A young monk asked his teacher, the wise tea master Lao Cha:
— Shifu, if Buddha were to visit you, what would you treat him to?
— How can I amaze the Enlightened One? Perhaps but only with the Yellow Tea from Huo Mountain... The most delicious, gentle, and rare tea in the world. I’m sure that if Buddha were ever to visit me, it would be solely to get a taste of this tea.
Huo Shan Huang Ya Yellow Tea comes to life through a unique process that involves "heaping" to yellow the tea leaves. It is lightly fermented and more gentle than green tea.
The fresh tea is hand-picked before Guyu, the 6th period of the traditional Chinese solar calendar, which usually begins around April 19. There are different types of Yellow tea, each having a different picking standard. They may vary from single bud to one bud and four to five leaves. After being wok-fried and baked, fresh leaves are covered in bamboo trays for 24-48 hours. The Huang Ya leaves are baked again over charcoal until 90% dry and softened for 3-7 days. During the last step of making Huang Ya, the tea gets quickly exposed to a charcoal fire to increase the aroma. This step is specifically unique to Lu An teas. The method for Huo Shan Huang Ya tea is someone repeatedly setting the bamboo tray of almost dried leaves over a high fire. He then removes, flips, and repeats for hours.
Huo Shan Huang Ya is a lighter fermented yellow tea with notes resembling green tea, except rounder, sweeter, and less tannic. The strong chestnut flavor is the most significant characteristic of this tea. We strongly recommend using a Gaiwan when brewing to enjoy the strong fragrance and the delicious taste.
Huoshan is a renowned yellow tea-producing area in Anhui province. The "Huoshan County Chronicle" records mention that Huoshan Huang Ya Tea first appeared as early as the Western Han dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD). However, the production process back then was quite different from the Yellow Tea in present days. Therefore, Huo Shan Huang Ya, which "originated in the Western Han Dynasty", rather refers to a tea made from a specific tree species with yellow leaves. It wasn't until the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) that the current processing took shape. Due to its sweet, refreshing aroma and mellow taste, Huo Shan Huang Ya quickly gained popularity and was listed as a tribute tea. During the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), it was already widespread. With the founding of the Chinese People's republic, tea was a means of exchange and was used in trading with the Soviet Union. However, the Russians mainly drank black tea. Thus, the entire Huoshan area was transformed into a black tea production base. The art of making Yellow Tea was on the verge of extinction. It wasn't until the Sino-Soviet relationship broke down in the Battle of Zhenbao Island in 1969 that the State resumed the production of green and yellow tea in the area. At the same time, two renowned tea scholars and three tea farmers in their 80s and 90s joined forces in a desperate attempt to revive the lost art of making Yellow tea. It took two years of unceasing attempts before the Yellow Tea production process was finally restored. Today, this craft tea is still one of the most rare tea types on the market.
Watch this five-minute video about Yellow Tea:
- Place of Origin: Taiyang Village, Huoshan, Anhui Province, China
- Altitude: 800m
- Harvest Date: April 2022
- Picking Standard: One bud with one leaf, or one bud with two unopened leaves
- Aroma: Chestnut, slightly grassy
- Taste: Sweet and nutty; crisp and at the same time well-rounded.
6g per 500ml 3-4min
5g per 120ml 5sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion