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What is Yellow Tea?

Yellow teas can be compared with green teas and white teas.

Yellow tea is little known because little is now made as its production is expensive. It is worth the trouble and expense however as ‘spring tea’ as it is known, is indeed fresh and aromatic. The name is taken from the appearance of the young tea bud; so young that the downy white hairs that give white tea its name have yet to appear. Yellow teas are renown for being very smooth and full of flavour. It produces a distinctly yellow infusion in the cup.

Yellow tea dates from the Song Dynasty (960 AD) and was presented to emperors hence it was a Tribute tea, now known as one of China’s Famous Teas. Over three days yellow tea is pan heated then steamed using a process known as ‘sealed yellowing’ or ‘men huan’ for anything from four to ten hours during which time the tea slightly oxidises like a white tea but less than an oolong. During this time the tea is covered with a cloth to retain the aromas. It is then pan-fired. Caffeine levels of yellow teas are very low.

Yellow teas are produced in Sichuan, Hunan and Anhui provinces, the former being the home of cultivated tea as far back as 53 BC, in the Han Dynasty. From Sichuan come Bamboo Tips and Snow Shoot Tea.

We stock Huoshan Huangya ‘Yellow Sprouting’ from Anhui Province which has a large leaf similar to Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea, which we also offer. The yellow tea is however lusher in taste. We also have China Yellow Sun from Anhui. This has a sweet grassiness with a certain nuttiness.

How to make yellow tea

As with green tea, ensure that the freshly boiled water has cooled to around 80 degrees C. Use about three grams per person and infuse for three to four minutes. Store air-tight, in a cool, dry place away from odours.

Go to the Yellow Teas section of our Tea Store.