Review of Kenya Silverback White

8 of 105 of 53 of 583 of 100

Leaf looks like a silver needle white tea with leaves on the smallish side, but with a much deeper golden yellow color.

Brewed, the aroma is very unlike other silver needle teas, and much stronger. Aroma is predominately toasty, nutty and woody, strongly reminiscent of hojicha, especially roasted kukicha, with a toasty and twiggy taste. Also reminds me a lot of a good, roasted Wuyi oolong or some heavy-roasted Tie Guan Yin. However, unlike these teas, this tea had a hint of the melony and vegetal tones characterizing most silver needle. Although this tea was very dark in character, it was completely unlike a typical shou mei or other darker Chinese white tea: it was toasty and nutty, but had none of the tones of autumn leaves.

Very full-bodied, and flavorful. The flavor sinks to the bottom of the cup. Finish leaves a tangy vegetal quality reminiscent of a Darjeeling oolong, but also with a lingering toasty quality and sourness like some heavy-roasted oolong.

I recommend brewing with boiling water, and making a single, very long infusion, but using very little leaf. I especially recommend to use little leaf relative to how much you would normally use for silver needle teas. The leaves here go a long way! Some people, however, might really like this for gong fu brewing, although I prefer not to brew white teas that way.

Eminently pleasing, and completely unlike any other white tea. It's fascinating to me that leaves that look like these could produce a cup of tea that tastes and smells the way this one does. If I were served this tea and not shown the leaves, I'm virtually certain that I would guess that it was a roasted oolong.

This tea is pricey. I think it would be worth buying a small sample for the novelty of trying it, but I would not make this an everyday tea. Although it has the quality to back it up, its overall character is so similar to oolongs, and there are oolongs that are similar in character and work better for making multiple infusions, that I don't think this tea offers the best value. But the fact that so little leaf is needed to produce a flavorful cup makes this more reasonably priced than the price tag suggests.

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