Yin Zhen Yunnan Silver Needle Cake (云南银针饼茶) is a white tea from Yunnan Province that comes compressed in 100g cakes. Made from buds of the local Da Ye Assamica trees found throughout the province, it produces a complex liquor with sweet fruity and creamy vanilla flavours, a warming woody aspect and a clean aftertaste. This tea was picked and pressed on 28 March 2019.
This compressed Yin Zhen white tea is harvested from the native assamica tea plants of Yunnan Province that are locally known as Yunnan Da Ye Large Leaf (雲南大叶). These plants have larger leaves than their sinensis cousins and are largely used for pu-erh tea production in the region. For white tea, it undergoes processing that is more akin to a young Sheng Cha (生茶) Pu-erh. So it starts life as young and tender leaf shoots that are carefully hand plucked so as to keep the buds intact. They are then withered, very lightly pan fried and dried in the sun. As there are still enzymes present in the tea leaves, this leads to a slight oxidation during sun drying. So this white tea is closer to a Mao Cha (毛茶), which is the loose-leaf form of young Sheng Cha Pu-erh and is the starting point for pu-erh tea. Due to similar processing methods employed and as these whites teas originate from the birthplace of pu-erh, sometimes they are referred to as white pu-erh.
These Yin Zhen Silver Needle Cakes consist of fine young buds that are fluffy and very neat. This tea produces a light golden liquor with a light aroma that is a touch woody. The liquor produced is complex, yet smooth with a woody profile. It has a great sweet aspect to the taste with honey, fruity, vanilla and buttery notes – a bit like a peach Danish pastry! The flavours progress through the taste, starting on sweet honeyed fruits, combining with woody notes of hay in the middle and finishing on hints of creamy vanilla. The aftertaste is refreshing and clean. This tea is prefect to drink now but should also age very well, further developing the flavours.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes according to your taste. Prise off a required amount of leaves with a sharp knife or pu-erh knife and brew multiple times. For best results, we recommend gongfu style of brewing: approximately 3g per 100ml at 90-95°C in a gaiwan with an initial rinse or longer infusion to open up the leaves. After that, follow with first infusion of 20 seconds, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.