Mengding Huangya (Handmade Yellow Buds)

Yellow Tea 2024

Mengding Huangya is one of the oldest surviving styles of yellow tea. This rare version of it was made entirely by hand with young tea buds from heirloom tea bushes. Mengding tea’s classic mineral richness has been softened at edges for a balanced full flavor chased by dried apple sweetness and persistent florals.

Made into yellow tea by a complicated process where small batches are wrapped in thick paper and gently roasted while the buds are still moist. The resulting light oxidation enhances the tea’s floral aromatics and yields a sweeter flavor.


Clear selection

Tea Origin
Mengding Mountain, Ya'an City, Sichuan Province, China

Tea Bush
Lao Chuancha (Old Heirloom Sichuan Tea Bush)

Tea Maker
Mu Zegang

Harvest Time
March 23, 2024

Plucking Standard
1 bud

This even rarer version of the already rare Mengding Yellow Buds was made by hand from the first spring buds of seed-grown heirloom Sichuan tea bushes. Those bushes are growing on a couple of acres of steep and forested Mengding mountainside, at a higher elevation than our other Sichuan teas like Mengding Ganlu (Sweet Dew). This old tea garden is still planted with Sichuan’s old native tea bushes that are well-adapted to the local climate and environmental conditions of Mengding Mountain.

The Unique Yellow Tea Making Process

Mengding Huangya (Yellow Buds) is one of the few remaining yellow teas in existence, and among the oldest of them. The rare and elusive yellow teas are famous for the slow and complicated techniques it takes to make them. Mengding Huangya is no exception. The exacting process used to make this tea begins with its “solid-heart” single-bud plucking. Much like a green tea, these buds are fired by hand in an iron pan. After that is where the process gets really weird.

While still hot, the tea is quickly wrapped up in thick yellow paper for the critical menhuang step of slight oxidation. This is what creates the unique flavor of yellow tea. Each yellow paper package only contains about 300 grams of fried leaves. The bundles are kept warm on top of a charcoal fire or a stone stove. As the tea buds swelter in their paper wrapping, their color yellows as their chlorophyll degrades. The packets need to be opened from time to time for the tea leaves to be stirred, and so that the tea makers can monitor the leaves for even levels of oxidation and drying. This requires constant attention and skilled judgment, making yellow tea very time-consuming to produce. Once the desired degree of oxidation is reached, the tea maker will remove the buds from their paper wrapping and do their final drying in a wok. The entire process takes nearly two days of work.

The yellow tea process softens the astringency and bitter vegetable attributes of fresh leaves while also increasing their sweetness, and their gentle floral aroma becomes more pronounced.

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.


Mengding Huangya (Handmade Yellow Buds) brewing guidelines

5 grams (1 Tb) tea

12 oz 85°C (185ºF) water

3 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8 minutes