Silver Needle the Queen

White tea is kind of wild western to most people, it has very special charming characters that waiting for discovery. This is the second part of Learn White Tea The Hard Way, you can also read the first part in advance – Is White tea color white?.

Once upon a time there was a Queen ruled the world, she was a calligrapher, a landscape painter, a musician and also good at archery and riding, in the bone she is an artist. She founded the National Painting Academy which turned out many outstanding painters like Wang Ximeng, Zhang Zeduan, also she wrote a famous tea book, in her book she pointed out White tea is an unique existence that differ from the ordinary.


There is only one thing she’s not good at, that is to say the politics. Her kingdom was defeated later, the Queen became a prisoner in a foreign country. One day when saw the autumn falling leaves, she drank a cup of her beloved tea and wrote down a very sad poetry. Upon hearing this, her enemy flew into a rage and killed her.

After death, her soul finally got free and transformed into her beloved white tea, people call it the Silver Needle.

Restless free soul

Ancient Chinese divided the circle of the annual motion of the sun into 24 equal segments, each segment was called a Jie Qi or solar term. Every season contains six solar terms while the spring owns the followings:

  1. Beginning of Spring 立春
  2. Rain Water 雨水
  3. Insects Awakening 惊蛰
  4. Spring Equinox 春分
  5. Fresh Green 清明
  6. Grain Rain 谷雨

Solar term Spring Equinox sits at about date March 20, it is one of the two times in the year when the sun is above the equator and day and night are of the equal length. From that day on, the heat above the ground starts to be more than underground, hence urge the tea begin to sprout. These early birds are the Silver Needle.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen

According to Act GB/T 22291-2017 Silver Needle is made with the buds of varietal Big White or Water Sprite that go through Withering, Drying and Refining. As it’s fully covered white hair, so received the full name White Hair Silver Needle. There are two grades available:

  • Super Grade
  • Grade One

Both looks silver grey yet Super Grade has rich gloss also stout and strong. Traditionally this tea appreicate the tip aroma, it’s a special aroma of the good fluff creates. The most important difference between these two grades is the tip aroma, or called Hao Xiang 毫香.

The origin Fuding

The White tea has kind of short history that is about only two hundred years, in about 1857 varietal Fuding Big White was found and in about 1885 started to use its buds to make tea, then this craft was spreaded into Zhenghe county in 1889 but use local varietal Zhenghe Big White instead.

If you look Fuding from the sky, you will notice there is a lot of green color. It sits in the eat of Fujian province. Taimu Mountain, where has the White tea father plant, is a small island. Fuding tea mostly comes from the island and the inland, people even joke the White tea from the island has fishy smell. But we like the fishman right, just as love as Ernest Hemingway.

Once you walk into the heart of Fuding, there is one thing you will nerver overlook, that’s the bamboo forest, the essence of Chinese scholar culture. Do you know who is the most famous bamboo painter? It’s Zheng Banqiao who only painted two plants: The orchid, symbol of loyalty and the bamboo, symbol of never giving up. Anyway tea picked around this envirenment has fresh bamboo aroma. People use this plants to make bamboo tray, basket then to make tea, thus make the White tea refreshing and breathable.


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