Yellow teas are an increasingly rare and expensive variety of tea. The process for making yellow tea is similar to that of green but with an added step of encasing and steaming the tea. This allows the tea to oxidize at a slow rate for a brief period before the tea is heated fully to denature the oxidizing enzymes, producing a far more mellow taste than is found in most green teas; this also gives the leaves a slightly yellow coloring during the drying process. Yellow tea is often placed in the same category with green tea due to its light oxidation. One of the primary aims of making yellow tea is to remove the characteristic grassy smell of green tea.
Our Huo Shan Huang Ya yellow tea comes from the Simao region in Yunnan. Production begins with the so-called “pan-firing”, in which the tea is slightly roasted in a kind of wok so that the enzymes responsible for the fermentation process are destroyed. The still warm leaves are then carefully wrapped in cloths to let the remaining humidity dry naturally and gently for several hours. This step is repeated until the leaves have reached the right degree of maturity. The yellow tips develop a unique spicy sweetness in the cup, accompanied by a fresh, fine resonance.