Silver Swallow (Organic)
Country of Origin: China
Grade: Silver needle
Altitude: 450m – 900m above sea level
Manufacture Type: Handmade
Cup Characteristics: Let your taste buds fly away on deliciously light vegetative notes and haunting hints of jungle orchids.
Infusion: Highlights of green yellow
Ingredients: China white tea
Description: In the hill country of Fujian, legend tells of a silver swallow that centuries ago led the daughter of an old tea artisan to discover the bushes that to this day produce organic Silver Swallow white tea. The story goes that the artisan, nearing the end of a life spent toiling for very little profit, was desperate to generate some wealth with which he could build a dowry for his only daughter.
One morning, a silver swallow appeared on the fence surrounding the artisan’s home. The swallow sang sweetly, drawing the man’s daughter outdoors. As the bird began to fly away, the girl followed, skipping behind the bird deep into the forest. After several hours, the bird and girl came to a clearing in the woods. The sparrow came to rest on a tea bush with leaves much greener than any the girl had ever seen. As the bird finally flew away, she collected a few of the leaves in her pocket and headed for home.
When her father saw the leaves, he immediately asked her where she had found them. The two set of into the woods and collected as much of the fresh leaf as they could. Noting that the tea was covered in a fine white down, they decided to process it simply by laying it in the sun, in order to leave the down intact. The tea was an incredible success at the market, the artisan’s daughter had her dowry and the man died that summer a happy one.
Can legend be believed? Who knows, what is known is that the Silver Swallow organic white tea made these days is an outstanding version of Fujian Silver Needle tea production. True to its historic roots, the tea is still grown on ancient bush varieties that are free from chemical-based pesticides and herbicides. The leaf is plucked only during the last 2 weeks of March and first 10 days of April when the climate is dry and the leaves grow somewhat slowly.
Also true to its roots, Silver Swallow undergoes minimal processing and is simply dried and fired. The bare bones process means that a large percentage of the raw leaf’s phytochemicals and antioxidants remain intact. (Silver Swallow is rated UHP-AT, Ultra High Polyphenol Antioxidant Tea with a measure of 12.85% )
The most incredible aspect of this tea however, is its delicate flavour. While novice white tea drinkers may find the light character of this tea surprising, connoisseurs recognize that the cup is the work of heaven with light vegetative notes, faint wheat, orchid and ultra delicate astringent layers – a cup to be savoured.
Hot Tea Brewing Method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly – about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 80ºC. Place 1-2 teaspoons of leaves in your cup and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment – do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low – add more water, and so on – until the tea flavour is exhausted. Milk and sugar will mask the delicate characters of this tea and are not recommended. Look at the pattern of the leaves – they foretell life.
Iced Tea Brewing Method: It is not customary to make iced tea from white tea, nevertheless if you wish to do so we recommend the following. Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1¼ cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes.
Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [ A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].
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