Bai Hao Yin Zhen White Tea from Hunan Xiangfeng Tea Industry Co. Ltd.

On the evening of September 4th of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to the Fuding region, in the Fujian Province of China. This particular sample of Bai Hao Yin Zhen White Tea was provided by the Hunan Xiangfeng Tea Industry Co. Ltd.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen,  more commonly referred to as Silver Needle white tea, is the highest grade of Chinese white tea. This tea is comprised entirely of fresh buds from the tea bush. The buds are picked in late morning, once the sun has burned off the morning dew. Traditionally, the plucked buds are laid in a basket and allowed to wilt in the sun, then are bake dried at a low temperature to kill any enzymatic and chemical activity. This low level of processing allows the buds to retain downy-like hairs, which are easily seen and felt on the pre-infused buds. It has also been suggested that this low level of processing allows white tea to retain high levels of antioxidant content.

Now that we have established a ground level knowledge of white teas, let the journey begin…

Date: 09/04/2013

Product Name: Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needle)

Purchased From: Hunan Xiangfeng Tea Industry Co. Ltd.

Origin: Fuding region, Fujian Province, China.

Type of Tea: Chinese White Tea

Tea Leaf Characteristics Prior to Infusion:

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Aroma: Fresh, floral (jasmine and orchid).

Dryness: Mildly dry. Buds crack, but do not crumble.

Color: Light to fresh green, many silver buds. White hairs cover buds.

Texture: Smooth and soft buds. Downy-like hairs cover buds. No rigidity whatsoever.

Size, Shape, Length: Fairly uniform length averaging 1 inch (25.4mm). Fairly uniform needle shape to buds. Low level of breakage (under 50%).

Unique Characteristics: Soft white hairs. Almost entirely comprised of buds. Has a fresh picked, very lightly processed look and feel, and a fresh aroma.

Sampling Measurements:

Amount of Water: 30 ounces (887 ml)

Amount of Tea: 15 grams

Tea Liquor Evaluation:

First Infusion:

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Water Temperature: 175ºF (79.4ºC)

Infusion Time: 2 Minutes and 0 seconds.

Aroma: Floral (orchids and jasmine), fresh.

Color: Pale light yellow. Clear. Transparent. Like the color of champagne.

Taste: Fresh, floral notes of orchid and light jasmine. Light fruity note like a fresh apple. Smooth, refreshing mouthfeel. Fresh and light aftertaste.

Comments: A fresh and flowery first infusion that has a refreshing effect. A light taste that is sure to please all levels of tea drinkers.

Second Infusion:

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Water Temperature: 175ºF (79.4ºC)

Infusion Time: 2 Minutes and 0 seconds.

Aroma: Flowery, fresh. Orchid scent more apparent than jasmine.

Color: Pale yellow to light gold. Darker than the first infusion. Clear. Transparent. Like the color of champagne.

Taste: Fresh, flowery. Floral notes of orchid and jasmine. Light fruity note of a fresh apple. Body is slightly fuller than the 1st infusion. Smooth and refreshing mouthfeel. Light and pleasant aftertaste.

Comments: Definitely no reduction is taste, and perhaps may have had a slightly stronger taste than the 1st infusion. Great 2nd infusion.

Third Infusion:

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Water Temperature: 175ºF (79.4ºC)

Infusion Time: 2 Minutes and 0 seconds.

Aroma: Fresh, flowery. Floral scent of jasmine more apparent than orchid.

Color: Pale yellow to light gold. About the same as the 2nd infusion. Champagne like.

Taste: Fresh, flowery. Floral notes of orchid and jasmine. Light fruity note like a fresh apple. Smooth and refreshing mouthfeel and aftertaste.

Comments: No noticeable difference between the 2nd and 3rd infusions. Still a very high quality aroma and taste.

Tea Leaf Characteristics After Infusions:

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Aroma: Flowery (jasmine and orchid).

Color: Fairly uniform fresh green buds and brown stems.

Size, Shape: Fairly uniform length averaging 1 inch (25.4 mm). Fairly uniform shape of bud only. Low level of breakage. Mostly fully intact buds with short stem attached. Obviously hand picked.

Unique Characteristics: Fresh flowery smell. Very high percentage of full buds, low level of breakage.

Final Comments: This is a perfect type of tea to serve to a tea drinking beginner, as the taste is quite delicate and fresh with no bitterness or astringency. There are no negative qualities to the taste or aroma of this tea. In addition to the agreeable taste, the supposed health benefits are also attractive. This was a good quality silver needle white tea that produced a good taste through all three infusions, and I recommend it to tea drinkers of all levels.

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.

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