Silver Needle 2020 from Fuding should I call it ‘crème de la crème’? This tea comes from Zheng He which is a county in the North East of the Fujian Province and it is one of the leading white tea growing areas besides Fuding. According to this source, there are two different bushes used for white tea, and they are named after these counties: Fuding Da Bai (big leaf) and Zhen He Da Bai. The former has bigger buds with thicker hair. But this does not make Zhen He white tea inferior to Fuding in my opinion having tried them both. Although the former is considered an economical option in China over Fuding teas.
Both Fuding and Zheng He was part of the production of the tribute tea area during the Northern Song Dynasty (1121 – 1297). The tribute tea from this area was called ‘Beiyuan Gong Cha Qu’.
I enjoyed drinking this tea by Lotus Lake in Beijing. It was a rainy, sunny day and it gave me good energy. I also found the taste delicate and intricate. It was fresh, mineral, not overly sweet with some floral and spicy undertones.
It is also important to note that this tea is a high mountain tea (with an altitude of 850 meters above sea level). Moreover, it was harvested in early Spring (pre-rain). Both factors add to the value of this tea. Although, as I always say, the ultimate value is to do with how much you can enjoy and appreciate a cuppa.
Origin: Zhenge County, Fujian Province
Harvest time: Early spring, 2020
Leaf colour: Shades of light green with consistent white fuzz
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Floral
Tea taste: Slightly sweet and fresh with mineral, floral and subtle spicy notes
Steeping/brewing: Steep about 4 gr of leaves in 90°C water (yes don’t be afraid) up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can steep 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: Available for ageing up to 10 years or possibly longer