|Origin||Fuding County, Fujian Province, China|
|Plant||Da Bai Hao|
|Tea Master||Master Wu|
This industry award-winning bud-only tea is cleansing, soothing and elegant, with a subtle creamy sweetness lingering delightfully on the palate. Picked for just a few days each spring, these exclusive, velvety buds have impeccable provenance. This tea is delicate, elegant and sublime. It’s extremely approachable and fills the mouth with a smooth sweetness that lingers lightly on the palate. It was judged best Single Origin white tea at the tea industry Golden Leaf Awards. No chemical fertiliser, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea.
Silver Needles is a white, bud-only tea treasured by tea connoisseurs. It is one of the most prized teas in the world however with its increasing popularity, more and more producers are making it in gardens around the world but the different plant cultivars impact taste, flavour and potency making these versions strikingly different from those grown authentically in Fujian, China.
All Master Wu’s white tea is hand harvested and made from the Da Bai Hao cultivar. This is the original and authentic white tea plant, found in Fuding in Fujian Province, China. Master Wu is a farmer who prides himself on his pesticide and herbicide free practices. He weeds every second month by hand and his farm is certified organic to EU and North American standards.
While this is an extremely expensive and time consuming exercise for Master Wu, he believes it is important for trust and authenticity, and more importantly, because he passionately advocates that his white tea is 100% free of impurities and perfectly reflects his local terroir and the ecosystem he toils so hard to maintain.
Some of Master Wu’s tea bushes are over 60 years old. Live a well-established grape vine, these aged plants impart exceptional character and help set his tea apart. His farm in Fuding is hilly, with rich red mountain soil. Fuding has a year round mild climate and good rainfall with average temperatures of 18.5°C and annual precipitation of around 1600 millimetres (or 65 inches).
White tea is the least processed type of tea meaning the terroir and provenance play a significant role in taste and flavour. Craftsmanship is what really differentiates high quality authentic Silver Needles tea. Quality control and the care shown to the buds in processing is evident in the cup.
The best Silver Needles tea is 100% bud only. Buds should be of a consistent size and breakage minimal. Thanks to his farm’s northerly position, Master Wu’s buds are slightly smaller and more tightly formed than many others and this results in a beautifully rich flavour in the cup.
The buds all have an abundance of downy silver hair (tricomes) which is like the velvety fur you get on a peach skin. While the buds look silver when dry, once infused the leaf will become a light green colour and the liquor in the cup will appear as a very light honey yellow tone.
Master Wu harvested this batch of Silver Needles at the very beginning or April. He only plucks on sunny days, ideally after a few days of rain. Leaves harvested on rainy days have a more muted flavour, while leaves picked after a few days of sunshine benefit from a jolt of photosynthesis which prompt new bud flushes. These fresh buds are rich and juicy thanks to the amino acids and nutrients released from the plants after a winter of dormancy.
This tea is delicate, elegant and sublime. It’s extremely approachable and fills the mouth with a smooth sweetness that lingers lightly on the palate. It was judged best Single Origin white tea at the tea industry Golden Leaf Awards.
While we recommend you experiment with the amount of leaf you use and the length of your infusion, avoid varying water temperature above 80 degrees. Water that is too hot will burn this delicate tea, though on the other hand, if your water is too cold, you won’t extract the nuanced layers of flavour.
|Plucking: The leaves for this tea are picked in early April, on a sunny day, ideally after a few days of rain. Only the bud is plucked for this tea, and pickers use smaller collecting baskets than usual, and empty them more frequently, so that the delicate buds don’t crush under their own weight and start to oxidise.|
|Sorting: The leaves are inspected and sorted to make sure only buds make it into this tea.|
Withering: The buds are spread out in a single layer on large bamboo trays. Master Wu leaves them to dry naturally (in gentle sunlight or inside depending on the conditions). He checks them regularly until 85% of the moisture is removed. This can take up to four days.
Drying: Master Wu finalises his withering process is indoors and to ensure shelf stability of the tea he roasts the buds over very lightly warmed charcoal. He separates the tea from the charcoal by using bamboo trays lined with paper. This ensures the tea does not develop a smoked or fired flavour. The very low temperature drying helps preserve the silver colour of the buds. You can tell if the drying temperature was too high (indicating lack of attention to craftsmanship) because the buds will have a slightly more yellow tone.