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Tea 201 - What Makes a Yellow Tea

Yellow Tea
Yellow Tea

There are, in fact, two types of so-called “yellow tea” out there in the world!  The first refers to the yearly tea tax asked by the Emperor.  Yellow was considered the color of royalty so it was only fitting that it be the color of the taxes demanded by the emperor.  But that’s not what we’re here to discuss.   No, dear readers, we will be talking about the literal yellow tea.

What is it?  It is technically a type of green tea that is further oxidized (not quite to the same degree as an oolong) and the drying phase is slower which allows the tea to turn a shade of yellow.  The point of this is to get rid of the grassy flavor that goes along with green tea.  Most people drink yellow tea because they can get the same health benefits as green tea while avoiding the grassy taste.

Yellow tea is only made in small quantities, smaller even then the amounts of white teas produced.  This is due to the fact that not many people are even aware of yellow tea’s existence.  The small amounts of yellow tea are produced also because green tea is much easier to make and is therefore considered more marketable.  There are two known varieties of yellow tea available: Jun Shan Yin Zhen is a Silver Needle yellow tea made from Hunan province and Huang Ha which is a Yellow bud from the Anhui province.

Yellow teas are similar to greens and whites in how it needs to be steeped.   The water should not be hotter than 180 degrees F, or 80 degrees C.  Once at the desired temperature, the tea should only be steeped for a minute or tea.

If you’re interested in purchasing yellow tea, the World Wide Web has made it easier to find this rare tea.  Here are a couple of links to make your search easier: