Imperial Silver Needles
$15.00 – $51.00 — available on subscription
Imperial Silver Needles leaves are slowly sun-dried and hand sorted. It is produced in the early spring harvest by traditional methods. This Fujian white tea is not easy to come by as only the unopened leaf or bud is used. And to complicate matters, white tea production is down by 20% due to weather and labor shortages and there is currently a great demand for high-quality Fujian white teas for their unique flavor and collectible value. This causes the procurement of the highest quality silver needles to be even more difficult and pricey. The good news is that more growers are going back to the traditional methods, while more time and labor-intensive, the tea produced is exquisite. Imperial Silver Needles has a really fresh, unique fragrance and taste.
Fujian, China: Fujian is a coastal province in southeastern China where the finest oolong, white, and jasmine teas are produced. According to the written record, teas have been produced there for well over 1,600 years. Growers currently produce five different categories of tea, most of which originated in the province.
For best results, first, rinse the leaves to release the aroma and soften the leaves. The water temperature should be about hot to near boiling. It is okay to cover the lid of the Gaiwan while brewing the Imperial Silver Needles and you may want to use a little more tea than normal if you are guestimating the number of leaves to be used, the fluffy nature of this beautiful tea makes it looks like you’re using a lot of leaves. By the time you steep and drink the tea, the liquid should not be very hot so you can taste creamy texture and different layers of flavors. The liquor is pale yellow. The flavor is both floral and sweet but definitely has some green undertones. In the second steeping, the sweetness is more prevalent. It reminds you of walking in the meadow in springtime in high grass up to your shins, with wildflowers blooming all around.
White tea has 15-30 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounce serving. Since it loses 80% of its caffeine in the first 30 seconds at boiling, I am going to serve Imperial Silver Needles to guests at a 4 o’clock pairing with the Imperial White Peony and Rose.
I started the leaves in a Yixing teapot at 172 degrees for 3 minutes, then decanted. I worked my way up to about 8 steepings at boiling and walked away. It was still fairly strong and the leaves might have been starting to open.
The perfect Imperial Silver Needles leaves have downy fur or furry down. Imagine that! Tastes as good as it looks.
This new crop is stellar and well worth the price! You can brew this 3-4x, each time with a pleasant change in taste, a sure sign of a good tea. Make sure you don’t use water that is too hot or you’ll miss the complexities.
Great product & service. Always great service when ordering tea from Imperial Tea Court. Only place I ever order tea. Never disappointed.