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What Is Silver Tipped White Tea

Slofoodgroup Team September 06, 2022

Exploring The Prized Silver Needle Tea and What Makes It So Unique

Is silver needle tea the same as silver tipped white tea? 

Yes, silver needle tea and silver tipped white tea are simply different names for the same variety of tea. These names are referencing the appearance of the tea leaves. In their furled state, they look much like needles and are are thin and silver, due to them being in early stages of development.

What makes silver tipped white  tea different than other tea?

Silver tipped white tea does come from the same plant that produces green and black teas, Camellia Sinensis. In fact, all true teas come from this plant. Anything else is considered a tisane, or herbal tea.

So if all teas are the leaves of the same plant, what makes them different? Great question; the primary tea varieties differ in the methods of harvesting, stages of development, and processing  practices. 

Silver needle tea is the youngest of all of the tea varieties, early buds of the tea plant that are slightly fuzzy and silver in appearance. The top, center tea leaf shoots are carefully plucked in the early morning before sunlight meets the plant. To keep the buds from oxidizing, they are gently placed into silk pouches to keep them out of direct sunlight as they are transported to the processing area, where they are traditionally dried in the shade.

Is all white tea considered silver needle tea?

There are several types of white tea that do not fall into the category of silver needle. Silver tipped white tea is considered to be superior to the other varieties, with white peony following shortly behind. The teas are categorized based on when and how they are harvested, with silver tipped being only the young, top buds. White peony, or Bai Mudan, does include that top bud, but also the two young leaves directly below it. Other varieties of white tea include Gongmei and Shou Mei, both of which include more than just the top tea leaves and typically go through additional processing.  

Is silver needle tea better for you?

Being the youngest of all varieties of white tea, it is often considered the healthiest. This is because, the tea plant puts much of its energy and nutrients into the young buds to help them survive. Those same nutrients that give the plant vitality are passed onto us in a cup. Furthermore, when compared to many other tea varieties, silver needle tea has very little (if any) processing, which means little to no loss of antioxidants.

What does silver tipped white tea taste like? 

The time spent ensuring only the youngest leaves are hand-harvested and preserved for silver needle tea is reflective of what it is worth; and it is worth so much because folks are willing to pay a higher price to experience its unique flavor. It is a delicate tea, with notes of honey, fresh grass, and spring flowering blossoms of stone fruit trees. Additionally, it tastes slightly sweet naturally, without the addition of sugars. 


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Silver tipped white tea, or silver needle tea, is a rare treat that may soon become your new favorite beverage. Though it can be hard-to-come-by, there are reputable online vendors that do carry it—Slofoodgroup being one of them. Find quality hand-picked, shade-dried, loose leaf silver needle tea in our online tea store.


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