Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yellow Tea

By Alexandra Hoover

Perhaps you’ve never heard of yellow tea; maybe you are an avid enthusiast of this rare tea. Either way, yellow tea is a product of Camellia sinensis that deserves just as much attention as black, green, white, oolong, or pu-erh tea. For instance, although yellow tea is not as widely known as white tea, it contains almost as many antioxidants as white tea. Yellow tea similarly contains bacteria-killing fluoride, which helps prevent and combat health problems.

Why is yellow tea so obscure? It is not easy to make and it is only produced in China. In fact, yellow tea takes more time to produce than green or black tea. The process of making yellow tea involves less fermentation, or oxidation, than black or oolong teas; nevertheless, the production of yellow tea involves other intricate steps. Like green tea, the leaves must be fried. Next, however, the leaves are wrapped and stored in a wooden box. Then, the tea is fried again and re-wrapped, and is repeated for a maximum of three days. Finally, the tea is slowly roasted. The process is painstaking--if people local to Huo Shan or Meng Ding Shan had not been so determined to preserve yellow tea, it could have become entirely extinct like the Huo Shan Huang Ya variety of yellow tea.

While yellow tea’s taste and smell is complicated and hard to describe, it is subtle and sweet without green tea’s grassy, vegetal flavor. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some, you can brew it similar to the way you would make white tea. Make sure the water isn’t much hotter than 180 degrees F. For every five ounces of water, add one tablespoon of loose yellow tea. Steep for one to three minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea. If you want to get the full benefits of your tea, use a glass cup to gaze at the golden-yellow tint.


Anonymous said...

I just ordered some Jun Shan Yin Zhen, which is a yellow tea that was supposedly Chairman Mao's favorite tea. I am really excited for my first taste of yellow tea. :D