Fujian Silver Needle (Masters Collection)

Tea type
White Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Sweet, Vegetal
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Medium
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Parsifal
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 oz / 177 ml

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2 Tasting Notes View all

  • “White tea is always tricky for me. I didn’t even attempt to approach it until after I had gotten a temperature-control kettle to more easily try different temps/steep times. At its best,...” Read full tasting note
    90
    bugclimber 2 tasting notes
  • “Light fuzzy needles of Fujian joy! Lovely Pale yellow ivory in color. Delicate floral aromas which yield to a soothing sweetness highlighted with notes of honey and lemon peel. Palate is much...” Read full tasting note
    89
    Parsifal 52 tasting notes

From Adagio Teas

Silver Needle (or Bai Hao Yin Zhen) is one of the most revered of Chinese teas, produced in the Fuding and Zhenhe districts of its Fujian province. Gathered only for a few days in early spring, the dedication to perfection is evident in the pale, ivory colored liquor. The lingering fragrance of our Silver Needle is delicately honeysuckle floral, with warmed sugar sweetness and a subtle hint of white grapes. Silver Needle feels refreshing, soft and airy on the palate. This is a high grade Bai Hao version of this exquisite tea, perfect to enjoy in multiple infusions.

About Adagio Teas View company

Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at www.adagio.com and in many gourmet and health food stores.

2 Tasting Notes

90
2 tasting notes

White tea is always tricky for me. I didn’t even attempt to approach it until after I had gotten a temperature-control kettle to more easily try different temps/steep times. At its best, silver needle is one of my favorite teas of all time. But again, it’s tricky. Finding and brewing silver needle “at its best” has been a confusing and frustrating journey.

I’ve had some pretty bad looking silver needle in the past that could occasionally be coaxed into some really great cups o’ tea, even if most of my attempts resulted in bitter astringent abominations. I’ve had really great looking silver needle that seemingly could only result in either bland water or a cup of sour vegetables.

So when I saw a major sale on Adagio’s “Master’s Collection” Silver Needle, I jumped on it. Sure, it’s still the most delicate tea in my rapidly-growing collection and I have ended up with some lackluster cups here and there (mostly while figuring out the best approach). But regardless of my missteps, this is a superb white tea. Every time I feel fancy enough to make a cup, I remember why I’ve gone through so much trouble to find a truly great silver needle.

First off, the tea is beautiful (as long as you look close enough, explained in a sec). Unbroken jade green buds covered in fine white hairs. When I first opened the tin, I actually thought that it was a bit too pale and maybe stale – then I looked a little closer and realized that it was so completely covered by the white hairs that I wasn’t even seeing the true color of the leaf buds! There were a handful of little green/brown leaf pieces throughout the tin, which is really my one complaint since this is supposed to be super premium AAA+++ grade and all that.

The dry tea itself smells incredibly fresh and herbal – like dumping your whole spice cabinet onto a freshly cut lawn. This is probably the best smelling tea I’ve encountered.

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that 160-165F seems to be the sweet spot for this tea. Even getting up to 167-170 or so has brought out some astringency for me. I start with 2.5 minutes and add 30 seconds for each subsequent steeping. Usually this gives me 3-4 great cups before getting bland. Occasionally subsequent steepings get way overdone just from that additional 30 seconds. Occasionally the re-steeping barely works and I have to put the leaves back in for some additional flavor. But this has given me the best results on average, which is all I can hope. I’m starting to suspect that white tea all has a mind of its own.

Now what about the drink!? I’ve been rambling on for a while, but this is the important part. Aside from the occasional (seemingly random) bad steeping, this is exactly what I look for in a white tea.

The brewed tea, like the dry material, is beautiful when you take the time to look. At first glance, it looks almost like nothing steeped at all. But once you take more than a glance, there’s a very slight yellow-gray tint to this “plain water”, maybe even a pink hue. Light seems to reflect more readily off of the surface. Upon even closer inspection, you suddenly realize that there is an army of little glistening flecks of light dancing throughout the brew – the same shimmering white hairs that made the buds so beautiful!

The tea is so smooth it’s almost like sipping very silky air. Occasionally I’ll get an edge of astringency, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Again, it wouldn’t be a white tea if it wasn’t nearly impossible to “get it right” all the time.

The flavor is always a slightly different mix of the same tastes – sweet vegetables, rosemary, grass – like sipping a cup of springtime where the whether changes from day to day. It’s sweeter than any white tea I’ve had yet, but it’s a very understated sweetness that doesn’t at all get in the way of that herbal fresh white tea flavor. It’s incredibly refreshing and worth slurping to experience all of these tastes float in and out of focus.

This tea perfectly captures that unique essence that only white tea can provide. It can play tricks, it has its off days, but it is hands down the best silver needle I’ve ever tasted. If you have the patience for it, I strongly recommend.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89
52 tasting notes

Light fuzzy needles of Fujian joy! Lovely Pale yellow ivory in color. Delicate floral aromas which yield to a soothing sweetness highlighted with notes of honey and lemon peel. Palate is much the same as the aroma with the addition of a slight musk and a juicy brisk finish which recalls the acid of the lemon notes and balances the sweetness perfectly. Flavors change as the tea cools, with notes of fresh cucumber coming into play and enhancing the overall experience. Multiple steepings are possible here, which is good because this in not an inexpensive tea. All this being said, this is a “I am in the mood for really good white tea” kind of experience and not an everyday tea in my opinion which makes purchasing a small amount a good choice.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 15 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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