Fresh and light
Appearance & Taste
The bud used for Silver Needle is large，strong and fat. It is long and straight, and covered in a pale, silvery-white fuzz resembling a white coat. The tea gets its name because of its glittering silver colour and needle-like appearance. The soup is apricot-yellow, clear and bright.
The tea tastes very fresh and light, with a hint of smoke and fruit and an aroma of fresh wildflowers with a touch of honey. It has a long-lasting, sweet aftertaste.
Adjust the amount of tea based on your own taste
For simple glass vessel/teapot brewing:
You can brew fewer tea leaves with more hot water for longer brewing time. Use 3 teaspoons of the tea for 125ml teacup or Gaiwan, 6 teaspoons for 250ml glass, or 12 teaspoons for 500ml teapot.
using 90°C hot water to infuse tea leaves for around 5-6 minutes. Re-steep for around one or two further infusions. (Adjust by personal taste)
Using Gongfu Style:
The detailed brewing guide for brewing White Hair Silver Needle Tea (Baihao Yinzhen) is below:
- Warm the teaware with hot water. Discard the water afterward.
- Add 5g tea leaves for 110ml Gaiwan or 1g tea for 30ml to 50ml water or adjust by personal taste
- Fill one-third of the teaware with hot water (90°C). The water should not be poured directly onto the tea leaves, but should run down the inside faces of the teaware; this protects the silvery-white fuzz and avoids otherwise damaging the appearance of the tea leaves
- Tilt the teaware, slowly rotating it two times to ensure a better infusion. Make sure the water reaches every tea leaf
- Refill the glass with hot water until the glass is seven-tenths full
- The first brew can be around 30s, for the second brew, extend extra 5s, then gradually increase steeping time for subsequent brewing.
- Drink until 1/3 of the tea is left before refilling
- Can be refilled for 4-5 times.
Silver Needle White Tea is produced in Fujian province.
Harvest & Production
Timing & Ingredients
Ingredients: The tea is made using the most delicate buds picked when the very first tea leaves are appearing in the spring.
The silvery-white hair of the tea: A unique characteristic of the Silver Needle leaf is its silvery down. This is certainly very beautiful – but what is it?
Actually, all tea leaves have the same kind of fuzzy covering when they are still new. It provides a form of protection against strong sunshine and insect attack.
The fuzz can also produce aromatic substances and may contain greater levels of free amino acids and coarse fibre than the insides of the tea leaves. It also contains glutamic acid, which has a slightly tart flavour, and also aspartic, serine and alanine acids, which have a baked wheat flavour and a natural woody aroma. These flavours combined are an important source of the unique fragrance of the Silver Needle White Tea.
Picking: Picking generally takes place from March to April when the year’s first new buds ‘flush’ (the picking time depends on the weather). Only the shoots are used in making Silver Needle White Tea, no leaves or stems at all. For instance, the buds are picked before opening. The annual picking cycle for Silver Needle is the shortest among all white teas, lasting only about 10 days. As the temperature rises, the buds will start to grow very quickly and the leaves will appear. The tea will then be regarded as White Peony rather than Silver Needle, even with only one day’s difference.
There are several picking restrictions for Silver Needle White Tea:
- Buds with diseases should not be picked.
- Frostbitten buds should not be picked.
- Picking cannot be undertaken on rainy days.
- Tea leaves cannot be picked before the dew dries in the morning.
Buds which appear damaged or moth-eaten cannot be picked.
- Buds which are too long and thin cannot be picked.
- Purple buds cannot be picked.
- Buds which are already opened cannot be picked.
Furthermore, the buds are very tiny and wrapped in leaves, which means they are very hard to pick. These restrictions limit the yield – even picked by an extremely experienced tea worker, one day’s yield will not exceed 50kg– but ensure a very high quality. Consequently, Silver Needle White Tea is very rare and expensive.