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Huang Ya Yellow Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuangYaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

A truly original yellow tea produced according to a traditional recipe in an ancient Chinese tea region. The sprouts are picked when still tiny and tender to be carefully processed in small batches.

The taste is very clear and rich, refreshing but not fresh. Warm, brisk and mineral with hints of hay and a pleasant, slightly sweet, aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

For those of you who are familiar with my love of tea, you are probably aware that yellow tea is my favorite variety of tea.  So when Nan Nuo Shan offered to send me their new harvest of Huang Ya Yellow Tea, I leaped at the opportunity.  Yes PLEASE!

To brew this, I got out my gaiwan.  They sent me 6 grams of the tea and since I have a fairly large gaiwan, I poured the whole 6 grams of tea into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I gave the tea a 15 second rinse and followed it with six infusions (1 minute for the first infusion with 15 seconds additional steep time for each subsequent infusion).  All six infusions fit quite nicely in my YiXing mug designated for yellow teas.

And how I love this tea.  It’s so lovely!

Before I proceed with the review, I wanted to highlight some information on the Nan Nuo Shan website about yellow tea that I found rather interesting:

The production of yellow tea is not only difficult but also risky. During yellowing the tea might turn moldy, causing the lost of precious raw leaves. So former yellow tea producers decided to focus on more popular and risk-free green teas or at least to shorten the yellowing phase to few hours instead of days, thus producing yellow tea undistinguishable from green tea.

That is something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing yellow tea in the future.  It’s important to communicate with your tea purveyor to find out what you can about production of your teas!

This tea!  It is pure loveliness and joy in liquid form.

Sweet!  The tea is sweet with a lovely contrasting note of bitter toward the end of the sip.  This is not the “oh no, I steeped the tea incorrectly” kind of bitter.  This is not an off-putting kind of bitter.  It’s a delicate, savory note that contrasts with the sweetness and adds complexity to every sip.  It hints at the layers of flavor that are waiting to be explored by the sipper.

It has a soft, creamy texture that is similar to a Chinese green tea but without the strong, grassy/vegetative and/or kelp-y taste that you might notice with a typical green.  Hints of butter with a light, tangy quality that reminded me a little of the tangy note that I might experience from buttermilk.

It’s lightly earthy as opposed to what I’d call vegetal, but the earthy tones are vegetal tasting.  It doesn’t taste like earth as in loam or peat, it tastes like an earthy green taste.  Like kale that has been cooked to perfection:  earthy with a little bit of bitter and and a hint of tangy.  Only this is better because it also has that delightful sweetness!  I’d take a cup of this over a plate of kale anytime!

It’s so smooth.  There’s no astringency.  Even the tangy quality here – it’s a flavor without the sensation that accompanies an astringent tea.  This is one of the very best yellow teas I’ve yet to encounter.  I highly recommend this to all who are looking to expand their experience with yellow tea!  (All of you, right?)  It’s an incredibly beautiful tea!

Feng Huang Dan Cong Special Oolong Tea from Palais Des Thés

FengHuangDanCongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Le Palais des Thés

Tea Description:

Feng Huang Dan Cong “Special” (Special Phoenix tea) comes from Guangdong province (Chao Zhou district) in China.  The leaves, which are only fermented briefly, are generally very long (5 to 6 cm), and the liquor evokes fruity, floral and spicy notes.

This superior quality tea grows at a high altitude (1,500 metres), and pluckings are often reserved in advance by wealthy connoisseurs.

An exceptional tea with intense fruity, floral and spicy notes. Very rich and incredibly long in the mouth.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I prepared this tea, I was impressed with how fragrant it is.  The strong aroma of spiced fruit with notes of flower filled the kitchen.  My mouth started watering because my taste buds were anticipating the luscious flavor of a Phoenix Oolong!  Yes!

To prepare this “Special” Feng Huang Dan Cong, I used my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl of the vessel.  I then added enough water to cover the leaves (heated to 180°F) and let the tea “rinse” for 15 seconds.  I strained off the liquid and discarded it, and then I steeped the rinsed leaves for 45 seconds.  With each subsequent infusion, I add 15 seconds.  I combine the first and second infusions to make my first cup.  My second cup is infusion three and four.  And so on . . .

When I brew tea this way (gong fu), I find that my first cup is usually the softest in flavor because the leaves haven’t fully opened yet.  But this first cup is quite strong in flavor!  Sweet!  Delicious!  Fruity, floral with intriguing spicy notes.  It’s so warm and beautiful – a perfect tea for this chilly autumn day.

The sip starts with a note of sweetness that isn’t immediately recognized, but after a moment or two my palate decides it tastes like honey.  I notice fruit notes – stone fruits, like a cross between nectarine and plum – mingling with the honey flavor.  Floral notes begin to weave their way in and out just before mid-sip.  There is a delicate undertone of spice throughout the sip and by the time I reach the tail, the spice comes through for a strong finish.

The second cup is much smoother than the first.   It’s stronger in flavor, but the flavors seem to be more mellowed out now.  They are less focused, as if they’ve been softened around the edges.  The honeyed notes meld harmoniously with the fruit and flower notes and the spice is still strongest at the tail.

Later infusions continued to mellow.  The flavor still strong, I kept noticing a more unified flavor where the fruit and the flower became more of a seamless note, and the spice progressed softly and came on strong at the end.  The honeyed notes became less distinct as they seemed to become part of the floral, fruity flavors rather than it’s own individual flavor.

This is a really beautiful tea that was a real treat to explore!  I highly recommend it!

Huoshan Huang Ya Yellow Tea from What-Cha Tea

HuoShanHuangYaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A rare tea produced only a few days each Spring that features a great bamboo nose and a slight nutty taste followed by a lingering sweet after-taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yay!  Yellow Tea!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve tried a “new-to-me” yellow tea for review.  Yellow Tea is my all time favorite type of tea.  I love it.  And I LOVE this Huoshan Huang Ya Yellow Tea from What-Cha Tea!

To brew this tea, I used my gaiwan and measured one bamboo scoop of tea into it, and then I heated the water to 170°F.  First I rinsed the leaves with the water, by infusing them for 15 seconds and then straining off the liquid and discarding it.  Then I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  I strained each infusion into my very special Yellow Tea Yi Xing mug.  This mug is a little larger than my Ali Shan and Jasmine Yi Xing mugs, so I can fit 6 infusions of tea in the mug.  So that’s what I did.  I’m now sipping on the results of the first six infusions of this tea. HuoShanHuangYa1

Mmm!  Sweet and delicious.  The texture is creamy and smooth.  The sip starts out sweet with nutty nutty notes.  By mid-sip, I’m picking up on notes of flower.  The sweetness remains throughout the sip.  The aftertaste is delicately floral with a light sweetness.

What I like best about Yellow tea versus say, a white or green tea or even a green Oolong is that there are elements of most of these teas:  I taste creamy notes that you might find in these three tea types, but it’s not quite as heavy in texture as an Oolong or even a green tea might be.  It has subtle floral tones but they aren’t as sharp as with these other teas types.  And there is less of a vegetal note than with these other three tea types.  In fact, I’m having a hard time detecting ANY vegetal note to this cup, and I’m searching for it.  There is a very, very faint vegetal note hiding in the distance behind the sweet, nutty flavors and the notes of flower in the breeze.

It’s simply a wonderful tea, and this yellow from What-Cha is beyond wonderful.  Better than wonderful.  It’s absolutely, exquisitely perfect!

Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from Teavivre

Te Gong Huang Shan Mao FengTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

The historic Huang Shan Mao Feng is well-known as one of the ten famous Chinese tea. This Ming Qian Huang Shan Mao Feng is a kind of pre-ming green tea. Pre-ming tea has strict requirement of the picking time and its making standard, thus the bird-tongue appearance could been perfect formed, as well as the brisk flavor. Both of which are favored by tea lovers.

Our Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng Green tea is Te Gong grade. Te Gong refers to two Chinese words: 特(tè) and 贡(gòng). 特 is short for 特级, which means the tea’s grade is nonpareil; while 贡 is short for 贡品, meaning that the tea was used to be paid as tribute to the emperor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What a pleasure it has been to try Teavivre’s newest green teas from this spring.  They taste so fresh and wonderful!

This Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea – quite a name! – is lovely.  I am a fan of Mao Feng Green teas anyway, they’re one of my favorite of the ‘ten famous’ Chinese teas.  I enjoyed two infusions from one measurement of this tea, and I found both to be quite good.

The first infusion was delicate in flavor at first, and I found that the flavor developed as I continued to sip.  I’m not sure if this is because the tea was cooling slightly or because the flavors developed on the palate after taking a few sips.  Either way, this is a tea that requires a patient palate, but don’t worry, that patience will be rewarded soon enough!

It is a beautifully sweet flavor with notes of fruit.  I don’t often experience fruity notes with green tea (usually I experience grassy or vegetal notes, but not so much of a fruit note as this Mao Feng offers), and it reminds me of a combination of sweet grapes, melon and apple.  There is no tartness to these fruit notes, so think only of the sweetest grapes and apples, with the lush, juicy taste of a sweet honeydew melon.  This is a tea you want to slurp to get the most out of these fruit notes!  Aerate the tea on the palate and you’ll be happy with the result.

I added thirty seconds onto the steep time for the second infusion.  This cup offers a deeper flavor with even more sweetness.  You definitely want to take this tea for a second steep!  There is a lot of flavor to this second cup.  Sweet with nutty flavors, and the fruit notes are still there too.  This time, I taste less of the grape and more of the melon.  There is a little bit of vegetative taste that comes through now too, but there is more fruit than vegetable to this cup.  It’s a very refreshing cuppa!

Of the two infusions, the second is my favorite, but the first was certainly worthwhile too.  I enjoyed both and what I liked best is that both were so different from one another – it was like taking two adventures with one tea.  An exceptional Mao Feng!

Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from Teavivre

NonpareilHuangShan

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

The historic Huang Shan Mao Feng is well-known as one of the ten famous Chinese tea. This Ming QianHuang Shan Mao Feng was picked on March 23, 2013, is a kind of pre-ming green tea. Pre-ming tea has strict requirement of the picking time and its making standard, thus the bird-tongue appearance could been perfect formed, as well as the brisk flavor. Both of which are favored by tea lovers.

Our Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng Green tea is Te Gong grade. Te Gong refers to two Chinese words: 特(tè) and 贡(gòng). 特 is short for 特级, which means the tea’s grade is nonpareil; while 贡 is short for 贡品, meaning that the tea was used to be paid as tribute to the emperor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had the opportunity to try many different Mao Feng Green Teas, but this Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan from Teavivre is one of the very best that I’ve ever encountered.  It has an outstanding flavor.

These gorgeous green leaves produce a clear, soft green liquid that tastes earthy and sweet at first, and then as I continue to sip, I notice different flavors develop.  The taste and texture is soft and creamy, with the cream notes falling somewhere between milk and butter with slight vanilla-like tones.

By the time I’m at mid-cup, I begin to notice a crisp apple-y taste that is sweet with hints of tang.   The tangy note develops further into something that is more savory than tangy toward the bottom of the cup.  It’s a nice, well-rounded tea.

I really enjoyed this Mao Feng from Teavivre .  Be sure to take this tea through its paces because it can deliver several flavorful infusions!  A true delight to drink.