How To Spot a Quality Tea – Part 2: Silver Needles

Silver needle leaves

In our last episode of Talking Tea we began to explore the elements of a quality tea with Shunan Teng of New York City’s Tea Drunk. As examples of what to look for in choosing tea, Shunan selected two historically famous teas from China. We began in our last episode by looking at Gua Pian, a green tea, and now we chat with Shunan about Bai Hao Yin Zhen, also known as Silver Needles, as we continue discussing how to spot a quality tea. 

Shunan chats with us about some of the unique characteristics of Bai Hao Yin Zhen and white tea in general, and common mistakes buyers make in choosing a white tea. One of the things that makes Bai Hao Yin Zhen unusual is that it’s composed only of buds of the tea plant, and we talk with Shunan about what the appearance, aroma and texture of the buds can tell us about the tea’s quality and how it was harvested and processed. 

More info on Tea Drunk, including its online store, shop hours and events, can be found at its website, The website also has links to Shunan’s fantastic videos of her sourcing trips in China. The direct link to the videos is



Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.


Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.

Photo of Bai Hao Yin Zhen courtesy of Tea Drunk.

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