Satemwa Needles White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

I was in the mood for a good white tea last evening, and thankfully I still have some samples left from Satemwa Tea Estate. Among those samples, I found the Satemwa Needles. My search quickly ended for the subject of last evening’s review.

To learn more about Satemwa Tea Estates, located in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, check out their website here.

The sample packet has been opened, and the look of these needles have me excited. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a pale green to dark pale green color, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are long, narrow, and some are slightly twisted. There are some bare tips, but most appear to be a fine leaf with the tip. There are fine silver hairs covering all leaves and tips. The aroma has scents of hay, and light sweet wood.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes, with thirty seconds added to subsequent infusions.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet hay, light papaya, and light spice (black licorice). The body is light-medium, with a delicate, soft, easy sipping texture. The taste has notes of sweet hay, light papaya, very light honey, and very light black licorice. The aftertaste is delicate, with notes of sweet hay. The essence left on the breath also resembles sweet hay.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker golden-yellow color. The aroma is stronger on the papaya and black licorice scents, and lighter on the sweet hay. A citrus marmalade scent is also evolving. The body remains light-medium. The taste has also lightened on sweet hay notes, with the papaya, black licorice, light honey, and a touch of citrus marmalade taking the place of the sweet hay. The aftertaste and essence retain the delicate sweet hay note.

Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion
Satemwa Needles White Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with an identical color as the second infusion. The aroma remains fruity and sweet, with a light spice. The citrus marmalade and papaya scents are most dominant. The taste is also dominated by notes of papaya and citrus marmalade, with lighter notes of sweet hay, light honey, and black licorice. The third infusion had plenty of aroma and taste. It was nearly as good as the second infusion.

Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa Needles White Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a light forest green to light brown to brown color. Leaves consist of mostly a one fine leaf and generous bud pluck. The mature buds have a curved spear shape. The leaves and buds have a strong structural feel, and can easily produce another infusion or two of acceptable aroma and flavor. The buds average 0.5″ (13 mm) to 1″ (25.4 mm). The aroma is phenomenal, with scents of papaya, black licorice, and citrus marmalade.

The Satemwa Needles white tea definitely satisfied my desire for a white tea with a soothing aroma and relaxing texture. This tea blended the classic sweet hay aromas and tastes of Chinese silver needle tea with the citrus marmalade and papaya tastes that I have become familiar with in the white teas from Satemwa Tea Estates. This is a very good quality tea, and is a nice alternative to classic Chinese silver needle teas. Producing three strong infusion, with more to give, will assure you that this white tea will keep you company through the evening, or through a few hours sharing with friends.

Thank you again, Satemwa Tea Estates. Cheers!

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Shining Arrows White Tea from Teaneer

Yesterday, I received a package of samples from Teaneer’s Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm in the Nilgiri district of southern India. I previously reviewed the Teaneer Flow Green Tea, and since then have been interested in trying their other products. For more information on Teaneer, please visit the grower profile on the Tealet Teas website by clicking here.

I decided to start with the Shining Arrows white tea. Not only is that a catchy name for a silver tips style of tea, but I am always impressed with the silver tips from India and Sri Lanka. I have had silver tips from the Darjeeling district of northern India and from the Uva district of Sri Lanka, but this Shining Arrows will be my first silver tips from south India. It’s always interesting to note how the climate of the growing region affects the character of otherwise similar styles of tea.

The sample package is open, and I see fairly large tips with plenty of downy looking hairs. Let the journey begin…

Shining Arrows Dry Leaves
Shining Arrows Dry Leaves

The dry leaves, or tips, have colors ranging from white/silver to pale green to a purplish-brown. All tips are covered in soft, downy-like hairs. The tips have a fairly uniform length of around one inch (20 – 30 mm). All tips have the slightly bent, pointed shape. Most are unbroken, full tips, but there are some fragments and the occasional bare stem. The tips have a scent of delicate and dry sweet hay.

Five grams of dry tips were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The tips were infused for four minutes.

Shining Arrows 1st Infusion
Shining Arrows 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma had delicate scents of hay, dandelion, and light honey. The body was light, with a silky, round feel. The taste had delicate notes of sweet hay, dandelion, and very light honey. There was a very mild astringency. Perhaps the infusion time was thirty seconds too long. The aftertaste was delicate, and a nice mix of sweet and floral.

Shining Arrows 2nd Infusion
Shining Arrows 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with darker shade of pale yellow with a gold tint. The aroma and taste retained the same general notes, but at a slightly stronger intensity. The body was slightly heavier than the first infusion. The very mild astringency of the first infusion was non-existent in the second infusion. Overall, I liked this infusion better than the first.

Shining Arrows 3rd Infusion
Shining Arrows 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced an even darker shade of yellow-gold than the second infusion. The aroma and taste were nearly identical to the second infusion in terms of notes, but more similar to the first infusion in terms of intensity. The difference between this third infusion and the first infusion is that the third lacked some of the freshness and delicate character of the first infusion. I am not sure if this will properly explain the difference, but while the first infusion had a freshness to it, this third infusion had a soggy character, which makes sense.

I infused the tips a total of five times, and was pleased with the taste and aroma of even the fifth infusion. Despite the longer infusion times, these tips held up very well to five infusions.

Shining Arrows Infused Leaves
Shining Arrows Infused Leaves

The infused leaves had two primary colors, either light brown or fresh pale green. The length of the tips after infusion extended by about a quarter of an inch (5 – 8 mm). The shape remains slightly curved and pointed. There are some broken tips, but mostly unbroken. The aroma is mostly sweet, with a floral bouquet existing in a lighter intensity.

These Shining Arrows from Teaneer definitely fit the mold of a good quality silver tips white tea. It was delicate, fresh, and natural tasting. It also had a refreshing effect to it. I will be interested to do a side by side by side comparison in the coming months between silver tip teas from different regions. It is difficult to say how this one differed from the others that I had reviewed with putting them all in front of me at the same time. With the new year comes new harvests, and hopefully new packages of samples.

Thank you very much to Suresh at Teaneer and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm for providing these excellent samples. I look forward to progressing through the other products. Cheers!