“There’s nothing wrong with being a little unusual.”
– Emma Ishta
Chances are you’ve never heard of Yellow Tea (Tea Buds) or as it’s known in Chinese: huángchá (黄茶; 黃茶).
It’s hard to know exactly when Yellow Tea came on the scene. There is some speculation that it was during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912). It was mostly produced for local consumption and less for export to a broader market which is why you may be unfamiliar with it.
Huo Shan Huang Ya is an organic, rare, hand-crafted tea from the Huo Shan Mountains in Anhui Province. This area is known for its steep, jagged mountains, springs and waterfalls, bamboo and alpine forests. There are around 75 separate peaks spread across Anhui Province region. This high elevation has rich soil which contributes to the wonder of Yellow Tea. Grown at an elevation of around 1200 meters, this tea is typically harvested in Spring. It’s noteworthy in that the leaves are an unusual sword shape with tiny fluffy buds and a slight golden cast to the leaves.
It yields a very floral, smooth flavor with a sweetness that lingers for quite some time. The liquid is pale yellow and contributes in part to how it got its name.
The processing for yellow tea is similar to green but with an additional step added on after the initial drying and right before firing. That step is called “man huan” – where the leaves are steamed lightly, covered with a cloth and left to absorb additional sweet fragrances and flavors. In green tea processing there is something called “Killing the Green” – for yellow tea its known as “sealing the yellow” and is the key to defining and classifying a yellow tea. This unusual, additional step removes the grassy smell that is traditional of green teas. It also slows down the oxidation process so that it creates a lovely mellow taste and, of course, color. The oxidation range is around 10-20%.
There is some research that points to the immense health benefits of Huo Shan Huang Ya Yellow Tea, which of course include high levels of polyphenols and the amino acid Theanine – an amino acid that helps reduce anxiety and high blood pressure. Not only is it high in the vitamins B1, B2, and C, it’s also high in Caffeine.
“Studies have shown that yellow tea can improve lipid metabolism and protect the liver against chemical injury. Yellow tea can also chelate heavy metals, inhibit colon cancer cells, and inhibit the growth of various intestinal microorganisms, like Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus cereus.”
That’s quite an endorsement.
If you are a green tea lover, there is every reason to believe that you will also love yellow tea. Maybe even more. Many green tea loyalists have been pleasantly surprised and have started to include yellow tea in their tea drinking habit. The mellowness and that lingering natural sweetness is hard to pass by.
Happing Trying Something New!
~The Chief Leaf