The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
Yellow Tea-The Black Sheep of Teas
It's just been in recent years that teas other than black have caught on in the
U.S.  Even so, white and green teas have received the most attention because
of the many
health benefits attributed to them.  So it's somewhat unlikely that
you've even heard of, much less sampled yellow tea--what I call "the black
sheep of teas."

Yellow tea doesn't fall neatly into any of the
given categories, so it even stumps the tea
experts outside of China, giving them pause
for thought when trying to explain exactly
what it is.

Yellow tea starts out just like the other teas
from the camellia sinensis tree, and like the
other teas, it's the varying manufacturing
techniques that determines the leaf's final
outcome.

To that end, yellow tea has a lot in common
with green tea; its freshness and that it's
made using very early spring buds, and
processed using the same methods up to the
point of the initial firing. But that's where the
commonality ends.
After the initial air drying, and just before the first firing, yellow tea
undergoes an important additional step the Chinese call "
men huan"
(meaning "sealing yellow").  In this step the leaves are given a light,
slow steam, before being covered with a cloth, allowing the leaves
to breathe and reabsorb their own aroma.

This smothering cover step can last anywhere from several hours to
several days, during which time the sweetness of the tea and the fragrance slowly increase.

By gently controlling the moisture content of the leaf, the chemistry is altered, making yellow         
tea distinctive.

Yellow tea is less likely to develop the strong,
grassy flavor some
green teas can, but rather
has a smooth sweetness and light flavor.  
Astringency or bitterness is rare for this tea
to develop because of the covering step, as
it inhibits the development of those pungent
flavor components in the finished tea.

Following the extra covering step, the manu-
facture of yellow tea is exactly the same as
that of green tea.  But because of the extra
         work involved, you'll still see fewer
         yellow teas for sale today. Also be-
         cause of the lack of knowledge sur-
         rounding yellow tea, very few tea
         sellers know enough about it to promote it properly.

         It's even possible that some teas that are currently being
         marketed as green tea, are actually yellow teas.  When you
         get the opportunity to try yellow tea, you'll be pleasantly
         surprised, and I'm betting this is one tea you'll want more of.
         
Enjoy.

         Note:
 White, yellow, and green teas provide a great boost to
         the immune system and are low in caffeine making them good
         any time day or night.  Also, if your sweet tooth is screaming to be heard, try  flavored
         white, yellow, or green teas such as chocolate, blueberry, or caramel flavors that can
         provide a great substitute in place of high calorie desserts, along with being high in
         disease-fighting antioxidants, making them tasty and a healthy choice, too.   
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