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365 Challenge > Day 143 - Turkish Silver Needle 2020

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

This beautiful silver needle was plucked and crafted by Aytul who has immaculately plucked the buds in May from her tea garden in Rize. Aytul was a Turkish tea steeping champion a few years ago. She went to the global tea master competition in China to represent Turkey, and she was influenced by what she experienced there. When she came back to Rize, she started to experiment with making different teas. I am happy to share her passion, knowing that both her and my tea journeys were shaped by the enchanting world of Chinese teas.

I have to say something about Turkish white tea as I assume that it is not very well known outside. I visited Rize last week, and would you believe me if I say people in tea business call the buds ‘white tea’. For them, there is only one type of white tea which is ‘Bai Hao Yin Zhen’. The market leader is a state-owned company, they are driving the white tea market, which is very limited (around 100 kg per year) which is nothing next to black tea. White tea is unpopular as its production started only a few years ago and still considered a 'new' comer. Also, it fetches unaffordable prices for Turkish people. Its market value is almost 100 times higher than that of black tea. What drives the costs is that Turkish tea variety produces tiny buds which means that more buds need to be plucked to make this white tea compared to its ancestors in Fuding. In this sense, it is exceptional.

Tea plucking in Aytul's family tea garden

This white tea was excellent in my view. It was sweet and fresh with abundant mineral and floral notes. It also had a superb cha qi and lifted my spirits up. Thank you Aytul, for this beautiful tea.

Tea Profile:

Type: White

Origin: Rize, Turkey

Harvest time: May 2020

Leave colour: Fine uniform green buds with silvery-white pekoe (fuzz)

Liquor colour: Bright yellow

Tea aroma: Floral and mineral

Tea taste: Sweet with mineral and floral undernotes

Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.

Shelf life: Up to 10 years or more if aged appropriately

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