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Bai Hao Yinzhen Tea

Baihao Yinzhen tea is also known as Silver Needle, or White Down (Hair) Silver Needle. Bai Hao Yinzhen is a white tea produced in Fujian Province in China. Amongst white teas Bai Hao Yinzhen is the most expensive variety and the most prized, as only top buds (leaf shoots) are used to produce the tea. Genuine Silver Needles are made from cultivars of the Da Bai (Large White) tea tree family. It is important to point out that there are other productions that look similar with downy leaf shoots but most are green teas, and as green teas, they taste differently and have a different biochemical potency than the genuine white tea Silver Needle.

Varieties

-Beilu Yinzhen
Beilu Yinzhen Tea is one of the two varieties of Baihao Yinzhen. Beilu Yinzhen has a long history. It was originally produced in 1796 in Fuding, Fujian. Beilu Yinzhen is usually translated as Beilu Silver Needle, which reflects the appearance of the tea. The white hairs sparkle like tiny ice crystals cover the delicate leaves, giving the tea a unique silvery-white glitter. The brewed Beilu Yinzhen shows delicate, bright and even yellowish green color, but its aroma is subtle. Tea drinkers preferring stronger teas can be disappointed by its delicate flavor. The very best Yinzhen are picked between March 15 and April 10 when it is not raining and only using undamaged and unopened buds.

-Nanlu Yinzhen
Nanlu Yinzhen tea or Nanlu Silver Needle is one of the varieties of Baihao Yinzhen. Bai Hao Yin Zhen is considered to be the ultimate white tea. It is made only from tea buds and fully covered with silvery down. Nanlu Yinzhen is planted in Zhenghe, Fujian. The highest grade of the Nanlu Yinzhen should be fleshy, bright colored and covered with white hairs. The shape should be very uniform, with no stems or leaves.

Nanlu Yinzhen has to be harvested under very specific conditions. It can't be raining and if there is early morning dew, it must first dry before the buds can be picked. Buds which have turned purple or are damaged in any way cannot be used for this type of white tea.

As with all white teas, Nanlu Yinzhen tea is best prepared with water below boiling (at about 90 ℃ or 194 ℃) and produces a slightly viscous glittering pale yellow color with evidence of floating white hairs that reflect light. The flavor and fragrance should be delicate, light, fresh, and sweet. Steeping should be longer than other white teas; up to 5 minutes per brew, and the volume of tea to be used can be higher. There are few parallels to be drawn as the taste is not similar to any other teas but Bai Mudan, except the latter is fuller but not as sweet and delicate.

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