About Yellow Tea

A Rare Treasure

The rarest of all tea types, yellow tea is a speciality of Anhui, Sichuan, Zhejiang and Hunan provinces in China. There are just a handful of famous yellow teas in China and production is very limited. The teas were often historically used as tribute teas, given as gifts to the emperor. Our Jun Shan Silver Needle, is one of China’s most sought after teas, produced exclusively on a single island in Hunan Province.

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The Taste of True Yellow Tea

For authentic yellow teas you are looking for a delicate infusion where the grassy taste of green tea has been replaced by an intriguing mellow sweetness. The intricate processing of this tea type is fraught with risk of spoiling the sought-after flavours, which limits production to a few small areas where extreme skill has been passed down through generations. Buyers must be aware that many teas sold as yellow tea are in fact green tea, and it takes real expertise to source authentic yellow tea.

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How Yellow Tea is Made

The Key: Unique Yellowing Processing

Yellow tea is a unique post-oxidised tea. This means that an oxidisation stage is encouraged after the tea has been fixed by sha qing (‘kill green’). The processing steps are identical to green tea (picking, withering, fixation, shaping and drying) however a special yellowing stage is introduced after fixation. The moist leaves are wrapped in paper and placed in warm, humid conditions for up to 48 hours. The tea does not become black tea for two reasons: the enzymes have been deactivated by heat, and the cell structure has not been broken open by rolling or tossing.

01_Picking

PICKING

Pickers carefully and quickly select suitable leaves from the tea bush.

02_Withering

WITHERING

The leaves are laid out in ambient conditions to allow them to wilt and lose moisture.

03_Fixation

FIXATION

The leaves are heated to de-activate the enzymes that would otherwise cause the leaf to oxidise.

12_Yellowing

YELLOWING

A post-oxidisation of leaves that have already been fixed to achieve a unique flavour.

04_Shaping

SHAPING

To create the unique style of each tea, such as flat spear-shaped Pre-Rain Jun Shan Silver Needle.

05_Drying

DRYING

To reduce the moisture content of the leaves to 5% for storage.

Yellow Tea Making Tips

Key Making Tips

The delicate nature of fresh yellow tea lends itself best to being made with 70°C – 80°C water. This will avoid extracting bitter-tasting tannins. Our rare loose leaf yellow teas can be re-infused twice, but be sure to fully decant each infusion to avoid an over-infused bitter taste. Read our carefully designed recipes on each product page, on how to get the perfect cup.