君山银针Junshan silver needle
|Jūnshān yín zhēn / 君山银针
|Junshan Island, Dongting Lake, Yueyang, Hunan
|Yellow (72-hour oxidation). Pan dried.
|Sweet, hints of smoke
|70°C for 1-3 minutes. Multiple infusions.
Junshan Yinzhen hails from Junshan Island in Dongting Lake in Hunan Province. It is a type of yellow tea. A native of Hunan, Mao Zedong claimed Junshan Yinzhen to be his favorite tea.
Junshan Yinzhen has evenly shaped tea leaves. One side of the leaves is golden colored whereas the other side is covered by a layer of white fur. The leaves are fine and thin, resembling a silver needle, giving the tea its name “Yinzhen”, which literally means “silver needle” in Chinese.
When brew in a glass, the leaf which looks just like the sword moving up and down is described as ‘Silent bamboo forest’.
Junshan Island is located in the middle of Dong Ting Lake, which is 15km North East of Yueyang (岳阳) in Hunan Province. The island has 72 mountains with various sizes, these are where the tea gardens located. The reason why the tea produced in Junshan Island is good are:Very thick fog generated from Dong Ting Lake ；Low temperature and high humidity environment ；The tea garden is surrounded by various flower trees.
In the history, it was believed that during Tang Dynasty, when Wencheng princess (文成公主) married to Tibet, she picked the Junshan tea as one of her trousseau. Junshan Yinzhen became the tribute to emperor since Wu-dai (五代，the Dynasty after Tang), and continued during Song, Ming and Qing Dynasty. During Tang Dynasty, Junshan Yinzhen was called “Yellow tail leathers” (黄翎毛 Huang Ling Mao), because when brewed, the yellow bud covered with down was standing up in the glass just like yellow pinion.
1) Tea buds is bright yellowish green color, straight and covered with white down.
2) Water color is light almond-yellow color.
3) Fragrance is called 清香 (Qing-xiang) that is greenish refreshing flavor.
4) Taste is brisk (鲜爽 Xian-shuang), sweet (甘甜 Gan-tian) and mellow (醇 Chun).
5) Tea buds after brewing is very bright yellow color, fleshy and thick, and soft.
6) The size of bud：Length 25-30mm, Width 3-4mm, Stem 2mm
Junshan Yinzhen has mellow taste with a smooth finish. But like most teas in the Yinzhen family, what distinguishes it is its aesthetic beauty rather than the flavor. In order to fully bring out
its beauty in form, the brewing process is especially important. It is best to use clear glass cups. Before brewing, one should warm the glass by rinsing it with hot water. But the glass needs to
be dried properly lest the tea leaves absorb too much water, which prevents them from “standing up”. Junshan Yinzhen should be brewed with boiling water. After it is brewed, the leaves will float
vertically in the glass. Some will rise to the top while some float at the bottom of the glass. The tea liquor is a mild Ginkgo-hued yellow.
Yellow teas offer the best of four words: they have the big sweet buds of white teas, the gentle vegetal flavor of green teas, the bright and changing aromas of oolongs, and the mild sweetness
and soft astringent bite of the finest Chinese black teas
Yellow tea has a similar manufacturing style to green tea up to initial firing when it undergoes an extra step called “Sealed Yellowing” （闷黄）. At this stage the unopened leaf-buds are lightly and slowly steamed then covered with a cloth which starts a bio-chemical transformation and produces the leaf’s characteristics pale gold color. These chemical changes also make the tea sweet, bright yellow in color and remove any hint of “grassy taste” typically characteristic of green tea.