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What is Yellow Tea? Yellow tea takes its name from its straw colored liquor.

The production process is similar to green tea, but with a unique additional step called men huan, or sealing yellow. After very early spring buds or tips are panred, they are wrapped in special cloth, a step that is repeated several times over a period of up to three days, gently oxidizing the leaves before the nal slow charcoal drying. This smothering process pulls the aromas back into the buds and creates a more aromatic and mature tea, free of the grassy taste and astringency found in many green teas. Because yellow tea is rare, purchasing in the West should be undertaken with care. Poor quality green tea is sometimes sold as yellow tea in the U.S.; therefore, it is important to purchase yellow tea from a reputable tea vendor that deals directly with the tea farm in China. While Korea produces a yellow tea, it is an unrelated tea and does not follow the same process as Chinese yellow tea. Also known as: Huang Ya; varieties include Jun Shan Yin Zhen (Hunan), Mo Gan Huang Ya (Zhejiang), and Meng Ding Huang Ya (Sichuan). Learn more at

Yellow Tea
BY KERRI SHADID, CONTRIBUTOR ORIGIN: The rarest of the six classes of tea, yellow tea is only produced in China, in the high mountains of Hunan, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces. Jun Shan, rumored to have been the favorite tea of Chairman Mao, is only grown on the mist-covered mountain of Jun Shan Island, a 1 km wide island that produces a mere 500 kilograms of tea per year. Pickers gather only the bud by breaking it from its stem with a twist.

Know Your Tea

STEEPING: Steep one tablespoon (1 teaspoon for bud-only Meng Ding) per 6 oz. of water for 1-3 minutes in water well below boiling (170-180 degrees Fahrenheit). TASTE: Considered a mature tea, yellow tea is smooth and aromatic with a sweet, clean, bright, floral taste and a medium body.

March~April Tea Magazine 15

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48 Tea Magazine March~April 2013

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