Review: Golden Snail (Whispering Pines Tea Company)

Hold the phone. Whispering Pines’ Golden Snail tea might be the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen. I tried to take pictures on my sub-par phone camera, but they really didn’t do the tea justice, so I’ll use a close-up from their website:

golden-snail_1024x1024

Yes, it actually looks like that. Bask in its fuzzy, curly glory!

It’s a Yunnan Providence black tea. Some of the best teas come out of China’s Yunnan Providence, a mountainous area with the perfect elevation for cultivating complex, flavorful teas. Golden Snail doesn’t disappoint.

High-quality teas usually have at least some tea buds. You can spot the buds by shimmery white or golden strands among the darker tea leaves. Tea buds are the very top of the leaf, the most tender part of the tea plant, and they must be harvested and processed with care. All those gold, fuzzy curls in the pictures above? Those are ALL tea buds.

This means it tastes a bit like Silver Needle (An all-bud white tea- my favorite is Teavana’s offering. It’s pricey, but for good reason.)…or more like Silver Needle’s bolder, darker cousin: Incredibly smooth and mellow, but with some wonderful black tea notes: sweet potato and chocolate, with aromas of biscuit, cocoa, and mineral. It has that a silky mouthfeel and almost no astringency. Plus it’s naturally sweet.

It is one of those teas that is a really fantastic experience from beginning to end: Admiring the loose leaves (plus the smell from the bag alone is amazing! You get that cocoa, biscuity smell right from the start), steeping it to its deep gold color, sipping it and appreciating the flavors, and (because I’m a nerd), admiring the steeped leaves afterwards.

Like all loose leaf teas, this tea holds up to multiple re-steeps. I have re-steeped it three times, and the flavors hold up well over steeps, although the character changes a bit with each steep.

Can you tell I’m kind of in love with this tea? It’s good stuff. Plus Whispering Pines is a pretty cool company in general. They’re a smaller, Michigan-based company that’s very connected with nature and their tea farmers, which I can majorly appreciate.

I only bought an ounce of this tea, so I’m going to try and make it last as long as possible…