Junshan Yinzhen

Junshan Yinzhen (君山银针, Jūn Shān Yín Zhēn) also called Junshan Silver Needle is a kind of Chinese yellow tea. It is native to the Junshan Island located in the Dongting Lake in the Yueyang City of Hunan Province.

Junshan Yinzhen has the best quality among Chinese yellow tea and is one of the top 10 famous Chinese tea.

The dried Junshan Yinzhen tea leaves are covered with a layer of white hairs and their shape is like a needle, so it is called Junshan Yinzhen. Yin means “silver” and Zhen means “needle”.

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History of Junshan Yinzhen

As early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Junshan Yinzhen began to appear.

In the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), Junshan Yinzhen was regarded as a tribute tea. According to historical records, the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty especially liked drinking Junshan Yinzhen.  He stipulated that nine kilograms of Junshan Yinzhen should be sent to the imperial palace every year.

Growth Environment of Junshan Yinzhen

Yueyang City is famous for Dongting Lake. In ancient China, many poets wrote poems to praise Dongting Lake. Junshan is an island like a paradise on Dongting Lake and is a national 5A tourist area.

The island has rich soil, with an average annual temperature of 16-17 degrees, annual rainfall of about 1,340 millimeters, and has a very humid climate. The forest coverage of the island is about 90%.

In spring and summer, lake water evaporates, clouds and mists are diffuse, and trees are clustered on the island. This natural environment is very suitable for the growth of tea trees.

The formation of the unique characteristics of Junshan Yinzhen is closely related to the climate and soil quality of Junshan Island.

Characteristics of Junshan Yinzhen

Yellow tea is classified into Huang Ya Cha, Huang Xiao Cha, and Huang Da Cha. Huang Ya Cha is the best-quality yellow tea made from 100% of buds. Junshan Yinzhen belongs to Huang Ya Cha.

The picking time of Junshan Yinzhen should be controlled within 7-10 days, before the Qingming Festival (around April 5), when the tea buds are the most tender. The length, width, and thickness of the picked fresh tea leaves are calculated in millimeters. Processing 500g of Junshan Yinzhen requires about 105,000 buds.

Because the tea leaves of Junshan Yinzhen are yellow and the outer layer is white or silvery, it has a beautiful name called Jin Xiang Yu (Gold inlaid with jade).

The shape of the dried tea leaves is straight, fat, and tidy. After brewing, the buds are hovering in the water, then slowly sinking, again rising, with three times of sinking and rising, which is like the tea buds are dancing. The color of the tea liquid is bright, clear, and yellow.

Benefits of Junshan Yinzhen

Legend of Junshan Yinzhen

It is said that in the early Tang Dynasty, a traveling Taoist named Baihe Zhenren (literally called White Crane Immortal) took eight tea seedlings and planted them on Junshan Island.

Later, he built a magnificent temple called White Crane Temple and dug a well called White Crane Well. When the tea trees grew up, he picked the tea leaves and made them into tea.

He brewed the tea with the water of the White Crane Well. After brewing, he saw a stream of white fog curling up and a white crane rushed up to the sky from the cup, so he named this tea “White Crane tea”, which is today’s Junshan Yinzhen.