Also known as “Bai Hao Yinzhen,” Silver Needle is one of the two most esteemed forms of white tea in the world. Although white tea only recently reached American tea drinkers, it has been produced and consumed in China for many, many generations. There have been some changes in the way white tea is produced in the thousand years since China’s so-called “Tea Emperor,” Emperor Hui Zong, first honored white tea as the most elevated of all teas… but we still think it’s the most delicate and sophisticated of tea types.
Like all the best Silver Needle white teas, ours is harvested by hand in the mountainous Fujian province of southwestern China, an area that’s internationally known for a diverse repertoire of teas including Jasmine Pearls, Iron Goddess of Mercy and Wuyi Oolong. There, individual “tips” or “buds” (the tiny, new-growth tealeaves that have yet to unfurl) are hand-plucked for only a few days each spring, immediately before they would open if left unharvested.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen literally translates to "white fur/hair silver needle," in reference to the striking amount of silvery-white fuzzy hairs that cover the surface of the delicate, needle-shaped tea buds. When wet, the leaf buds reveal themselves to be a beautiful & healthy light green, which is a wonderful and striking visual contrast to the fuzzy, almost "dusty" white appearance of the buds when dry.
Appearance, Flavor & Aroma: The processing of white tea is quite straightforward. It is simply picked, carefully withered in the sun and/or indoors in a climate controlled environment and then dried. This very simple processing creates a very mild but distinctive finished product that, when steeped, allows the subtle but distinctive vegetal/floral aroma and flavor elements unique to the Da Bai Hao tea cultivar to take center stage in the cup. The infused liquor is a lovely pale yellow that feels fairly light bodied in the mouth. It delivers a lovely subtly sweet flavor with hints of super-fresh green vegetables and mild floral elements. The aftertaste is surprisingly mouth-coating, sweet & long lasting for such a mild, sweet tea.
The lengend of Bai Hao Yinzhen A long time ago, legend has it that the people who lived at the Fujian province were experiencing a dry spell which was threatening the lives of the villagers. It was believed that a celestial plant was growing in the Taimu mountain in the Fujian area which was guarded by a black dragon. This plant is believed to be able to cure many kinds of illnesses and it will bring up water when the juice of this plant is dropped into the river. Many villages went looking for this special plant but failed and were magicked into rocks in the mountain. A young lady, whose two brothers also went there but were both dead, decided to risk her life. When she reached the mountain, the black dragon attacked her viciously but she cunningly managed to kill the dragon. The young lady then plucked the celestial plant and dropped its juice onto the people who has been turned into rocks, and all they were transformed back into human beings. Thanks to her courage and effort, the villagers were very grateful. They transferred the plant from the mountain and planted it widely in their villages. Due to its silvery white color and needle shape, it was named "Silver Needle".
During the Song Dynasty (year 1107), white tea was developed using the tea leaves plucked from the specific tea cultivars, and processed according to the way of making green tea. Its unique process is also recorded in the Ming Dynasty tea books. During the Qing Dynasty (1772-1782), the commercial production of white tea emerged. During early 19th century, Zheng-He district (政和) started its mass production of Silver Needles mostly sold to European countries; the production was interrupted during World War I (1918), and resumed after 1926. In year 1855, Fu-Ding district (福鼎) started the cultivation of Fuding Da-bai cultivar (大白茶树 Da-bai cha-shu). It then gave rise to the massive production of Silver Needle at Fuding district thanks to its fleshy bud which was highly appreciated.
Bai Hao Yinzhen Producing Areas Bai Hao Yinzhen is mostly grown and produced in Fuding and Zhenghe counties of Fujian province. At the growing area, there is a huge temperature difference between the day and night. During the day, there is sufficient sun light and tea leaves vigorously produce plentiful of substances such as amino acid and carbohydrate, which are essential for the production of quality tea. At night, if the temperature is high, the metabolism is continually taking place, and the tea leaves will consume the substances that were produced during the day time. However, at the mountainous area, the lower atmospheric temperature at night caused tea leaves to become less active and therefore those substances remain in the leaves. It contributes to the mellow taste of tea.
Silver needle white tea, called bai hao yinzhen in Chinese, is among the highest grades of white tea. This variety of tea is minimally processed, like other white teas, and is produced exclusively from leaf buds or tips of the tea plant, not including any fully developed leaves.
Making Silver Needle The sweetest of the white teas, Silver needle is made up of only buds from the tea bush. Meticulously separated from the stem, the buds are fanned on to a single layer on a bamboo tray and dried in the sun until 70% of their moisture is removed. The withering process is completed indoors as the tea is roasted over charcoal. During the roast, the tea is separated from the charcoal by bamboo trays lined with paper. The very low temperature drying of this tea is designed to preserve the white color of its buds. Too high of a temperature will make the buds yellow.
Unlike green tea, white tea is never fired or steamed to kill the enzymatic action that causes oxidation. Instead, oxidation of the leaves is prevented by their lack of moisture. The withering process is very long and gradual, thus slight oxidation of the leaves (or buds) will naturally occur. With this slight amount of oxidation, white tea’s color is typically not as bright or green as you would expect from a green tea.
Judging the quality of Silver Needle white tea High quality Silver Needle should be made up of large, healthy tea buds with most of their white down intact. When infused, the buds will turn to a light green color right away. The color of the infusion is like a light honey. When compared to infused green tea, it will appear slightly yellow.
The fragrance is light, akin to freshly bloomed flowers. The flavor is more juicy than dry, filling the mouth with a smooth and lingering sweetness.
For first time tea drinkers and seasoned aficionados alike, Silver Needle white tea is a very approachable tea. It is easier on the stomach than a green tea and even a long infusion in high temperature water will not bitter the flavor. You will find it very easy to drink and very easy to brew.
Make tea for tea, tea quantity, water quality, water temperature, such as whether to sit cup is different, the same tea, the bubble tea, also have very different. Bai Hao Yin Zhen is the same. Introduce all kinds of method is generally experience, the kiss can have a try, different water temperature, and shooting, tea, tea service quantity, suitable for yourself is the best.
1 cup bubble method. Use glass bubble Bai Hao Yin Zhen: with 200 ml of large glass (suitable for various kinds of materials, the glass most appropriate), take 5 g Bai Hao Yin Zhen 90 degrees with boiling water first warm tea, first with boiled water again by the direct brew, and a minute later can drink (Bai Hao Yin Zhen process, tea juice without RouNian not easy leaching, brewing time in general relatively long. With the water temperature of tea different and different, want to tea time is relatively strong is extended, especially brew old white tea) this bubble Bai Hao Yin Zhen, Bai Hao Yin Zhen fragrance soluble in water, tea very smooth sweet also facilitate ornamental white tea lift ups and downs, the side ornamental edge drinking, experience and for drink white tea is full of rich artistic conception.
2, GaiWan method. Take Bai Hao Yin Zhen tea quantity about 3 g, with 130 CC or so GaiWan (have tea tea with a friend recommended GaiWan 80 degrees-90 degree water brew); Water 2-3 minutes, two water vice versa, sanshui after extended appropriately. First liquor taste after, chao feel full, and memorable. With GaiWan usually bubble number 12 to 15 times very resistant to bubble, back to Kennedy don't reduce