Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle White Tea)

02.07.2009
Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle White Tea)
This tea got its name from the shape of the processed leaves which are twisted into a thin needle shape covered with white hairs. This is the rarest and most expensive type of White Tea because only the new buds are used in the production of the tea. Bai Hao Yin Zhen is grown in four counties in the Fujian Province: Fuding, Zhen He, Jian Yang, and Song Xi.

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Legends says that during China’s Yao Dynasty there was a woman who was extremely kind and always helped people. Because of her kindness people called her Mother Lan. One year, a terrible disease came to her village and many people were sick and dying. Mother Lan worked tirelessly to help them. One night a celestial being came down and told her that heaven had chosen her to stop the disease and save countless lives. She had to climb Tai Lao Mountain and find a tea tree hidden amongst the clouds and fog, then brew a tea from this tree and administer it to the affected people.

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The tea worked miraculously and word of this wonderful woman and her tea reached the legendary Yao Emperor. He gave her the name of “Tai Mu”, which was normally reserved for the emperor’s relatives and gods. It was an incredibly rare honor. That tea, Bai Hai Yinzhen, became legendary and is considered precious even to this day.

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This tea is picked for a period of one month, from the middle of March to April, and only during ideal weather conditions. Since only the new unopened buds are picked, it takes a large quantity of buds to make a kilo of processed tea. Only undamaged and unopened buds are picked, which are gently separated from the stem.

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When brewed, the leaves will turn from white to a light green color almost immediately upon contact with the hot water. Bai Hao Yinzhen is brewed for a long period: up to 5 minutes. The taste and aroma is very delicate, mild and slightly sweet with a hint of flowers, and its brewed liquid is a pale yellow color, almost like a light honey.

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How to brew:
Use 170-180° F water to brew this tea. Pour a little amount of hot water into the teapot and the tea cups, let them stand and warm up for some seconds and then pour out the water. Use 2 heaping tablespoons (3 grams) of tea per 6 oz serving, put the tea leaves into the teapot and pour in the desired amount of water. Let it steep for 4-5 minutes and enjoy your Silver Needle White Tea!
P.S. Increase the steeping time for subsequent brewings.
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