There are many reasons why I continue to buy from Rishi. In addition to the fact they sell strong loose leaf teas affordably with great distribution, they also do things like include information as to the exact location where a tea was grown, at what elevation and using which cultivar. Regarding this practice, I am kind of a huge fan. ;)
Today’s Rishi tea hails from Lincang, Yunnan, grown at an altitude of 1500-1800 meters above sea level (4921-5905 feet, AKA just barely high grown). Additionally, Rishi tells us that Silver Needle Jasmine is in fact a blend of three Whites: Fuding’s Da Bai, Mengku’s Da Yeh and Menghai’s Da Yeh. Seperately, those are all amazing and rare teas, so together they should be stellar, right?
Silver Needle Jasmine is about as furry as they come. In fact you can even smell the fur (somewhat). Obviously, in aroma Silver Needle Jasmine smells like mostly perfumed jasmine. Yet, underneath the jasmine (because for once it isn’t completely overpowering) one gets a sense of magnolia and White Tip.
I am a little miffed at the flavor however. Although i haven’t used any in my infusor or mug, Silver Needle Jasmine actually takes… like soap? It’s odd… and not at all in a good way. Maybe “soap” is too strong a word, but it does feel as if by blending Da Bai and Da Yeh, and then perfuming we’ve arrived at something altogether funky. In texture Silver Needle Jasmine is essentially a lot of dead Tip.
I get the distinct feeling that i bought this tea past its prime, but it’s always hard to tell if leaves haven’t changed and it still has aroma. Given Rishi’s description of the flavor as being “refined, silky and subtly sweet white tea blend” i have to believe this tea is expired. If it isn’t… i honestly don’t get what we’re shooting for here.
I’ve decided not to score this one. It doesn’t feel fair to Rishi (if in fact this tea has died) for me to review it under scrutiny. In any case, its still worth checking out next season.