Adagio Silver Needle
I thought I should kick this series off with a run of classic Chinese silver needle examples, before I dig into the more experimental Sri Lanka and Kenyan samples. Adagio’s seemed like a good place to start.
The dry leaves had little to no aroma, which, for this style, I find unfortunate. Lifting the gaiwan to my nose after the first steep, a distinct rush of jasmine and cooked spinach come on strong. The jasmine is detectable to the point that, if I didn’t know better, I would say that this tea either had jasmine added to it, or was stored in very close proximity to jasmine tea.
Unfortunately, I really, really dislike jasmine-scented anything. Looking back, neither the introductory forum post, nor the label on my sample, make any mention of a jasmine-scented version of this tea being provided. However, Adagio does make a Jasmine Silver Needle – confusion may have ensued. In the end, I feel two ways about the jasmine character: (a) if it is not an added character (highly unlikely), it has to be the strongest non-flavored character I’ve ever experienced in any tea, (b) the jasmine character is fleetingly light enough that if one were looking for a jasmine experience, they would likely be disappointed.
Pressing through the hazy cloud of jasmine occlusion, the green spinach character is noticeable again in steeps two and three. Hay-like grassiness picks up, but stays rather minimal. The sweetness is moderate to low and I find the overall complexity rather minimal. By the fourth and fifth steeps, the wet leaves smell of dry clay, a sign that they are exhausted, the soup singing a similar note of thinned out tiredness. Sadly, this may be the the least enjoyable silver needle experience I’ve ever had.