Premium Fuding Silver Needle White Tea
Silver Needle, or Silver Needles, is a style of white tea developed in both Fuding and Zhenge counties in northern-northeastern Fujian Province using cultivars of the Da Bai(Large White) tea tree family. It's characterized by very light oxidation and elongated, needle-like leaves and buds covered in downy "hairs". The style itself has spread far beyond those two areas in recent years. Silver Needle is now grown extensively in Yunnan, and even India and other non-Chinese countries.
Despite its wider proliferation, I really wanted to stock a classic high-end Fuding Silver Needle tea this year, so I sourced a moderate quantity for the store. There are very tasty and drinkable Silver Needles from other places outside Fujian, but the only thing that really has the balance of flavor of a Fuding Silver Needle is a Fuding Silver Needle. The style can be duplicated easily enough in other regions, even using the same cultivars, but ultimately it all comes down to weather and Fuding's characteristically loamy soil. At any rate, there's only so much high-grade Silver Needle produced in Fuding every year, and as such, it commands higher prices than many grown elsewhere.
The Proper brewing temperature for Silver Needle has been the subject of some debate. Some people recommend a lower temperature, like 175-180f, but others, myself included, have found a sweet spot at around 190f. This tea can be steeped at least four times.
First Flush, Spring 2018 harvest.