Yellow Tea is the most exclusive tea among tea categories. When brew in a glass, the leaf which looks just like the sword moving up and down is described as ‘Silent bamboo forest’.
Yellow tea is classed close category to white tea because it is lightly oxidized. One of the objects in making yellow tea is to remove the grassy smell of green tea while still maintaining the health qualities of green tea; and yellow tea is felt by some to be even healthier because it is easier on the stomach than green tea.
Yellow Tea is remarkable tea for the tea enthusiast. It has a wonderfully complicated taste and smell.
In China Yellow teas are made for the appreciation of locals and have never had a broad market presence. Growing out of an elaboration of green tea techniques, the process for making yellow tea is time consuming and difficult. Thus for the thousand kinds of green tea, there are only few kinds of yellow tea that survive today.
Here is the process in general, but each of the tea has its own variations.
- leaves are first fried, as is the case in most green teas
- then the leaves are wrapped in thick paper or cloth.
- wrapped packets are stored in a wooden box.
- at intervals the tea is fried again and re-wrapped to cool and oxidize slightly.
This process continues for up to three days and then slow roasted at the finish. When you consider the processing time coupled with the limited harvesting time for the tea to be plucked, you can understand why this tea has had a hard time surviving, and probably would have become completely extinct if it were not so valued by the Chinese people for its health benefits.
Quality Inspection Criteria
1) Tea buds are bright yellowish green color, straight and covered with white down.
2) Water color is light almond-yellow color.
3) Fragrance is called Qing-xiang that is greenish refreshing flavor.
4) Taste is brisk Xian-shuang, sweet Gan-tian and mellow Chun.
5) Tea buds after brewing are very bright yellow color, fleshy, thick, and soft.
6) The size of bud Length 25-30mm, Width 3-4mm, Stem 2mm
Recommended Brewing Method
Yellow tea is best steeped for 2 minutes at a time (often less), so start with a 2 minute steep, and taste a tea that is ‘new to you’ every 30 seconds after.
Be sure to put 3g of Yellow Tea or 2 teaspoon for 150 ml of hot (but not boiling) water.