A Yellow Tea for those in the know.

Newsletter Archive Jun. 24, 2022

Close-up of a scoop-shaped woven bamboo basket of fresh Mogan tea leaves about to be dumped into a wok for hand-frying.
Mogan Huangya leaves ready for hand-frying.

Mogan Mountain is known for mythic swords, gangsters, and as a place where Chairman Mao once took a nap. Tea is not its historic claim to fame. And yet, it’s home to a tea garden, a tea factory, and a family of tea makers whose tea is so exceptionally good that it transcends the reputation of this mountain hideout and demands its place on the map.

Welcome 2022’s Mogan Huangya yellow tea.

This is the 14th year we’ve bought Mogan Huangya from the Zhao family at their Hengling tea garden. This tea has always captivated us with its singular treatment of the yellow tea style. It’s ethereal, meadowy, and complex while also being so, so soft. It’s never been the most popular tea we sell, but it’s a personal favorite, a tea that’s in our catalog for us and for those in the know.

Long tables covered in fresh Mogan tea leaves withering indoors.
Wang Xiangzhen and her husband Zhao Ronglin checking on withering Mogan tea leaves indoors.

This mesmerizing leaf owes its existence to two tireless people: head tea maker Wang Xiangzhen and her husband and garden manager Zhao Ronglin. As a young couple in 1979, they volunteered to join a research team from the tea department at Zhejiang Agricultural University. In that collaboration, they honed their skills as growers and producers, ultimately developing Mogan Huangya’s standard processing techniques. For each year after that, they sent samples of their Mogan Huangya to the Provincial Bureau of Agriculture. These samples were their petition for recognition, proof of the consistent quality and unique character of this tea. Finally, in 1999, after nearly twenty years of petitioning, their efforts were recognized when Mogan Huangya was listed by the provincial government as a regionally important and famous tea.

This was only the beginning.

Since then, over 100 tea makers have apprenticed to Ms. Wang. Under her leadership, Hengling has become a model factory for its adoption of new tea production best-practices, including strict standards for tea plucking and grading of fresh leaves and an efficient division of tea processing steps. Their tea has won over 30 awards, and Ms. Wang herself is recognized with the prestigious title of Inheritor of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Three people standing on a mountain path framed by tall tree trunks on a misty day, smiling at the camera.
Wang Xiangzhen (center) with her daughter Zhao Xianqin and Andrew in Spring 2019.

For more pictures and information on where your tea comes from, we invite you to watch a video we made for Signature Tea Passport subscribers last year, which dives into why the Zhao family and their garden are so extraordinary.

After forty years of accomplishments, the tea drinking world is finally beginning to think of Mogan Mountain as an important center of tea production and tea culture. The students of the Zhao family are producing their own Mogan Huangya and the style is alive with its own community of producers. The Zhao family hasn’t slowed down. Just as they’ve done before, each year they seek to make better and better tea. This year’s Mogan Huangya is yet one more chance for folks to get to know their life’s work and put the sublime tea of Mogan Mountain on the map.

A hand sprinkles dark leaves into a glass pitcher of hot water in front of an agave plant. A hand holds a the pitcher of tea up to the sky and trees and the tea leaves have lightened and rehydrated.

It’s iced tea time.

With each fresh tea that comes in, we discount the last remaining bags of the previous year’s harvest. Take advantage of our year-end specials while they last. Now that we’re at the beginning of summer, it’s the perfect time for iced and cold brewed tea. Those carefully stored teas from last year’s harvest brew especially beautifully in a cold infusion.

We cold brewed our 2021 Mogan Huangya overnight (8–12 hours) using 5 grams (~1.5 tablespoons) of tea and 12 fl. oz. of filtered water for a delightful tonic that retains both the fullness and softness of flavor we love in this tea.

Happy Summer!

A gold foil bag of Mogan Huangya yellow tea and a small stemmed glass of cold brew held in a flat palm before bright pink bougainvilleas.