By Jess Hodges
The best thing about writing this blog is that I occasionally come across something like yellow tea, which I never previously knew existed. This is probably because yellow tea is extremely rare, being produced only in small quantities and hardly ever heard of in the west. It dates back to the 17th century in Anhui and Sichuan province in China and gets it name from the golden colour of the leaves and the tea they produce. Yellow tea can also be a name used to refer to the tribute teas which were presented to the Imperial Royal family, yellow then being the colour of royalty in China.
Yellow tea is allowed to oxidise for slightly longer than green tea and is then left to dry very slowly which is when it takes on it's distinctive yellow colour. The result is a tea without the strong grassy flavour of green tea, it has a mellow sweetness and stands up well to repeated steeping. It is therefore ideal for people who want to enjoy the health benefits of green tea but don't like the taste of it.
The process of making yellow tea is complicated and time consuming when compared to other teas which contributes to it's scarcity and relative expensiveness. The specific methods used to make different varieties of yellow tea are often closely guarded secrets and many have been lost over the years.
I encourage you to hunt for some yellow tea, elusive as it may be, I believe it's high time that more people made the discovery. Let's do our bit to increase the demand for this secretive and refined tea before any more of it is lost.