I do not talk about this often, but I have a huge soft spot for Chinese yellow tea. Though I do not have a ton of experience with this style, the few yellow teas I have tried have all really pleased me. This one was no exception.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 175 F water. Tealyra recommends a water temperature of 190 F for this tea, but that seemed rather high to me. On the rare occasions I drink yellow tea, I normally brew around 170-175 F, so I decided to do the same here. The first infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 4 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted lovely aromas of grass, hay, green beans, peas, and chestnut. After the rinse, the tea’s bouquet grew slightly smoky and more floral. I caught hints of squash blossom and sweet corn, as well as some sort of fruit. The first infusion produced a more mellow, integrated bouquet in which I began to catch impressions of bamboo, marigold, and chrysanthemum. In the mouth, I savored a pleasant combination of smoke, chestnut, bamboo, grass, hay, butter, cream, sweet corn husk, squash blossom, green beans, and peas. Subsequent infusions grew fruitier and more floral. The chrysanthemum and marigold fully emerged in the mouth, balanced by interesting touches of honeydew and cantaloupe. The sweet corn husk, smoke, hay, bamboo, and chestnut notes became more prominent, allowing the grassier and more vegetal touches to take a backseat. A touch of minerals also began to peek through on the finish. Later infusions saw the floral, smoky, and nutty characteristics fade, as green beans, grass, cream, butter, and peas once again asserted themselves. The mineral presence greatly increased, imparting something of an alkaline mouthfeel to the tea liquor. I also detected a note of leaf lettuce.
This was very nice. I could have cut this session at least 1-2 steeps short, but I wanted to really savor that alkaline mouthfeel that always strikes me as being unique to Anhui green and yellow teas. Though I doubt that this tea comes from the slopes of Mt. Huo proper, I can confirm that it is sourced from the Huoshan area. Regardless of where precisely it originates, this struck me as being a quality Huang Ya. I found it to be highly enjoyable and would have no issues with recommending it to those looking to get into yellow tea.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cantaloupe, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mineral, Peas, Smoke, Squash Blossom