Song Zhen Green Pine Needle (松针绿茶) is a complex and robust green tea from Lincang County of Yunnan Province. It is grown in a village within Mengku Township using a local hybrid cultivar, a mix of the local Assamica with Chang Ye Bai Hao (長葉白毫) meaning ‘long leaf white tip’. This tea was picked in mid March 2020. It has been fried by hand in a wok, rolled, wilted very, very briefly and then dried by hand in a wok again. At this final stage the tea is pressed flat again to make it straight and pointy. The finished product is a silver and green needled tea that locals call ‘Song Zhen’ or Pine Needle.
Of course, Yunnan Province is well known for the production of white, pu-erh and black teas. The black tea, Dian Hong (Yunnan Red), we are particularly fond of here at Curious Tea as it generally produces a malty, sweet and smooth cup with no astringency or bitterness. This flavoursome yet easygoing character makes them a very enjoyable drink. The green teas from Yunnan, however, can be a little on the harsh side. Often this is due to the cultivars used, with particular focus on Assamica. These don’t translate as well to green tea as the astringency and harshness tend to overpower the liquor, making these teas difficult to brew and not as enjoyable. So we were pleased to have found this Song Zhen Green Pine Needle green tea that is made from a hybridised varietal. The result is a green tea that does not have much harshness or astringency yet has all the complicated and thick flavours of much stronger Yunnan green teas. If you like a green tea that has lots of flavour and complexity, this one will not disappoint!
The leaves of this Song Zhen Green Pine Needle resemble long dark green and silver needles and have a fresh floral aroma. When brewed the leaves unfurl from the needle shape and produce a light golden liquor with a green tint. The aroma is slightly vegetal with hints of umami and chestnut. The flavour is full bodied, complex and woody for a green tea, with a slightly metallic aftertaste. Overall it’s vegetal with creamy and floral notes. A deep and complex flavour, rather than light and refreshing like a lot of other green teas. A very fine Yunnan green tea and a satisfying experience!
We suggest brewing at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 2-3 times depending on your preference.