Meng Ding Huang Ya (Yellow Buds)

Organic Yellow Tea 2017

This rare yellow tea from Sichuan province has been a tribute tea for centuries. It is mostly made from tea buds picked during the early spring to create a nutritious tea with a lightly sweet mild flavor.

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Tea Origin
Sichuan Province, China

Tea Bush
Ming Shan #9

Tea Master
Li Hui

Harvest Time
March

Picking Standard
85% tea buds 15% 1 bud to 1 leaf

This rare yellow tea from Meng Ding Mountain in Sichuan Province, where tribute tea has been produced for centuries. It is mostly made from tea buds picked during early spring to create a nutritious tea with a mildly sweet, nutty and mineral character.

While yellow tea is typically very rich in antioxidants and valued for its singular flavor, only a few types of yellow tea exist due to the complicated and tedious process in making it. In fact, there are only a few masters who know how to make yellow tea. After the complex processing, this lightly oxidized tea has a mild flavor without the grassy smell associated with green tea.

Meng Ding Yellow Buds is produced in Meng Ding Mountain in east Sichuan Province, Ya An City, Ming Shan County. Meng Ding Mountain was the first place to cultivate the tea bush 1200 years ago, at Gan Lu temple by the herbalist and Daoist Wu Li Zhen. Before that, people only picked tea from wild bushes. Tea became well known about 1200 years ago in the Tang dynasty, and tea leaves from Meng Ding Mountain were the first tribute tea to be chosen in history. It wasn’t until over 500 years later, in the Ming Dynasty, that this region began to produce yellow tea.

The tea growing area in Meng Ding surrounds the mountain in a U-shape with two rivers flowing through it: the Ming Jing and the Qing Yi Jing. The tea garden is set at about 1000 meters above sea level. All year round, the weather here is misty, cloudy, and rainy, which is ideal for growing tea. Tea bushes don’t like direct sunlight, so the clouds and mist act as a natural filter to create shade for the tea bushes. Tea bushes grown in the shade will have a smoother flavor. As result of the high elevation, the temperature between morning and mid-day can frequently change, which is said to help develop the complex flavor of the tea growing here.

The climate also allows for an unusually long nine month harvest season. Meng Ding tea is picked earlier than any other tea region. In early March (some years as early as February), pickers will go to the fields to pick evenly sized, plump, and healthy tea buds. 10,000 tea buds weighs about 500 grams, meaning it takes about 45,000-50,000 fresh tea buds to make 500 grams of dry leaves.

The fresh tea buds are carried back to the factory and placed on bamboo trays for about three hours to naturally remove some of their water content. 500 grams of fresh tea buds will then be fried at a time in a ½ meter diameter iron wok, which is small compared to those used in tea production elsewhere. The tea master then will push, squeeze and work the tea buds to maintain their shape. This process continues to remove  more moisture from the tea buds. After about 20 minutes of frying, tea leaves are wrapped in a thick yellow paper for about 5 hours. Between that time, they will open the leaves back up to mix them lightly to distribute heat, making sure the leaves receive even oxidation. After 5 hours, tea makers will refry the tea again, making sure half of the moisture is gone. The tea is wrapped again in the thick yellow paper for another hour or two. They will open the packets of leaves and fry again until only 30% of the moisture remains. They will spread a five centimeter thick layer of tea buds on top of more thick yellow paper to breathe for about thirty-six hours. After that, they will gently roast the leaves until they retain only about five percent moisture. During the slow processing, the color of the buds will turn from green to yellow.

The slow preparation and complex process helps develop a unique fragrance and a natural floral aroma. It is ideal for tea drinkers who like green tea for its nutrition and light flavor, but want to avoid stomach upset that can occur after drinking green tea.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

 

Meng Ding Huang Ya (Yellow Buds) brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass or porcelain pot
Amount: ¾ Tbs of tea leaves
Water: 185°F filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 2 minutes. The leaves are good for 5 infusions. Add a little more time for each subsequent infusion.