Silver Needle, or Yínzhēng, is one of the most highly valued teas produced in China. It is made entirely of fat furry tea buds. The window for picking good Silver Needle is about 2 weeks every year, and once they bud, they must be picked within 4 days or they become the second grade of white tea: King Peony.
Yinzheng is so prized for its refined taste palate, full of a dry grassy sweetness while still providing a thick mouthfeel, this subtly complex tea is not for every drinker, but for those that can listen closely to a tea and uncover its secret depths, this is quite a rewarding tea.
While there are several grades of Silver Needle, ranging from the purely tiny bud Mizhen or Rice Needle, to the larger leafier buds which toe the line between Yinzheng and Baimudan, our Silver Needle is somewhere in the middle. If you look close, you can see a small leaf attached to most the buds. This is called a scale leaf, as it sheathes the bud very closely, usually this should be no larger than the bud itself. When asked which grade of Silver Needle he preferred, our producer told us that he always prefers Silver Needle with the scale leaf, as the leaf adds sweetness, in comparison to the drier all-bud grades.
As Silver Needle can be rather expensive, we usually only put in one order per year, and by the time that sells out, our producer has also sold out of his early spring picks, thus we are offering a presale for those that don't want to miss out on this highest-grade of Chinese teas.