Silver Needles or "Yin Zhen" in Chinese (and "Aiguilles d'Argent" in French).
This spectacular tea is exclusively made up of silvery tips making it extremely light yet very high in caffeine. It has a unique flavor of ripe grapes, and no other tea can even come close to its delicacy. A not-to-be-missed tea, best enjoyed plain.
Appearance: magnificent! Long buds covered in a delicate silver down.
Color: pale green buds.
Scents: delicate note of wicker.
Brewed leaves (infusion)
Color: light green.
Scents: a rich and honeyed note, cocoa butter, also a musky, gamy note.
Color: very pale yellow.
Texture in the mouth: slight astringency, powdery sweetness.
Aromas: soft and rich – waxed wood, honey, damp wicker, very ripe fruit.
Aromatic profile and length in the mouth: a miracle of subtlety and balance; a small number of very delicate aromas, occurring in harmonious continuity, set off by the velvety liquor.
Our verdict: Silver Needles is a white China tea of incomparable delicacy. Made up exclusively of silver buds, it evokes ripe grapes and has astonishingly delicate fragrances. It is the most prestigious of the Chinese white teas.
Story: Silver Needles became famous during the Song Dynasty and as a result, a number of legends arose around it, including that it was only harvested on nights of a full moon, or only by naked young girls or virgins, or even that it was harvested with scissors of gold. One of the beliefs held, however, is quite true – like all the best green teas, Silver Needles was deemed suitable as tribute for the emperor and part of the crop was reserved for imperial use.
The Silver Needles tea made today, however, is more recent in origin, having been created at the end of the 18th century. In 1796, in the town of Fuding, the farmers decided that they would pluck only the buds from their tea tress. One hundred years later, a variety of very large tea trees was discovered in the region, which produced particularly downy buds, highly suited to the manufacture of white teas. Given the name of Da Bai (Great White) this variety is still used the manufacture of Silver Needles but also Bai Mu Dan.
Silver Needles enjoys a prestigious reputation across the globe and is often thought to be the finest in the world, because of the selectivity of the pluck and the delicacy of its scents. Its extremely subtle appeal is not instantly obvious to the uninitiated and it can be very disappointing if badly prepared or if the customer has no experience of white teas.
Throughout the year, our experts travel in the tea plantations looking for the best pluckings and new, rare, delicious teas.
The fact that we travel so extensively, that we taste and buy on location has many advantages and allows us to find rare crops by looking outside the traditional supplier circuit, to taste and to share with you the harvests of small plantations, which are often hidden away.
Visiting tea estates regularly and thereby establishing long-lasting relations with our suppliers allows us to guarantee regular quality control of the teas we buy, and to continue our mission: to bring you the best quality teas and to share our travels and experience with you, while concerning ourselves with environmental issues, working conditions on the estates and the fair trade practices to which we adhere.