Among the most revered of Chinese teas, gathered for only a few days in early spring to ensure a high-grade product. This organic tea is sweet with a delicate fragrance.
In the hill country of Fujian, legend tells of a silver swallow that centuries ago led the daughter of an old tea artisan to discover the bushes that to this day produce organic Silver Swallow white tea. The story goes that the artisan, nearing the end of a life spent toiling for very little profit, was desperate to generate some wealth with which he could build a dowry for his only daughter. One morning, a silver swallow appeared on the fence surrounding the artisan’s home. The swallow sang sweetly, drawing the man’s daughter outdoors. As the bird began to fly away, the girl followed, skipping behind the bird deep into the forest. After several hours, the bird and girl came to a clearing in the woods. The sparrow came to rest on a tea bush with leaves much greener than any the girl had ever seen. As the bird finally flew away, she collected a few of the leaves in her pocket and headed for home. When her father saw the leaves, he immediately asked her where she had found them. The two set of into the woods and collected as much of the fresh leaf as they could. Noting that the tea was covered in a fine white down, they decided to process it simply by laying it in the sun, in order to leave the down intact. The tea was an incredible success at the market, the artisan’s daughter had her dowry and the man died that summer a happy one.
Can legend be believed? Who knows, what is known is that the Silver Swallow organic white tea made these days is an outstanding version of Fujian Silver Needle tea production. True to its historic roots, the tea is still grown on ancient bush varieties that are free from chemical-based pesticides and herbicides. The leaf is plucked only during the last 2 weeks of March and first 10 days of April when the climate is dry and the leaves grow somewhat slowly. Also true to its roots, Silver Swallow undergoes minimal processing and is simply dried and fired. The bare bones process means that a large percentage of the raw leaf’s phytochemicals and antioxidants remain intact. (Silver Swallow is rated UHP-AT, Ultra High Polyphenol Antioxidant Tea with a measure of 12.85% – according to University lab tests conducted by Metropolitan Tea.) The most incredible aspect of this tea however, is its delicate flavor. While novice white tea drinkers may find the light character of this tea surprising, connoisseurs recognize that the cup is the work of heaven with light vegetative notes, faint wheat, orchid and ultra delicate astringent layers – a cup to be savored.
Is white tea good for you? According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: “observational studies in humans suggest that daily consumption of at least 3 cups of tea may be associated with a modest (11%) decrease in the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack).”
Caffeine Level: Low
Ingredients: White tea