What is Silver tip tea?
Have you ever tasted white tea? Silver tips tea is a treasurer of white tea which is known as the highest tea grade among other popular tea grades such as BOPF, FBOP, Dust, and Pekoe. The silver tip is an exquisite and rare tea type that is made from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis). It’s entirely a handmade tea made only from the unopened tender tea bud/ tip.
Usually, these buds are called silver needles or tips because of their appearance. The silver color comes from the hairy layer on the leaf underside. The tip is the sweetest and nuttiest part of the shoot. The plucking of tender tea buds is not that much easy.
The trained hand pickers handpick just the buds from the tea shoot in the early morning before sunrise, so-called imperial plucking. The elegant and quality silver tip teas come from Ceylon. Nowadays you can see jasmine flavored silver tip tea in the market and has a great demand among tea lovers.
How to process silver tip tea?
As mentioned earlier, Silver tips are entirely handmade tea and, the processing is not complex as black tea manufacturing. You also can try making sliver tip tea if you can find quality tea leaves.
Handpicking tea leaves
Harvesting the perfect buds from the tea plant is the first step of processing. In some plantations, tea fields are specialized only for harvesting buds to make silver tip. Moreover, tea research institutes have introduced tea varieties such as TRI 2043 (Ceylon Silvertip) to the planters.
However, tips can pick from other tea fields also. But it’s not easy to select and pick the buds. On the other hand, handpicking is time-consuming work. Only slightly curved buds covered with silver hair go for the processing. Usually, hand pickers pick buds early in the morning to protect the quality of tips. There harvesting is known as imperial plucking.
Hand rolling is not essential to make Silvertips. But most of the time, picked buds are lightly rolled by hand without damaging the leaves to get a curved shape.
Then the rolled buds are left in sunshade to dry to prevent oxidation and maintain the flavor.
Dried buds are sorted from the hand. Remove unwanted particles such as matured leaves, stem parts, etc.
Usually, a tea taster or an expert tastes the brew to check the quality. The high-quality silver tips give a savory aroma, smooth, sweet taste, rich body, and a delicate cup.
How to brew Silver tip tea?
You can brew the tea either in the western or Chinese way. The Chinese method is highly traditional and prepares tea in a special tea set called Gaiwan (A traditional Chinese tea brewing vessel with three parts including the lid, bowl, and saucer) and warms it before preparing the tea.
Following are the steps of brewing silvertip tea in a western way.
Choose the ideal teapot
Don’t forget! You should select a transparent glass teapot if you want to see your tips floating and dancing in the hot water. Chinese people called this “Tea dancing” and in America, it’s “the agony of the leaves”.
Add tea to your teapot
Add approximately 4 tablespoons of silver tip tea into your teapot. You can add more if you prefer a strong cup of tea.
Add water to your teapot
Add hot water around 80 0C (180 F) to the teapot with tips and steep it for 3 – 5 minutes to extract the flavor to your cup. If you use too hot water it will damage the leaves and may change the flavor with no nutritional benefit.
Taste the Silver tip tea
Strain the leaves from the teapot and pour the tea into your cup and enjoy the refreshingly light mellow sweet flavor of the Silver Needle white tea.
Characteristic of silver tips tea
- Flavor: Silver tip has a unique flavor with refreshing, delicate, mellow and a bit sweet. It sometimes gives a juicy or citrus flavor with little bit tangerine or mandarin orange.
- Color: The color of the brew vary from ivory to golden pale with some silvery-white downy hairs floating in it, which reflect the light and make the tea shimmering in the light.
- Aroma: It has a special aroma with light, sweet, and floral, like fresh wildflowers with a hint of honey.
Silver tip tea producing countries
Ceylon / Sri Lanka
With a great history and a renowned name, Ceylon produces elegant silver tip tea. It is the highest graded tea with a high price. Tea is grown in the upcountry regions like Nuwara Eliya because of the perfect climatic factors like soil, temperature, and moisture content. Ceylon tea research institute has introduced a tea variety called TRI 2043 and, it is grown in specific conditions with utmost care. Ceylon silver tip tea is famous among tea lovers for its mild, sweet flavor and charming light liquor color.
Nepal produces a delicate delight, a hand-crafted, top-grade silver tip white tea with soft, subtle flavor with grassy notes which, comes from Shree Antu in Ilam District.
China is the largest producer of tea is known for its multitude of tea types. Most of the time the white tea is produced in the areas like Fuding and Zhenghe of Fujian province.
Darjeeling and Assam are the two major tea-growing regions in India. But Darjeeling is the only region that grows tea for making white tea.
Health benefits of silver tip tea
Drinking silver tip tea gives you lot of healthy benefits as follows.
- Boosts your immunity
Silver tips tea has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as it contains a higher level of Polyphenols which boost an individual’s immune system and build up the defense against bacteria. Viruses and free radicals.
Improve your heart health
Silver tip tea can lower bad cholesterol levels and strengthen blood vessels. It aids in preventing blood clots that are responsible for heart attacks and strokes.
Relax your body
It can relax the body. The younger leaves in the tea are high in the amino acid Theanine, which reduces stress and anxiety levels.
Promotes your weight loss
Silver tips tea contains no calories, fats, or sweeteners so it is the perfect healthy drink. The tea may aid in weight loss as it encourages metabolism and burns fat.
It is perfect for improving digestion. It helps to relieve stomach acidity and to detoxify the digestive system
Reduce the signs of early aging
Polyphenols in white tea reduce the signs of aging and maintain your body in a younger look.
Side effects of Silver tip tea
Of course, too much of anything is not good. Therefore drinking too much caffeine may cause insomnia, headaches, restlessness, nausea, and increase blood pressure and heart rate as silver tips tea contains a high amount of caffeine. Moreover, if you are pregnant you should limit drinking caffeinated tea. Because Silver tips tea with its high caffeine content may be harmful to you and your unborn child.
Read about Golden Tips Tea