We first happened upon this tea in 2009, brewed for us as we were discussing that year’s Silver Needle Reserve crop in Fujian Province, China. When we inquired about the tea, we were given a small package, and told that there wasn’t enough available for sale that year.
What we were given amounted to two small brews, but it left an immeasurably deep impression on us. We are fond of describing some of our best teas as having finishes that remain long after the last drop. The finish of this tea would extend for a year, lingering on our tea-obsessed minds through summer, autumn and winter. We knew we wanted this tea. In spite of rising black tea prices and the severe scarcity of new crop white tea, we commissioned a small batch to be crafted last year.
In early spring of 2011, we paid the tea craftsman a visit and were told to expect more florals and balance. We were not disappointed. It is comprised of fully oxidized Yinzhen buds, gathered from the Da Bai tree. A very small amount of a Wuyi cultivar was added to the mix, and together the leaves were wilted, tumbled and then allow to fully enzymatically oxidize.
This is a unique tea. It follows traditional black tea crafting methods, but does so using cultivars that are normally not used for black tea. The result is remarkable: candy sweet, perfumed with aromatics of apricots and flowers with a creamy, almost soy milk base (all the characteristics one would recognize in our Silver Needle Reserve). To that base, the oxidation adds complexity and richness, with honey, muscatel and sweet cantaloupe notes. We hope you find this as satisfying on your tea obsessed palate as we found it to be on ours.