- Silver Needle Background
- Silver Needle Preparation
The first ever modern white tea, Silver Needle Supreme, or Baihao Yinzhen, came about in the late 18th century & is still considered the highest quality in the category. Produced in Fuding, Fujian, China, with the original pedigree cultivar Fuding Daibai, our Silver Needle Supreme is a high altitude first flush that distinguishes itself with the most joyful aroma and flavors among its peers. The finest and purest of this variety.
This matured batch of Baihao Yinzhen from 2011 has a soft herbaceous aroma reminiscent of cooked grains with accents of sweet berries & an undertone of caramel and cocoa. The infusion is soft, lively & malty sweet.. opening with a refreshing and cleansing sensation & a silky tactility. The aftertaste is mildly sweet. The liquor of this superb white tea is pale yellow. Allowing the tea to cool to lukewarm will bring out the fullest flavor, which will be both floral and sweet. In the second infusion, the sweetness is more prevalent. It reminds you of walking through a meadow in springtime in high grass up to your shins, with wildflowers blooming all around. Bottom line, this tea is fresh, delicate and incredible!
Ingredients: Artisan white tea
Origin: Fujian Province, China
The production of white tea is very different to green tea. Firstly the leaves come from a special large leaf varietal of Camellia sinensis called da ye. Secondly the leaves are not steamed or pan-fired, as is the case in green tea. These leaves are withered and dried naturally under semi-controlled conditions. If mechanical drying is required the leaves are baked (not fired) at temperatures less that 40°C. Thirdly only special leaves are selected. These leaves must show a very light green almost gray white color and be covered with velvet peach fuzz down. The ideal is a leaf or two being wrapped around a newly developing shoot. These shoots are plucked and segregated from the rest of the leaf being plucked. These leaves are then naturally withered and the painstaking process manual sorting to select the long 'furry' white tip occurs.
Peony White Needle Tea is the top grade available and very rare - hence its high cost. You will see the long white needles covered with furry down and a very uniform appearance – hallmarks of very rare white tea. These are the rules for picking Peony White Tea:
- Only picked between March 15 and April 10.
- Not picked on days that may be raining
- Not picked if the dew has not dried or if there is frost on the ground
- No purple buds allowed and the stems must not be too long or too short.
- Leaves damaged by wind, handling, insects or partially open are rejected and put into a lower grade.
The western cosmetic industry has recently discovered the benefits of white tea. In addition to its anticancer properties, tea has a calming and detoxifying effect on the skin. White tea is especially potent in that it is has three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as green or black tea and has been shown to be 100% more effective in mopping up free radicals that cause skin to sag. Some of the world's top cosmetic companies are becoming very interested in white tea for skin creams and the result is that high grade white tea is becoming even more rare than before.
Water Temperature: 175-190 degrees
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 rounded Tbl. (2.5 grams)
Steep Time: 1-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: 3
For best results, we like to first rinse the leaves to release the aroma and soften the leaves. The water temperature should be about 175-190 degrees Fahrenheit (80-90 Celsius). We use between 2.5 and 3 grams of tea per 6 ounces of water, which amounts to approximately 1 good Tbl, and steep for 1 to 3 minutes. Our Chinese Silver Needle may be prepared in a standard teapot, or in your favorite mug or lidded gaiwan. We recommend that you always pre-warm your vessel, before infusing your tea for up to 1-3 minutes. As with all green and white teas, our Silver Needle can be infused at least three times. Increase the time and temperature slightly with each subsequent infusion. Experimenting with your own temperatures and steeping times is encouraged. Cooler temperatures and shorter times yield more mellow, fruity elements, while hotter water and longer times produce more floral and full-bodied complexities. Always use the best-tasting water you can find, and adjust steeping times, quantity of leaves, and water temperature to your personal preferences.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.