Leaf Type: Yellow
Where to Buy: Dammann Frères
This tea is rare as it can only be plucked at springtime. It comes from the mountain Meng, in Sichuan province, where tea growing started during Han dynasty, more than 2000 years ago. At that time, yellow tea was only served at the imperial court. The 5cm long leaves are green with a pale yellow hue. The interesting colour and flavour of that tea come from a very unique processing technique. The fresh leaves undergo a swift withering and are then rolled in small quantities in “Niu Pi Zhi”, a kind of old yellow paper, in which they are left to dry naturally. This tea shows a pale yellow cup with a mellow character with hints of walnut.
This is much different from the yellow teas that I’m used to, but it is certainly just as enjoyable.
Actually, when I first saw the leaf, I didn’t think it was a yellow tea, because the leaves are quite dark. They have the appearance of a black tea, or possibly a well-oxidized Oolong.
The flavor is also quite different from other yellow teas – this is stronger in flavor than most yellow teas which are usually a bit more delicate. This has a strong nutty quality and virtually no grassy or vegetative quality except at the finish, where there is an ever-so-subtle hint of a vegetal note. Not grassy, just a hint of vegetation.
It is smooth and rich-tasting, with no bitterness, and very little astringency. It’s really quite sublime! It has a very pleasing buttery note that is sweet and creamy and complements the nutty note (which is likened to a walnut in the company description of this tea, provided above). It’s kind of roasty-toasty, but not too much, I think that even those that find they do not care for toasty tasting teas would find this quite enjoyable.
This is truly a lovely tea to experience. I have said it before (numerous times, even!): “I have found a new favorite from the brothers Dammann!” But… this time, I mean it! This is fantastic!