On October 1st of 2013, my journey through the world of tea tasting took me to the Vivid Tea Garden in Huoshan, Anhui Province, China. This sample of Yellow Bud Yellow Tea was purchased from Tealet Teas, who sourced the tea directly from Vivid Huoshan. To view Tealet’s profile for Vivid Huoshan, please click here.
Although this is not my first yellow tea, it is the first that I have had the opportunity to spend time properly reviewing. Yellow tea is one of the more rare forms of tea, as the “yellowing” process that makes this tea distinct from white and green teas has in large part been lost to the past. There are some in the tea business who market their teas as yellow, but is technically processed as a green tea. However, there are a few authentic yellow teas that can be found. Without seeing the physical processing of the tea leaves, it is difficult to differentiate a true yellow tea from a green imposter. If Elyse at Tealet says this is authentic yellow tea, then I will certainly take her word as fact.
As I open this sample pack, an unusually sweet smell hit me. This is not a green tea, nor a white tea. This is something special. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves of the Yellow Bud Yellow Tea have a yellowish-green to green color. The leaves are fully intact, appearing to be one leaf and bud, with the occasional two and a bud. There is a very low amount of breakage. The aroma of the leaves are unusually sweet, most similar to dry fruit. The length of the leaves range from 0.5 inches (13 mm) to 1.25 inches (32 mm). Some leaves appear that they may have been very lightly twisted, while others appear to may have taken this shape naturally during processing.
The standard preparation method was used for this sample. Filtered tap water was heated to 175ºF (80ºC). Eight grams of tea were placed in a 32 ounce (950 ml) glass teapot. The leaves were infused in the water for 2 minutes.
The first infusion produced a light yellowish-gold liquor, clear and transparent. The aroma of the liquor is delicately sweet and floral, with a slight vegetal scent. The liquor has a light body and a very mellow texture. The taste is delicate, with a nice balance of floral and very light sweet and vegetal notes. There is no bitterness to the taste. The finish and aftertaste are light and floral. This tea leaves the mouth and throat feeling refreshed.
The second infusion produced a slightly darker liquor, but still a light yellowish-golden color. The aroma is slightly more floral, less sweet, and maintains the slight vegetal scent. The liquor maintains a light body. The taste has a stronger floral flavor, with vegetal and very light sweet notes. The aftertaste remains floral and refreshing. This second infusion was arguably more tasteful than the first infusion.
The third infusion produced a liquor more similar in color to the first infusion. The aroma remains floral with a very light vegetal scent. The taste is also very similar to the first infusion. It is slightly lighter than the second infusion, but retained the floral flavor with light vegetal notes. The aftertaste remains floral and light.
The infused leaves have a lively, fresh light green to green color. Fully intact leaves from standalone buds to one and two leaves with bud. Few leaf fragments, mostly fully intact buds and leaves. The aroma is of fresh wet leaves and light flowers. The leaves have a soft feel with moderate durability, suggesting that a fourth infusion may be able to produce an acceptable flavor.
As a yellow tea should be, this Yellow Bud Yellow Tea from Vivid Huoshan displays characteristics of both white and green teas, and yet has characteristics that are unique to yellow teas alone. The flavor is delicate and void of bitterness, like a white tea. It also maintains the fresh vegetal notes of a green tea. The smell of the dry leaves is unusually sweet, unlike a white or green tea. I do not understand why this art of tea is dying off. It is a perfect combination of white and green tea. The skill involved in processing this tea is evident in the infused leaves. As usual, this is a great find by Tealet Teas. I am excited to try future teas from Vivid Huoshan, as it is clear that they put much care in to their teas. Thanks Tealet and Vivid Huoshan!
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