Bai Hao Yin Zhen also knowns as White Hair Silver Needle is a famous Chinese white tea, mainly produced in Fuding City and Zhenghe County, Fujian Province. Fuding City is known as the “Hometown of White Tea”.
The finished Bai Hao Yin Zhen looks like a needle, covered with a layer of white or silvery fluffs, so it is called “Bai Hao Yin Zhen”. Bai means “White”; Hao means “Fluff” or “Hair”; Yin means “Silver”; Zhen means “Needle”;
Bai Hao Yin Zhen has the best quality and is the most expensive tea among all the Chinese white teas.
1. History of Bai Hao Yin Zhen
In 1796 (during the Qing Dynasty), the Fujian people first created Bai Hao Yin Zhen.
In 1891, Bai Hao Yin Zhen started to be exported abroad.
In 1912-1916, affected by World War I, the sales of white tea declined sharply. It was not until 1934 that the production and sales of Bai Hao Yin Zhen began to recover gradually.
In 1982, Bai Hao Yin Zhen was awarded “National Famous Tea” by the Ministry of Commerce of China, ranking second among 30 famous teas.
After 1990, some new kinds of Bai Hao Yin Zhen was invented.
2. Characteristics of Bai Hao Yin Zhen
Processing Bai Hao Yin Zhen only needs two processes, withering and baking. Although the process sounds simple, it is not easy to master it correctly, especially to make high-quality tea. The producing environment, moisture, and temperature should be controlled accurately.
The appearance of the finished Bai Hao Yin Zhen is thin, fat, and white, like a white needle. The length of it is usually 1-3cm. The color of the tea soup is bright, clear, and apricot-yellow.
The white fluffs covering on the tea called Pekoe is a layer of fine fluff growing on the surface of the buds. Thre more the fluffs, the higher the quality of the tea.
According to the production area, Bai Hao Yin Zhen can be divided into two types:
- North Bai Hao Yin Zhen, produced in Fuding City. The variety of tea tree is Fuding Dabai tea.
- South Bai Hao Yin Zhen, produced in Zhenghe County. The variety of tea tree is Zhenghe Dabai tea
Both of them are high-quality Bai Hao Yin Zhen.
3. Why Bai Hao Yin Zhen is so expensive
In 2018, the price of ordinary Bai Hao Yin Zhen is about $663 per kilogram, and the very high-quality Bai Hao Yin Zhen is more than $1700 per kilogram.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen is expensive because of its low output and high demand for the raw material. It is made from 100% of buds.
The amount of buds is much less than that of the leaves in the tree, so the output of Bai Hao Yin Zhen is less than other white tea’s. The annual output of Bai Hao Yin Zhen is only one-tenth of that of Shou Mei tea.
With the temperature increasing in spring, the germination speed of the tea buds is accelerating. As the first batch of white tea picked, picking the buds needs to compete for the time, otherwise, the buds will grow into leaves and become older.
The picking time of Bai Hao Yin Zhen is very short, from Vernal equinox (March 19-22) and before Qingming Festival (April 4-6) each year.
365 days a year, the picking time of Bai Hao Yin Zhen is only 10 days, plus the rainy days, the picking time will be shortened, which will also affect the output of it.
4. Health benefits of Bai Hao Yin Zhen
The active enzymes in Bai Hao Yin Zhen are generally twice as high as those in other tea leaves.
Bai Hao Yin Zhen also contains polyphenols, vitamin B1 and B2, folic acid, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, 25 kinds of amino acids, and a variety of minerals, which are more abundant than other tea. This is another reason Bai Hao Yin Zhen is so expensive.
Here are some main benefits of Bai Hao Yin Zhen
- Weight loss
- Treating measles
- Treating wind-heat
- Protecting the liver
- Improving eyesight
- Enhancing memory
- Increase metabolic rate
- Clearing heat and detoxifying
- Anti-inflammation and sterilization
- Lowering blood pressure and blood sugar