When the golden sun at dawn
Touches the tender bud grown upon
The little green bush in the lovely garden
Producing the tea which is one and only one
The finest of all and the purest one can see
This bliss is called the silver needle white tea
These lines are not at all an exaggeration when it comes to the unique and one of the most precious teas in the world which is 'Silver Needle' Ceylon White Tea.
It is not only the best but also the most expensive white tea. It has been the favourite tea of emperors and royal families for ages. This top-quality tea is divine in taste and real beauty if we talk about its colour and aroma.
This amazing Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is also known as Baihao Yinzhen, White Hair Silver Needle, White Pekoe Silver Needle in other regions of the world depending upon its origin.
By now, you must be wondering that what makes this tea such a premium tea which is so expensive and of top-grade quality. Well, in this article, you will learn about the health benefit of Silver Needle Ceylon Tea and recipe to prepare a perfect cup of this tea.
Description and benefits
This Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is a unique and rare type of tea produced from the special variety of Camellia Sinensis plant which is exclusively grown in Sri Lanka. With the perfect geographical conditions like climate, soil, rain, sunlight, wind, the altitude from sea level, there are special tea plants which are grown in these specific conditions with utmost care to produce this tea. All these factors are responsible to bring that super smooth texture of the tea liquor which refreshes you with its rich taste and aroma.
Taste: The unique flavour of this tea is in itself an out of the world experience. It is very refreshing, delicate, mellow and a bit sweet, with a beautiful aftertaste. It sometimes gives a juicy or citrus undertone reminiscent of tangerine or mandarin orange.
Colour: Its liquor ranges from ivory to golden pale colour which may contain some silvery-white downy hairs floating in it, which reflect the light and make the tea shimmering in the light.
Aroma: The special aroma of this tea is light, sweet, and floral, like fresh wildflowers with a hint of honey.
'Silver Needle' Ceylon Tea is highly rich in flavonoid (antioxidants) because its leaves are least processed among all types of teas when they are harvested. Hence, it contains the maximum of its naturally occurring antioxidants which are good for your health. This tea is a natural de-stress tea with sweet complexity and smooth well-rounded quality.
This tea is made from the tender buds (top leaf shoots) of the tea plant which are handpicked before the sun rises. The long tea buds are thick and strong and are covered in the dense downy needle-like silver-white hair which is the speciality of this tea. The process of picking these tender buds is very tricky and intensive as only the tops of the buds are plucked and that is the reason which makes it such a highly prized tea.
It is important here to mention the point that Silver Needle Ceylon Tea should always be enjoyed pure, without adding any flavour or mixing with any other grade/type of tea. This way you can enjoy its truest flavour keeping all the health benefits intact.
Producing Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires expertise, patience and a great deal of effort.
The special cultivar gives long and premium apical buds and leaves which are dark green in colour. The unopened buds are coated with fine, silvery down.
Silver Needle Ceylon Tea grows at most of the elevations and flushes (produce leaves and buds which are hand-picked) plentifully under the hot, wet, and steamy conditions. The bush remains like a tapered bowl and does not spread its branches easily. It can grow up to 60 feet if left untended and requires pruning at short intervals from 4 years in the high and 2 years in the lower areas.
These white tea bushes do not yield high in comparison to other teas. An expert tea picker usually picks around 250 gram of silver tips in a day. It takes about 5 KG of freshly picked tips to produce just one kilo of Silver Needle Ceylon Tea. The fine and sensitive buds need to be picked with special proficiency at just the right maturity, and they are then carefully protected to prevent bruising. These buds are plucked in dry weather and the harvested buds are spread out on a wooden or natural cane surface and dried under the filtered sunlight of the dawn. This whole process is done under intense scrutiny, for a short time each day for about 4 or 5 days. This is the best method to wither the tea but sometimes when the weather is not suitable, this process is done indoors with artificial warmth.
Because of this exercise, the buds acquire a unique character because of the minimum oxidation. Oxidation takes place when tea buds are broken hence it is extremely important to take care when making Silver Needle Ceylon Tea so that the buds remain undamaged.
Finally, the buds are dried at low temperature and are ready to be packaged and shipped.
Fresh vs. aged 'Silver Needle' Ceylon tea
Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is produced in different tea estates, at different elevations, and with different standards of production. Hence, it is obvious that there will be variation in the quality of this tea with respect to these factors. The top-quality Silver Needle Ceylon Tea has a silvery-white appearance. Below that, the colour changes to silver-grey.
The season in which this tea is harvested also affects the taste, colour, and aroma of the tea. The fat strong buds with a bright silvery-white tone with soft down needles on the leaves give the best tea. The buds which are short, thin, and have a grey tone are inferior in quality.
Now let’s talk about the difference between fresh and aged Silver Needle Ceylon Tea. The fresh tea leaves after processing have a greenish tone and its liquor is much lighter with a strong aroma and mellow flavour. The fresh silver needle leaf is slightly olive in colour. On the other hand, aged silver needle leaf has a deep green colour with a reddish-brown tone at the bottom. Silver needle tea gets better with time in terms of flavour. If stored properly, its quality improves with time. Not only taste-wise but also its medicinal values increase if it is stored in a good condition for about 2-3 years. Its flavour with time gets smoother and deeply mellow with a strong honey aroma.
So, after knowing so much in detail about this lovely queen of tea, you would be wondering about what all are its health benefits, isn’t it? Well, Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is one of the healthiest beverages and provides numerous health benefits. Here are they in detail:
Immunity Booster: The antioxidants present in it help in building your body defence and boost the immune system. The high amount of catechins and flavonoids help in preventing the attack of the various disease. This tea is rich in polyphenols that keeps bacteria and viruses away. So, it’s a good idea to have this tea to avoid flu, cold, and other contagious diseases.
Good for heart: Antioxidants in this tea helps in improving the health of your heart by lowering bad cholesterol level and strengthening your blood vessels. Also, it helps in preventing blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes.
Improves digestion: This mild tea improves your digestions when you suffer from stomach cramps or nausea. It helps in relieving stomach acidity and detoxify your digestive system.
Reduces body fat: This tea helps in losing weight by boosting your metabolism. It helps in digesting your food in a better way and removes unwanted waste materials from your body. It energizes your body to perform the physical exercises. The caffeine content helps in keeping you motivated.
An excellent substitute for coffee: It is rich in caffeine which will keep you alert but at the same time it contains theanine that gives your mind a calm awareness. Unlike coffee, the caffeine in this tea is released slowly and lasts longer in your body system and hence helps in reducing anxiety and depression.
Improves oral health: Drinking this tea without any sweetener will not only bring to you a refreshing flavour but also will not protect your mouth and tea from harmful tooth decaying and bad breath bacteria. It helps in killing those bacteria and hence a great remedy for oral diseases.
How to prepare
Drinking Silver Needle Ceylon Tea is a very refreshing and soothing experience in itself because of its characteristic taste, colour, and aroma. But to get that perfect tea, it is highly important to prepare it correctly. When brewed properly, this tea can refresh you and provide you with its various health benefits.
- Ideal teapot: To brew this tea, we highly recommend a clear glass teapot so that you can see the beautiful Silver Needle tea leaves floating and dancing through the water, which is called “Tea Dancing” in China, or “The Agony of the Leaves” in America.
- Adding tea: Add about 5 tablespoons of Silver Needle tea into the teapot. You can adjust this amount of tea as per your taste i.e. more for stronger and less for a mild brew.
- Adding water: This tea is best brewed with the water at approximately 80 ºC (180 ºF). Steeping time for your tea should be between 3-5 minutes to get the full flavour from your tea leaves. As this tea is made completely from the buds of the tea plant, the leaves are very delicate, and adding too hot water will damage the leaves as well as the taste and health properties.
- Serving the tea: Once brewed, strain the leaves and pour the liquor into the cup to enjoy the refreshing tea.
The white tea leaves instantly turn green when infused. It can be steeped many times (4 to 6 times) usually.
Trivia: It is a popular saying that the Chinese Emperor Hui Tsung was so much obsessed with finding and preparing the perfect Silver Needle tea that he was too preoccupied to keep his empire from being invaded by the Mongols.
Now as you know everything about Silver Needle Ceylon Tea, you must feel proud while sipping your tea knowing how precious it is. All those little hairs in your tea prove that your Silver Needle was plucked at the peak of freshness, ready to give you a unique tea experience.
We at teakruthi believe that drinking tea should not just be a process but a unique experience each time you have your favourite cup of tea. That is why we handpick and handmade our Silver Needle tea — Ceylon Ivory — just for you. Our sole purpose is to serve you this best tea and we take all the possible steps to ensure that from ethical practices to quality control. You can order this premium Silver Needle Ceylon Tea from our website and let us know your experience in the comment section.
Cheers! Have a good tea!
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