What is yellow tea?

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Yellow teas find their origin in isolated regions in China, that were already producing quality green tea, like Huo Shan in Anhui or Meng Ding Shan in Sichuan.  It is thought that yellow tea was first created in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). 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.

Yellow tea

There are two types of yellow tea: Chinese huángchá and Korean hwangcha.The Chinese yellow tea is a rare and expensive 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 slower rate, producing a far more mellow taste. In the drying process the leaves get a more yellow color, hence the name of the tea. One of the primary aims of making yellow tea is to remove the characteristic grassy smell of green tea while preserving the associated health qualities of green tea. There are many varieties when it comes to the Chinese yellow tea. One of the most famous is Junshan Yinzhen.

The Korean hwangcha tea is made different from its Chinese brother. Hwangcha is produced similarly to oolong tea or lightly oxidized black tea. The yellow color stems from the relatively low level of oxidation.

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