White tea today dates back to the Qing dynasty, which ruled in the 18th century, a century in which white teas were collected from ordinary tea trees. They differed from green ones in the fact that their processing implied steaming or roasting in a pan. Leaves were simply left to dry. The resulted leaves were thin, small and did not have so many silver hairs. Only in 1885 specific varieties of tea trees began to be selected for the production of white tea. Large buds with a silvery white colour were discovered in 1891. It takes more than 4,500 hand-selected buds to get 453 grams of a rare tea such as jasmine Silver Needle or Silver Needle white tea.
Jasmine Silver Needle is a sort of white tea which is naturally flavoured with jasmine. The leaves are not rolled under the form of pearls, but they are straight, presenting small white hairs. Connoisseurs can tell by the tea leaves if they have quality or not. The tea gets jasmine flavour through a certain process. Tea is harvested and dried in spring, then stored carefully until summer when jasmine starts to blossom at night. Every evening, tea leaves are enriched with fresh flowers that open and spread their fragrance. In the morning, the flowers are removed from the tea leaves and the process is repeated the next evening. This process is repeated for several nights, until the tea leaves get a balanced flavour. Finally, they are left by the fire again in order to lose any moisture from the flowers. This is why some jasmine teas have a final touch of fried.
Silver Needle white tea is a type of Chinese white tea of great refinement, one of the most expensive white teas and one of the most popular. These are some ratings that are attributed to this exceptional assortment coming from the famous Fujian province. It is known by various names such as Bai Mei Yin Zhen Bai Hao Yinzhen, White down Silver Needle. It is collected within just a few days of early spring and its dedication for perfection stands out in its pale, ivory texture. The enticing scent is that of delicate honey flowers with a warm sweetness. Its texture is soft, fresh and airy in your mouth.
The original Silver Needle is only processed from Da Bai type of tea, many imitations being actually a green tea, very different from what it should be, both in taste and benefits. Being just a little oxidized, it actually comes from the first harvest of the year, between the end of March and the beginning of April, when the first leaves of the year appear. Harvesting is different from that of green tea, namely it is done when the sun is up and the moisture was removed from the buds. The best productions meet even nowadays the subsequent drying time in the sun and not industrial versions. There follows a slight oxidation and air drying.