Yellow tea, the rarest of the tea variants, is oft lauded by many as less-grassy in flavor than its close cousin, green tea, due to the yellowing “or sealing” process. It is that sealing process (described momentarily) that gives the tea its name as the tea liquor produced from these leaves is sometimes referred to as yellow soup. Refer to above picture for tea color. Some have said that the sealing process of production also causes the leaf to yellow slightly, though this is not always the case and most yellow teas are hard to distinguish from a green tea.
During the production of yellow tea, the leaf undergoes a separate step unique only to the production of yellow tea. Because of the time, space and labor required to produce a yellow tea, the use of the technique has become more rare as time has marched on, with many tea producers opting for white or green tea production instead. The extra steps required for yellow tea production are as follows:
Once the withered leaves are fried or steamed to prevent oxidation, they are covered with a damp cloth or paper. This process is called yellowing or sealing. This technique gives yellow tea its yellow colour and unique flavour. The leaves are kept warm during this time in order to be prepared for rolling and the temperature and leaves closely monitored. The warm tea leaves are hand rolled before they are put into bamboo baskets for final charcoal roasting.
The process of roasting (drying) the leaves is quite labor intensive and the entire time of production of yellow tea may take three to four days. During the drying stage, producers turn the tea leaves frequently to ensure that the leaves are evenly and effectively cured.
You will find on our site that we usually only have one or two yellow teas at any given time, due to the fact that yellow tea is so rare. If the grassier side of green tea has you shying away from it, give our yellow tea a try, it just might be your cup of tea!