

Their packaging of these sample sizes were rather interesting. These are “pillow” packs, as I’ve recently learned, with two small foil pouches inside.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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