MA WEI NEEDLES is a baihao yinzhen—"silver needle"—white tea from Simao (Pu'er) county, Yunnan province, China. This lot of pure shade-dried tea buds comes to us from Ma Wei Shan, our producing partner in central Yunnan, and source of our yue guang bai. Here, young da ye cultivar tea trees (called xiao shu—"young tree") produce huge downy shoots with saccharine ripe fruit character, owing partly to the high elevation of Yunnan tea gardens. This mountain tops out around 1300 meters, with the needles plucked in Autumn from rows around 1200 meters. Like our moonlight white, this tea offers luscious body and powerful huigan ("lingering sweetness" in the throat).
Produced with classic yinzhen styling, this lot was hand-plucked at a 1:0 (1 bud : 0 leaves) standard, and briefly withered before shade-drying. Harvested in autumn of 2021, a short rest has shed some of silver needle's classic, "fresh" characteristics in favor of thick, syrupy sweetness. Needles (especially da ye cultivar) are hard to mess up; steep cooler for pure sugar, boil to bring out some complexity, or cold brew overnight. For all methods, don't fuss too much about temperature and time; this tea is easygoing. Not much else to this production—for lovers of Yunnan whites, Fujian yinzhen, or other elegantly straightforward teas, this one will satisfy. Sessionable, reliable, and a joy to steep.