Silver Needles

Shannon Estate, Sri Lanka

The Leafies Gold Award Winner 2023.

White Teas

Season: March 2003

Availability: In Stock

Price: £6.85

  • Description
  • Tasting Notes
  • Pairings
  • Brewing Instructions
  • Ingredients

We are thrilled and honoured to announce Shannon Silver Needles has won a gold award at The Leafies - the prestigious international tea awards in London.

Silver Needles are the unopened buds of an exceptional variety of tea especially developed for its unusually large bud formation by the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka. Silver Needles, or Yin Zhen as they are known in China, are the highest grade of white tea.

 As the sun rises over Shannon Estate a band of 60 special pluckers start picking whilst the air is still misty and the little protective hairs (pekoe), on the buds are upright. Once the sun is high and too hot the pluckers stop and the tender buds are laid in the sun to dry, turning the beautiful needles from a lush green to a rich silver colour. If the tea is harvested in less favourable conditions when there is little sun the buds are dried or finished in a special drying chamber found only on estates that grow Silver Needles.

Shannon Estate sits at an elevation of 4,250 feet very close to the town of Hatton and at the northern edge of the famous tea growing Golden Valley. The estate has 171.34 acres divided into 3 divisions (areas), but only 5 acres are given over to growing Silver Needles. The special cultivar clone, TRI 2034, is grown separately from the rest of the tea fields, near the tea factory and manager’s bungalow for security reasons.

The early morning misty conditions in this area are perfect for growing Silver Needles and from 8kg of freshly picked buds only 1kg of tea is made. The specialist pluckers are only able to pick 600-800g of fresh leaf per day due to the delicate plucking that is needed and the short window of time they have each day. The remaining 2 tender leaves below where the bud was plucked from are picked later and go to produce a type of White Peony, called White Shannon Tea from this particular estate.

A delight to the eye, the long exquisite silver-grey downy needles release aromas of sun -dried meadow flowers and grasses. On steeping the pale golden liquid, made delicately hazy by the tiny down particles, breathes warm sweet hay notes. It is sumptuously mouthfilling with a smooth, sweet taste and suggestions of sweet clover and honeydew melon. The finish is long and honeyed, and utterly delicious.

This delicate and complex tea deserves to be drunk on its own so all the amazing flavours can be enjoyed without any other flavour distractions. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

2.5g to 200ml of water at 80c for 5 minutes. Multiple infusions can be made.

Infusion Accessories

Brew by the cup using an infuser or brew using a teapot and strainer

Tea buds