Junshan Yinzhen also called Junshan Silver Needle is a traditional Chinese yellow tea, produced in Junshan Island located in the Dongting Lake in Yueyang City of Hunan Province.
It has the best quality among all Chinese yellow tea and is one of the top 10 famous Chinese teas.
The finished Junshan Yinzhen tea leaves are covered with a layer of white or silvery fluffs and their shape is like a needle, so it is called Junshan Yinzhen. Yin means “Silver” and Zhen means “Needle”.
As early as the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), Junshan Yinzhen began to appear and was listed as “Gong Cha” (Tribute Tea).
According to historical records, the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) especially liked drinking Junshan Yinzhen. He stipulated that nine kilograms of Junshan Yinzhen should be sent to the Imperial Palace every year.
1. Legend of Junshan Yinzhen
It is said that in the early Tang Dynasty, a traveling Taoist named Baihe Zhenren (literally called White Crane Immortal) took eight tea seedlings and planted them on Junshan Island.
Later, he built a magnificent temple called White Crane Temple and dug a well called White Crane Well. When the tea grew up, he picked the tea leaves and made them into tea.
He brewed the tea with the water of the White Crane Well. After brewing, he saw a stream of white fog curling up and a white crane rushed up to the sky from the cup, so he named this kind of tea “White Crane tea”, which is today’s Junshan Yinzhen.
2. Growth environment of Junshan Yinzhen
Yueyang City is famous for the Dongting Lake. In ancient China, many poets wrote poems to praise Dongting Lake. Junshan is an Island like a paradise on the Dongting Lake and is a national 5A tourist area.
The island has rich soil, with an average annual temperature of 16-17 degrees, annual rainfall of about 1340 millimeters, and has a very humid climate. The forest coverage of the island is about 90%.
In spring and summer, lake water evaporates; clouds and mists are diffuse; trees are clustered on the island. This natural environment is very suitable for the growth of tea trees.
The formation of the unique quality of Junshan Yinzhen is closely related to the climate and soil quality of Junshan Island.
3. Characteristics of Junshan Yinzhen
As mentioned in What Is Chinese Yellow Tea, yellow tea is classified into Huang Ya Cha, Huang Xiao Cha, and Huang Da Cha. Huang Ya Cha (Bud yellow tea) is the best-quality yellow tea made from 100% of buds. Junshan Yinzhen belongs to Huang Ya Cha.
When producing Junshan Yinzhen, the time of picking the fresh tea leaves should be limited within 7-10 days, before the Qingming Festival (around April 5), when the tea buds are the most tender. The length, width, and thickness of the picked fresh tea leaves are calculated in millimeters.
500g of Junshan Yinzhen tea needs about 105,000 buds to be made and it can be only finished through eight complex processes which will take 78 hours.
Because the Junshan Yinzhen tea leaves are yellow and the outer layer is white or silvery, it has a beautiful name called Jin Xiang Yu (Gold inlaid with jade).
The shape of the dried tea leaves is straight, fat, and tidy. After brewing, the buds are hovering in the water, then slowly sinking, again rising, with three times of sinking and rising, which is like the tea buds are dancing. The color of the tea soup is bright, clear, and yellow. The fragrance is fresh.
4. Benefits of Junshan Yinzhen
- Losing weight
- Promoting appetite and digestion
- Refreshing and eliminating fatigue
- Anti-inflammation and sterilization
- Preventing and treating esophageal cancer
5. How to make/brew Junshan Yinzhen
- Tea set: Porcelain cup or glass cup.
- The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:60-80. 3g of dried Junshan Yinzhen need 180-240ml of water.
- The temperature of the water: 80℃-85℃.