Picture of Silver Needle tea
Baihao Yinzhen – Silver Needle tea

Baihao Yinzhen, often known as Silver Needle tea, Needles Pekoe or White Hair Silver Needle is a specialty tea from Fuding. Genuine Baihao Yinzhen is produced from the Da Bai variety of Camellia sinensis. This is important to emphasize because many fakes are available which are made from a green tea.

History

Baihao Yinzhen was first time produced in the late 18th Century in Fuding. The leaf shoots produced at that time were not as big and fluffy as we know it today. The used tea variety these days yielded leaf shoots at about half the size of today’s Baihao Yinzhen. About 60 years later, the famous Fuding and Zhenghe tea variety were bred which are used until today.

Aroma and taste

Baihao Yinzhen has very subtle flavors in which the Zhenghe style is full-bodied through longer oxidation compare to Fuding style. The well-known grassy taste is caused by the withering of tea in the sun in which a large proportion of the chlorophyll is degraded. Baihao Yinzhen is also slightly sweet, floral and fresh but never as intense as a green tea. Some tea drinkers prefer therefore rather Bai Mu Dan because it is something stronger in taste but otherwise has similar tastes.

Preparation

For Baihao Yinzhen is often a steeping time of 1-3 minutes at 75 ° C recommended. I however think a brewing time of up to 5 minutes is quite appropriate because the leaf shoots are very compact and it takes a while until they are steeped. In any case, you should infuse the tea several times and also vary dosage and infusion time in order to find the right balance for yourself.

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