Yellow tea is one of the six main types of traditional Chinese tea and it is a kind of slightly fermented tea.
The processing technology of yellow tea is similar to that of green tea. Only a process called “Heaping for yellowing” is added to promote the oxidation of polyphenols, chlorophyll, and other substances.
Although there is one more process, the taste, soup, and appearance of yellow tea are quite different from that of green tea.
1. History of yellow tea
Before the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the name of yellow tea had already appeared. But at that time, the yellow tea was different from today’s yellow tea. It was made from the leaves that were natural yellow, not fermented yellow.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the processing technology of yellow tea was formally formed around 1567-1572, so yellow tea has a history of more than 400 years.
Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) is the peak period of yellow tea. The new technology of producing yellow tea has been widely spread, and many kinds of yellow tea were created in different places.
In the early 20th century, with the outbreak of war, the production of yellow tea gradually decreased and many processing technologies of yellow tea were losing.
In the middle and late 20th century, with the support of the government, many historical famous yellow tea gradually reappeared through the efforts of some experts and experienced tea farmers.
2. Characteristics of yellow tea
The biggest characteristics of yellow tea are yellow tea leaves and yellow tea soup.
Heaping for yellowing is an important process to form the characteristics of yellow tea. The quality of yellow tea is also determined by the degree and mastery of heaping for yellowing. High-quality yellow tea on the market is hard to find because heaping for yellowing is hard to master.
In fact, heaping for yellowing is just a process of fermentation. In this process, some substances such as polyphenols, chlorophyll, etc. in the leaves are oxidized, which makes the tea leaves turn into yellow and forms the yellow color after it is brewed.
Compared with green tea, the taste of yellow tea is less bitter and more mellow.
3. Varieties of yellow tea
According to the tenderness and size of the tea leaves, yellow tea can be classified into three main types:
Huang Ya Cha
Huang Ya Cha literally called Yellow Bud tea is made from 100% of buds or one bud with one leaf. This is the best-quality yellow tea. Its buds and leaves are very tender and covered with a lot of white fluffs which called pekoe. The more the white fluffs, the higher the quality of the tea.
Famous Huang Ya Cha:
- Junshan Yinzhen. It is the most famous Chinese yellow tea and has the best quality, produced in Junshan Island in Hunan Province.
- Huo Shan Huang Ya. It is a special product of Huoshan County in Anhui Province and is a national geographic indication product of China.
- Meng Ding Huang Ya. It is produced in Mengding Mountain in Sichuan Province. In ancient times, it was a tribute tea for the emperors to enjoy.
Huang Xiao Cha
Huang Xiao Cha literally called Yellow Small tea is made from one bud with 2-3 leaves. Its buds and leaves are tender but not so tender as that of Huang Ya Cha, as well as the white fluffs.
Some Huang Xiao Cha:
- Beigang Maojian, produced in Yueyang City of Hunan Province.
- Luyuan Maojian, produced in Luyuan Temple in Hubei Province.
- Weijiang Maojian, produced in Ningxiang County of Hunan Province.
- Wenzhou Huangtang, produced in Wenzhou City of Zhejiang Province.
Huang Da Cha
Huang Da Cha literally called Yellow Big tea is made from one bud with 2-5 leaves and the size of the leaves is bigger than that of the two types above. The shape of Huang Da Cha is thick and strong. The color of the tea soup is dark yellow or brown and it tastes strong mellow.
Some Huang Da Cha:
- Guangdong DA Ye Qing. It is produced in Guangdong Province and is a specialty of this province.
- Hai Ma Gong Cha, produced in Hai Ma Gong Village in Guizhou Province.
4. Health benefits of yellow tea
Yellow tea is rich in amino acids, trace elements, vitamins, fatty acids, and other beneficial ingredients.
Yellow tea in the process of heaping for yellowing, will produce a large number of digestive enzymes, which can treat dyspepsia and anorexia.
The theaflavin in yellow tea can penetrate into fat cells and decompose the fat, playing a role in weight loss.
In addition, yellow tea retains more than 85% of the natural substances in the fresh leaves, and these substances have a special effects on cancer prevention, anti-cancer, sterilization, and anti-inflammatory.
Here are the main benefits of yellow tea:
- Weight loss
- Relieving fatigue
- Improving immunity
- Protecting teeth and eyes
- Promoting appetite and digestion
- Anti-inflammation and sterilization
- Refreshing and eliminating fatigue
- Preventing and treating esophageal cancer
5. How to make/brew yellow tea
- Tea set: porcelain cup or glass cup.
- The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:60-80. 3g of yellow tea leaves need 180-240ml of water.
- The temperature of the water: 80℃-85℃.