Which is the 40 hour process white tea, which is the shortcut 20 hour version out in the market today? The difference to me is obvious, and not an acceptable one. I opt for the traditional 40 hour method, with the sugary melon notes, vs. the grassy greener shortcut with a fragrance like cheap perfume. Those who don’t know, said Mr. Lin, insist on the shortcut Silver Needle. Mr. Lin shows off his pure silver water kettle that he cooks his aged white teas with. The smooth water quality of pure silver vs impure silver vs mere stainless steel kettles, is extreme! I take his word for it. Though I failed to score some Fuding mountain water, I am determined to get a pure silver kettle to test just how much better water boiled in it can taste.
As for the White Down, the March 28 lot was sublime- ashy grey silver, like Mr. Lin’s silver pot. Beautiful, 1000 meter elevation, tight needles, exquisite liquor.