Why You Should Steep Tea Tips For A High Quality Cup

When we say steeping "tea tips" in the title, we're not actually offering you tea brewing hacks. Instead, we're talking about literal tea tips — the young, unopened leaves of the tea plant. Also known as "tea buds," this special type of tea is highly prized by tea aficionados not just for its rarity and price, but also for its top-notch quality.

What sets tea tips apart from regular loose-leaf tea is their youth. Unlike fully matured tea leaves, tea tips are plucked "prematurely." Tea farmers have long understood that tea plants conserve nutrients during the winter, which they use to grow new leaves as the weather warms. By harvesting the plants early in the spring, farmers can collect newly sprouted leaves packed more densely with nutrients and flavors than usual. This is the secret behind their unique and undeniably superior flavor and aroma compared to regular tea.

Beyond their exceptional brew, tea tips also boast a distinctive appearance. They are often picked so young that the leaves haven't fully unfurled, giving them a curled, needle-like appearance, with sharp points on either end resembling "tips" of leaves. Many tea tips are also covered in a fine layer of hair known as "downy buds," which serve as the tea plant's natural defense against insects. As the leaves mature, these hairs shed. This underscores just how early these leaves are harvested compared to the norm!

What are Golden Tips and Silver Tips?

Tippy tea is cultivated and produced in all major tea-producing countries, including India, China, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. But within this exceptional tea category, there are further distinctions known as "golden" and "silver tips." Depending on your choice, the resulting brew will not only vary in color but also in flavor and aroma.

These teas earn their "golden" and "silver" names from their appearance. Golden tips tea, sometimes referred to as "golden needle" tea, boasts a beautiful golden-yellow color. Taste-wise, it's as vibrant as it looks, with a velvety, mellow flavor profile and a sweet, almost honey-like aftertaste. Some have even noted a complete lack of astringency! On the other hand, silver tips have needles with a silver-approaching-white hue, offering a cooler, delicately sweet flavor with an herbal finish. Both types of tea are incredibly aromatic, but the specific scent can vary, ranging from "opening a fresh can of cocoa" to "sweet forest honey," depending on who you ask.

As for which one is better, it's a matter of personal preference. A good tippy tea will provide a superior brew compared to the builder's tea you would find on grocery store shelves. However, if you're willing to invest in a high-quality variety, like FTGFOP (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) or even STGFOP1 (Special Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) – the highest grade of Indian tea – brewing a pot might just give you the best cup of tea in the world right in your kitchen!