Sunday, May 31, 2009

Silver Needle White Tea

One of my favorite morning rituals is enjoying a pot of organic white silver needle tea. Look closely at the above photo of this rare tea. Notice there are no tea leaves! It is only individual tea buds plucked this past Spring from the famed Fujian province of China. There is no processing - simply plucked by hand and allowed to dry. Why is this tea so expensive? It's extremely rare (especially when organically certified as the above) as it is only plucked once a year over a two to three day period. Another reason - the world demand. Not only does it taste sublime, it contains triple the antioxidants of green tea! Additionally, it has natural collagens which are great for your skin! It is essential that no sweetener of any kind is added. I like to store my tea in a Japanese made washi cannister as it will keep the tea fresh for two years and makes my daily tea preparation a beautiful experience.

As the white silver needles are so fluffy, I use a tablespoon (not a teaspoon) per cup (6-8 oz of Spring water). Use a strainer basket and place the silver needles inside for easy removal. This teapot I have owned for about seven years. It is made in Japan and is made by hand of cast iron and are called tetsubin. I love these teapots as they will retain the heat for approximately 40 minutes (unlike glass for only 20 minutes). These teapots have been made for hundreds of years and go back to the time of the samurai. Do not buy any iron teapots if made in China as they may not be made of pure iron. Ask to make sure, it is made in Japan. Expensive at first but they are nearly indestructible and you'll enjoy it for a lifetime.

Use a timer! For this pure white tea, I like to steep it in under-boiled Spring water for five minutes. It is important to use a timer as it's a common mistake to over-infuse tea -resulting in a bitter flavor. Also, we can be distracted with another task - time flies!

After five minutes, remove the infusion basket containing the silver needles from the tea pot. If you leave it in, your second cup will become increasingly bitter. Also, you can stretch your tea budget by re-steeping this pure white tea up to three times. There will be no caffeine released on subsequent steepings, only the first.

Now, enjoy every drop of this sublime tea! Also, don't forget to make a second pot and keep nourishing your body with another internal antioxidant rinse!

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