Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Hao Ren Sheng Yin Zhen White Tea

This silver needle white tea comes from Daniel at The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver. It is a very early spring pick from an unspecified region of Fujian. The dry leaves are fresh, floral, and sweet with a slight tangy, earthy grape pungentness to them. The floral scent is almost rose. There is lots for the nose to enjoy.

The boiling water cools and the first infusion is prepared. It is a soft, creamy with slight earth notes that finish floral on the breath. The mouth feel is very soft and thin.

The second infusion is prepared and it is much of the first with more depth. A fruity pear note emerges which is very slight. It arcs from soft and fruity to more of a floral taste that is left in the aftertaste. Even the lips and throat are covered in this soft, misty, mouthfeel that, although thin, has a presence to it. As the aftertaste continues, the very light fruit notes seem to have more stamina than the floral here.

The third infusion is creamy with a very slight pungent, earthy sweetness that eases into light fruity grape notes that ease into your breath. Melon notes can even be pulled out here- the fruit notes are very subtle. The chaqi of this tea is light, airy, and dispersing. One feels a mild calm with a peaceful elevated alertness that brings mental clarity.

The fourth infusion is light, creamy, with a fruity aftertaste that is much stronger than in its initial taste. The flavour has hints of pungent character mixed with measures of floral and fruit. The mouthfeel feels full from the lips to the upper throat.

In this fifth the pungent-earthy notes carry a sweetness to them now. The taste and mouthfeel starts to become more course even the aftertaste is more pungent and earthy with floral tones mixed in. In the sixth infusion the pungent-earthy notes back off a bit leaving more distinct creamy floral notes of orange blossom to be enjoyed.

In the seventh and eighth infusions things start thinning into a fruity water with a mouthfeel that is limited to the front of the mouth. Creamy melon, sweet potato, even squash are some of the notes that glimmer from this light watery soup.

The tea is taken a few more infusions that are either too bitter and gritty or watery and tasteless. No matter, there are still very light earthy-pungent-fruity notes in the mix to dwell on.



Ho Go said...

That's a very pleasing tea to my eye. I love those long, furry, leaves. I always appreciate teas that are whole. Someone took the time and care to keep them that way. It's my biggest beef with Japanese teas and their current style of processing.

Matt said...


The sight of long hairy zhen yin stir the heart of any tea lover. The more hairy, the more magical they appear.

The hair is not only for looks though, the amount of white hair contained on each leaf profoundly effects the quality of taste and medicinal benefit of silver needles white tea. Studies in China show that the white hair contains sizable amounts of amino acids, polyphenols, and caffeine. In fact, there are more amino acids in the hair of white tea than the tea itself! (Shi, 1997)

From a traditional point of view, the amount of hair yin zhen has is an indicator of the strength of its chaqi, particularity its ability to disperse qi in the body to its most superficial level.

So, its fair to say that the amount of white hair that covers yin zhen tea is an indicator of its quality.

Oh, yeah,

Japanese tea leaves...

they keeps our eyes humble.