Monday, January 02, 2006

Private Estate Green Tea, “Flat Needle” from Silk Road Teas, G-PET-5

DATE PURCHASED: October 27, 2005

DATE BREWED FOR THESE NOTES: Between 12/9/05 and 12/23/05

DRY LEAF: Olive with silver notes, consistent whole flat leaves, about 1 inch long

WET LEAF: Appearance not noted. Sweet, soft aromas of pine resin and cooked cereal from wetted leaves in gaiwan.

APPEARANCE OF LIQUOR: Almost colorless in all steeps.

TEA-TO-WATER PROPORTIONS: I tried ratios of 1g per 1 oz. and 1 g. per 2 ozs. 1:2 was far more successful in all trials; 1:1 yields a liquor with too much astringency.

BREWING VESSELS: Gaiwans exclusively.

TEMPERATURES: I experimented with temperatures ranging from 140F to 160F. I find 140F preferable, 150F acceptable.

This is one of several different Private Estate greens currently offered by Silk Road Teas.

The principal flavor of this tea recalls the taste, and even a hint of the pungency, of pine needles. It’s a welcome, refreshing, delicate flavor, though, when not brewed too strong. This character remains through all steeps (which may extend up to five) and is offset in the earlier steeps by a warming, hot-cereal note. There’s a nice contrast between the cooling effect of the pine and the warming cereal. There’s sometimes a fleeting, toasty character, and sometimes a hint of sweetness. Good, long finish.

I’ve recognized this “pine” characteristic in another of Silk Road’s greens, the Green Silver Needle (G-GSN-2), in a lot from 2003.

The pine flavor is a personal reference, and I’ve asked myself if that reference might be influenced by the name “needle” and leaf shape. But that’s all I come up with, and perhaps another taster will come up with a difference reference.

CONCLUSION: A very good, but quite individual, fresh-tasting green.

Joe Kubera


Anonymous said...

For such a long rest and long sitting for the 1st and 2nd brews. Was the bitterness of the tea pronounce? What was the ratio of leave to water?

I love this tea and am still in search for a preferable method on this one.


Joe Kubera said...


Your comment made me realize I'd neglected to post any brewing times. My best results were achieved at 140F, with 2g of leaf in a 4 oz. gaiwan. The first steep was 1:15, the second 2:15. Of course, experimentation will reveal what you like best!

When I used 4g per 4 oz water, and 140F, the astringency was too pronounced.

That's my experience.