Silver Needle Tea (Yin Zhen)
- Yin Zhen Tea
- Silver Tip Tea
- Bai Hao Yin Zhen
Generally considered to be the highest quality White Tea, Yin Zhen is so-called because of the silvery white hairs that cover the young buds. These hairs or silver needles are called Tricomes. They are produced by the tea plant to help stop the young bud from drying out and possibly also to protect it from insects.
The downy Tea buds produce extra caffeine and polyphenols to act as protection from the sun and insects. Contrary to popular belief, Yin Zhen has a higher caffeine content than Green and Oolong Teas. The high levels of polyphenols in Yin Zhen act as powerful antioxidants and this makes it a popular choice with health conscious Tea drinkers.
Picked at such an early stage in their growth, the emerging tea buds contain extra glucose to stimulate growth, which is why Yin Zhen tastes sweeter than other Teas.Buy Silver Needle
The best Yin Zhen comes from the Zheng He and Fuding counties in Fujian Province.
The highest quality Yin Zhen buds are picked between March 15th and April 10th during dry weather. Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) is made from the first flush of the Da Bai (Big White) varietal. Hand-picked buds are allowed to wither slowly on broad bamboo trays, either in the sun or indoors. Some producers then fire the tea lightly to give it a richer flavour. The long, slow drying process is designed to maintain a light silvery colour of the buds.
Yin Zhen (Silver Needle) produces a slightly viscous pale yellow-green liquor. The aroma can include notes of wet hay, melons, maple sugar, honeysuckle and almonds. The tea tastes very light initially then reveals delicious undertones of sweetness, flowers and green vegetables.
Silver Needle should be made with water at low temperatures – 70 - 80°C (158 - 175°F) is the best way to appreciate the delicate flavours. Allow roughly one tablespoon per serving and brew for 2 - 3 minutes. Infuse three or four times to appreciate the growing softness and sweetness of the tea.