Silver Needle (or Bai Hao Yin Zhen) is one of the most revered of Chinese teas, produced in the Fuding and Zhenhe districts of its Fujian province. Gathered only for a few days in early spring, the dedication to perfection is evident in the pale, ivory-colored liquor. The lingering fragrance of our Silver Needle is delicately honeysuckle floral, with a warmed sugar sweetness and a subtle hint of white grapes. Silver Needle feels refreshing, soft and airy on the palate. This is a high-grade Bai Hao version of this exquisite tea, perfect to enjoy in multiple infusions.
Steep at 180° for 3-5 minutes.
Modern-day white teas can be traced to the 18th Century Qing Dynasty, a time when they were harvested from ordinary tea bushes. White teas differed from green teas in that their processing did not incorporate any steaming or pan-firing. The teas were simply allowed to wither dry. The resulting leaves were thin, small and did not have much silvery-white hair. It wasn't until 1885 that specific varieties of tea bushes were selected to make white teas. The large, silvery-white buds of the Silver Needle came into being in 1891. It takes more than 4,500 hand-sorted buds to make just one pound of this very rare tea.
Country of Origin: China
Cup Characteristics: A premium tea that has exquisite haunting hints of peach whit a fresh lingering finish. This is one of China’s best white teas.
Infusion: Shimmering with light yellow notes.
Ingredients: Luxury white tea
For the world’s top tea collectors, Fujian’s Fuding County holds a special place as the home of the world’s finest white teas. Each has its own special characteristics resulting from the unique soil conditions, rain, sunlight, tea genus, production method, and story. That’s right…story.
This tea is a silver needle but it may not be two doves silver needle. However, the two doves silver needle story follows:
Were they better known, Fuding County’s many “tea legends” would make the region a required stop for the world’s top storytellers. From one end of Fuding to the other stories abound describing the way certain teas were discovered and how they got their names. One of the lesser-known of these tales has to do with 2 Doves Silver Needle, a fabulously delicate “buds only” white tea plucked from a Fujian genus known as Fuding Da Hao.
The story we were told took place during the early days of Fuding – (the county was established during the Qing Dynasty in 1739 AD.) In those days, a tea grower and his family found themselves indebted to a mercenary who lived in a neighboring county and had protected them during a local squabble. The mercenary told the grower that he had one year to pay back the debt he owed or he would claim their daughter. Faced with the prospect of giving his only daughter to be the man’s concubine, the grower began to pray. After a few weeks, the grower and his wife both had the same dream. In the dream, a pair of doves told them that in the morning, two real doves would appear on the farm gate. The grower and his wife should follow the birds deep into the woods where they would find a tract of undiscovered wild tea. From this tea they were to pluck only the top downy buds. These they were to process in a special new style that would help them make enough money to save their daughter.
The next morning, just as the doves had said, the grower and his wife found the wild tea. They plucked as many baskets as they could carry and brought them back to their house where they set to processing them. 3 days later they brought the tea to market and made enough money in one day to pay back their debt – a miracle! From that day forward they called their new tea 2 Doves Silver Needle in honor of the birds who had saved their daughter. It’s an amazing story. Whether or not you choose to believe it, the amazing qualities of silver needle tea can’t be disputed. The wiry, silvery buds coated in a light down resemble dove’s wings while the flavor is light, sweet and loaded with nuance - a wonderful tea to add to your collection today.
Note: White teas are amazingly healthy and typically have less caffeine and higher anti-oxidant levels than black, green or oolong teas.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly (à la chinoise) - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180ºF or 90ºC. Place 1-2 teaspoons of leaves in your cup and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on - until the tea flavor is exhausted. Milk or sugar will mask the delicate characters of this tea and are not recommended. Look at the pattern of the leaves - they foretell life.
Iced tea-brewing method: It is not customary to make iced tea from white tea, nevertheless if you wish to do so we would recommend the following method: Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.] LE0707