Silver Yin Zhen Pearls

Tea type
White Tea
Not available
Floral, Fruity, Smooth
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Edit tea info Last updated by Eric Daams
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 15 sec 14 oz / 425 ml

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44 Tasting Notes View all

  • “What a disappointment. This is advertised as one of the rarest teas in the world, a delicacy and imperial reserve. I read a lot about it before heading to Teavana to try it out, so I thought I...” Read full tasting note
  • “Backlogging from Saturday. Teavana is such an entrancing place, I go in for something simple like a matcha bowl, and leave with piles tea and accessories I had no intention of buying. In the store,...” Read full tasting note
  • “I decided to brew up this tea today since I was about to pack up the rest to give away/swap. I read so many of the reviews complain that this tea was flavorless. I went a little overboard to...” Read full tasting note
  • “So. Funny story about this tea: At a staff party a while back, I asked my manager about the fact that there is a huge stash of tea stuck behind the water dispensers – some that appear to be those...” Read full tasting note

From Teavana

The world’s rarest and most famous tea, Silver Needle, is expertly hand-rolled into delicate downy white tea pearls. When steeped, they gently unfurl to release a sweet, fragrant, mellow brew. Very high in antioxidants and low in caffeine.

About Teavana View company

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44 Tasting Notes

639 tasting notes

What a disappointment.

This is advertised as one of the rarest teas in the world, a delicacy and imperial reserve. I read a lot about it before heading to Teavana to try it out, so I thought I knew what I was in for.

My past Teavana experiences haven’t been ideal. Overall, I’m not thrilled with their overly spiced blends, unreasonably high prices, and kitschy health benefit claims. But I wanted to give them a second chance and figured to do so with one of their most expensive teas (thinking it must be expensive for a reason and therefore is probably really fantastic).

This tea was so not worth my time. First off, I don’t think my tea barista was very well educated. I went in describing this tea, and she directed me to a Jasmine Dragon Pearl blended with some kind of tropical rooibos. Umm, what?

I picked up one of the tea catalogues next to the register and immediately found the name of the tea I wanted…on the first page…in red font…with a big picture. sigh

Even though this is an expensive tea and I expected her to try to sell it to me, she continued to pull out other “silver” teas for me to smell. I explained yet again that I was there to try the Silver Yen Zhen Pearls, and she finally consented to sell me a cup.

Can’t I just try it without having to pay for an entire cup? Nope! Not an option at the lovely Teavana. So, I spend almost $6 just to try a new tea. I’m already feeling like this was a mistake. But I’m finally getting what I wanted, so I try to keep a smile on my face and let the frustration melt away.

Upon receiving my cup, I knew she had messed up. The tea catalogue I had picked up earlier said very clearly to steep the leaves for 4-5 minutes in 175 degree water. She couldn’t have steeped the leaves for more than two and a half minutes, and this water had to be boiling. I took the top off and tried to smell the tea. I got nothing.

Puzzled, I looked up at another tea barista who was watching me (the one who served me had disappeared into the back). She looked at me like I was weird for wanting to smell the tea’s aroma. So, I smiled and told her which tea I was trying.

She said, “Oh that tea has virtually no flavor or smell. But it can be blended with any of the other teas!” Umm, why bother? I stared at her blankly and she seemed to hear my silent question. “It’s very good for you,” she said with a big smile and a nod. Of course. I should have known they’d try to sell me on its health benefits.

But back to the tea itself, the liquor was a fairly deep shade of brown. Shouldn’t it be lighter, I thought? It almost looked like a weak black tea! Did they use hard water?? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had white teas before. But I’m expecting perfection with a tea that’s $22.00/2 ounces.

After all this build up, I couldn’t wait for the tea to cool off any longer. I tried it a bit early, which just made me burn my tongue. But what did I taste? I’m searching for the words to describe this other than “tastes like water.” I do taste something more than water, but just barely and only when it’s actually on my tongue. There’s no aftertaste of any kind.

Very disappointing. At almost $6 for a cup of burning hot water, I’m convinced yet again that I really hate Teavana. I know white teas can be bland, but this is ridiculous. There’s no flavor at all!

I gave Teavana a second chance, and they failed miserably. Why can’t I try tea before buying it? I thought that was the common practice. That’s the way I’ve been treated in every other tea shop I’ve stumbled into. I thought about buying a package of tea samples, but it’s just as expensive as trying one tea in the shop. Four tea samples for $70?? They’ve got to be kidding! Their only free samples are 2-3 overly sweetened iced teas spread throughout the store. I don’t want sugary juice water! I want tea!

As I’ve always said, Teavana is great for teaware and accessories. But I can’t recommend their tea blends, and I’ll never buy their tea for myself. The rarest tea in the world was nothing more than over priced, tasteless, brown water.
Epic fail.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

Sorry you had a bad experience with this. I don’t like Teavana and your post illustrates one of the reasons why. When I enter another tea shop, I find someone who is knowledgeable about tea. Heck… when I go to Whole Foods, I can even find the person who is working in the tea aisle to be quite knowledgeable about tea. But not so at Teavana. And they not only try to sell me things that I’m not interested in buying, but they treat me like I’m the one who knows nothing about tea. They are interested in their quotas and bottom line at Teavana. The tea is secondary. They aren’t passionate about tea.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve not found really delicious blends from Teavana, I have. But, I only stop in there if I happen to already be in the mall. It is never a “first choice” kind of shop for me.


Part of me is glad I’m not the only one. But then the other part of me says, why am I happy someone else has a bad tea experience too?

I went here again recently and met a fairly pushy tea salesman. He definitely seemed to know more about tea than anyone else in the shop, and I think it’s an improvement that Teavana has started hiring knowledgeable tea salesmen.

But he also didn’t leave me alone. He kept following me around and eavesdropping on the things I said to my boyfriend. It was like, jeez! Can’t I shop in peace? If I said I kind of liked something, he’d say, “Let me wrap that up for you!” Just ‘cause I whisper to my boyfriend that I think a teapot looks cool doesn’t mean I’m ready to drop $400+ on a set.

Seriously, this place could be so good! When I’m in the mall, they always pull me in somehow. But I’ve never walked out with any tea.


Sorry your experience wasn’t great there. I just wanted to note that, although it says steep 4-5 minutes, the tea is actually better at 2-3 minutes. When you buy this tea loose they usually specify this to you. So, the barista didn’t mess up. She was doing it the way she was taught.


She had to mess something up because it was a cup of hot, brown, flavorless water. I’ve had white tea enough times to know that it does have flavor (and probably shouldn’t be brown).


I just meant the steeping time. If it was bad I’m sure yeah she did do something wrong.

Daniel Scott

Reading reviews for this one as I try it, and I had to laugh when I read yours. Yep, definitely sounds to me like the barista botched it. Brewed two minutes, it should be a lighter color than you describe.

From what I’ve heard, American Teavana stores only have one water dispenser. (Unlike Canadian Teavanas, which are all converted Teaopia stores, and thus have both a hotter water dispenser and a cooler water dispenser.) In an American Teavana, they’re supposed to add a certain number of ice cubes to your cup to compensate for the boiling water. Sounds like she forgot the ice cubes!


Daniel Scott – not all Canadian Teavana’s are converted Teaopia stores. They do the ice cube thing in Canada too.

Daniel Scott

My bad, I totally forgot that – there were some locations before the buy-out as well.

Ugh, the ice cube thing just kills me. Admittedly, two dispensers still aren’t perfect, a couple of variable temp dispensers of some sort would be better. But one dispenser, I don’t get that.


@Daniel Scott yeah I’ll admit that’s the worst thing most tea shops are doing these days. At least the ice cube thing is better than nothing. DavidsTea’s water is always WAY too hot.

Brittany Miller

I will agree with what everyone has said. I work at one of the converted Teaopia stores and we do in fact have two dispensers. The Silver Yin Zhen Pearls should be brewed for no more than two minutes and with the lower temperature water.


I suppose it depends on what you like in a white tea, but I definitely think the first steep of this one needs at least 4 minutes. If you’re worried about bitterness, go with a lower temperature. But the pearls have barely started to unfurl before 4 minutes so there isn’t much flavor earlier.

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243 tasting notes

Backlogging from Saturday.

Teavana is such an entrancing place, I go in for something simple like a matcha bowl, and leave with piles tea and accessories I had no intention of buying. In the store, the pearls smelled sweet and fragrant; almost fruity. This would lead to the assumption that you would get a fruity white tea. My companion was intrigued. I was not. I know what happens when you assume, so I avoid assuming anything.

The brewed leaves and brewed tea both smelled earthy and raw, like a tea that was unfinished, unrefined, unfiltered and all together natural. Can we say pu-erh? However, determined to try the tea, it turned out to be not so bad, once you get past the smell. The finished tea, was very silver needle, very plain and white, nothing special at all. The only thing special was the smell.

Brewed hot, no additives.


I wouldn’t call it ‘entrancing’ so much as ‘annoying, pushy sales people’.

Madison Bartholemew

you know… it’s growing on me… I still think it tastes kinda salty… but I’m wanting more


@jillian, I know what you mean, but madison and I have them trained, they know not to try and sell us anything, haha

@madison, ew, enjoy, I still have like three to backlog from Saturday, can’t wait for the body + mind.

Madison Bartholemew

body and mind is really tasty… and when you read the description you realize you can make it yourself cheaper… like all things teavana


But the teavana teas all sound so amazing! I’ve never been into a Teavana store =(

Madison Bartholemew

??? where’s your rock? I have to get it up off of you… then again you are actually not missing anything other than that weird Wafting thing they do… it’s kinda creepy


I like to mix this tea with Monkey Picked Oolong Tea.

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417 tasting notes

I decided to brew up this tea today since I was about to pack up the rest to give away/swap. I read so many of the reviews complain that this tea was flavorless. I went a little overboard to compensate and used about two teaspoons for a 4 oz vessel.

The tea is fine. I like it more as it cools. I brewed this in a tiny glass teapot so I could watch it unfurl. At first it was fun watching as the pearls bob and then sink down to the bottom as they begun to unravel. Later, they seemed like an ugly expanding sea creature from a horror movie. I’m feeling pretty un-Zen tonight…

What teas would be appropriate for a John Waters movie marathon?

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Ha. I think subconsciously I thought of watching John Waters movies tonight because I saw someone review a tea called Pink Flamingo.


Dirty Chai? I have always love A Dirty Shame!


:-) That was the first one I was going to watch- I have not seen it! And I was thinking of some sort of PMS tea for “Female Trouble”.


Yes, that could work! hahaha

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107 tasting notes

So. Funny story about this tea:

At a staff party a while back, I asked my manager about the fact that there is a huge stash of tea stuck behind the water dispensers – some that appear to be those resealable bags from the gift sets, and a huge school-bus-yellorange Teaopia bag marked, “Blackberry Mojito.” She told me that it was all tea that the staff had been forced to damage out for some reason (the Blackberry Mojito having been dumped into the wrong tin, nothing else wrong with it), and that if I wanted some to take home to go hard. “TAKE IT! Get rid of it!” Well! Sweet.

So a few nights ago, the keyholder I was closing with and I went though them (there was at least two sets worth – what on earth happened to those gift sets? dropped in puddles of tea?) and took some bags, as well as measuring out bits of the Blackberry Mojito into smaller bags. We left the rest for others to ransack.

You know. Because I needed more tea.

Then we had a big staff meeting this week in which our regional manager asked us if any of us had taken damaged goods home, because that’s utterly Against Company Policy. (This wasn’t prompted by the water dispenser stash, incidentally – I don’t think she even knows it’s there.) Our AM jumped in to assure her that such a thing never, ever happens! No one has ever been allowed! Absolutely not!

…And we all kept up our best poker face. I’d be really, really surprised if there was someone there who didn’t have a chipped/scratched/slightly busted mug or pot at home that they got for free… But I guess we won’t be doing that anymore.

(And yes, “don’t take damaged stuff home,” has been the policy at every job I’ve ever had, but I also probably ended up at least a hundred bucks worth of free stuff from every job regardless, all okay-ed by management. I mean, waste not, right? And no, I’d NEVER sell it for a profit; I’m not that much of a dick.)

Hopefully she doesn’t find out about this tea, because I don’t want to get in any trouble for taking it. I was told it was okay to take…

Anyway! Tea! The brewing instructions are…baffling. Seventy-nine degrees, okay. One-and-a-half teaspoons per eight ounces, okay. Four to five minutes steeping time – HOLY BALLS WHAT. WHAT.

Who steeps a white tea for five minutes?! And of course it’s one of the tea types which is “highlighted,” meaning it will get bitter if steeped too long. Um.

Then again, “The Tea Companion” (a book we sell) which I just consulted says that Yin Zhen should steeped for 15 minutes(!). Hmm.

So I’m kind of experimenting with this one, eight ounces at a time. I’m starting off first with 1.5 teaspoons of leaf, steeped at two minutes, which I will try two infusions of. Then I will compare that to an infusion of new leaves steeped the recommended time.

The leaves smell very earthy, with a sweetness riding on top. I brewed my first spoonful in my TeaMaster to give the pearls lots of room to unfurl. They look super-cool unfurling…like little snails coming out of their shells at first, and by the end of the steep there’s a little garden growing on the bottom of my TeaMaster! …Although floating on top, there is a…I can’t even legitimately call it a “twig,” it’s like a damn tree branch. Admittedly, I didn’t even catch it in my spoon. How on this green earth did I miss that sitting in the spoon?!

First infusion: [Two minute steep.] Um. Well. First impression: tastes like water. Second impression as it cools as bit: tastes like liquid hay. (Hallo, China!) The second impression never fades. I feel like a horse. CHOMP. CHOMP. CHOMP.

Second infusion: [Two minute steep] …Okay, this is better. Gosh, maybe it should be infused longer! It’s a bit bitter, especially when hot, but that’s my fault. I was kind of lazy about waiting for the water to cool a bit, and I’m pretty certain it was too hot when I poured it over the leaves, so they took a beating. Slap my hand! (Oh variable temp kettle, wherefore art thou?) There’s more body. It’s still earthy and hay-like, but a bit sweeter. Admittedly I added two rock sugar crystals to try to bring out any sweetness, so it might just be that. (I know, I know, I’m such a lazy poop, I should have kept the variables the same, but I can’t be arsed to drink more than 3 cups of the same damn tea in one day!) The bitterness isn’t as bad when it cools.

Five minute steep: I was relatively precise (it’s not an oxymoron, shush) with this one, so I can’t be accused of mucking it up. I used a thermometer to get the temperature to 82 degrees (because I didn’t think to hot my TeaMaster before spooning the leaves in, so hopefully that evens out to around 79) and hit my timer at the moment the water touched the pearls. No sugar.

I spent the whole time watching the pearls unfurl. Some of them sort of swam around like ships in space, which was fun. One sank, and then immediately bobbed back to the top and unfurled at the surface. The physics of that baffles me; but then, I’m working full time in retail right now because I flunked physics, so…

The smell of the liquor is really strong, very earthy. I’ve honestly not run across a white tea yet that smells like this. It’s a little odd to me. Is this odd? Is this just me being a newb?

The taste, again, is earthy and hay-like. There is definitely some sweetness to it, but I have to concentrate fully on the taste to find it. This isn’t one I’d drink while distracted, that’s for sure. To be honest, there’s startling little difference between this and the second infusion of the last set of leaves. It’s drinkable. I’m finding it better as it cools, actually, and although the liquor is earthy when it’s in my mouth, there is an aftertaste which is light and sweet that I’m actually getting to really like.

Unfortunately, I don’t see most of the bottled Arizona green tea lovers who come in to the store for the first time liking this one at all, and I’m distressed that I’m meant to push it hard. If I push any straight white, why the hell not the Silver Needle? I’m sure it would go over better. Teavana, why do you hate repeat customers?

Regarding that staff meeting, we are getting a bunch of new stuff soon. New stuff going on the wall, some of which I think will really take off… I don’t think I can get away with saying more than that (nothing’s on the web site yet), but we’re genuinely excited. We get to taste-test this week. And new merch soon, some of which looks really good. Mom already wants some, ha! We also discussed more about how the hierarchy of Teavana works, because it is different from Teaopia and we are getting new management. Then we had a fun time cleaning the store in preparation for rearranging the merch and hanging out.

We did, towards the end, role-play the selling process some more, and a bit of a fight broke out between the associates and the RM. We tried to explain that the selling process feels too American and aggressive to us, not in keeping with Canadian culture. We ended up having a long, loooong talk about how to meet the standards of the selling process without ever accidentally confusing or deceiving the customer. She told us that if anyone ever gets to the till and reels in shock when we announce the price, then, “You have not done your job communicating the price of what they’re buying to the customer in the first place. That’s completely your fault.” Which seems like a fair criticism to me. I don’t entirely know how to feel about what we discussed – the RM sells like she does it in her sleep, and never by confusing or pushing the customer, but she’s also one of the most persuasive people I’ve ever met. I think we all feel like we – as individuals – don’t have the skill or talent to pull it off the same way, but I guess I will try to copy her and see what happens.

Also, I told her I am looking to apply for Operations lead (e.g. keeping track of supplies) – she originally asked me to be Merch lead, but I don’t want that job so much. She seemed excited that she has someone outright asking for the more “boring” job, heh. I haven’t got the position yet, but I think I will start an Operations notebook to keep track of supplies, and maybe rearrange our (messy) storage after my shift tomorrow night. I think that will look good.

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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98 tasting notes

So this was a fun one. I did 2 steeps of this which was fine since that is all I was planning on doing with this. The first one ended up very light and the pearls didn’t open fully yet. It tasted fine to me, a little light but still tasted fine. Now the second one is where things hit the fan. While waiting for my water I took one of the half opened pearls out and unraveled it. It was burnt in the middle. This is the point I realized this next steeping was dangerous. I steeped up the tea still, because why not. The liquid was slightly brown like someone mixed black tea and white tea together. Now the taste… The taste was like someone burnt silver needle tea, which is exactly what happened since the middle of almost all of these were burnt. So my conclusion is that I would drink this again only if I were to throw out the tea before it opened up all the way.

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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50 tasting notes

I had no expectations going into this tea but that most of the white teas I’ve tasted had little to no taste. This one doesn’t taste like much but it does have a taste, a nice earthy taste. I did smell the steeped leaves before i took a taste. It’s light and not bitter. I’m not sure why people have a hate on for it. It’s not my fave but I don’t hate it.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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57 tasting notes

I decided to try this tea to see if it really offers a different experience from that of regular silver needle. I was a little skeptical, but yes this tea is indeed different and you know what? I really like it.

The dry leaves are tightly rolled into beautiful pearls. Each pearl is slightly covered with small silver hairs. The pearls give a mellow earthy aroma.

I prepared this tea using a gaiwan and following Teavana’s suggested water temp (175F) and steep time (4-5 min).

The resulting brew gave me a brown-yellow cup with a faint earthy smell. This tea definitely has a stronger flavor than regular silver needle. This bolder flavor is complimented with a sweet earthy hint. I re-brewed this tea at least 3 times with no change in taste.

The unfurled pearls revealed a set of brown needles with lots of “dust” and small leaf pieces.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tea. It was a different take on the traditional silver needle and really appreciated the earthy undertones and stronger flavor this tea gives.

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

How much of this tea can you drink daily


Recommended resteeping times?

Mike G

It’s been a while since I finished this tea, but if I remember correctly, I would re-steep it for about the same time as recommended, maybe increasing the time one or two more minutes.

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45 tasting notes

I mixed this with Gyokuro Imperial. I steeped it for only a minute and a half, because I didn’t want to over-steep the green tea. The Silver Yin subdued the flavor of gyokuro a bit, and it gave the cup a smoother and fuller taste.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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257 tasting notes

I got a cup of this tea at Teavana today while I was at the mall. Since I didn’t make it, I included the steep time and temperature from their brochure.
It didn’t really taste like white tea which was different. It really tasted like white tea mixed with a floral oolong but not enough elements of either so you might not know what you were drinking if you were blind-folded. I watched it being steeped for me so I know I got the pearls. They are really neat-looking and almost look like little tiny balls of yarn because of how tightly they are rolled.
This is not a sweet or creamy white tea,,,which most of the ones I have tried have a nice, subtle sweet undertone. I think I was expecting that white tea accent that I am used to and this pearl tea has more of an earthy and very minerally undertone which was very new to me in a white tea :)

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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7 tasting notes

I add it to a lot of my teas because I’ve noticed my skin gets clearer the more white tea I drink (presumably it’s the antioxidants kicking it, but eh). For me, it’s basically flavorless.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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