Finally, one of our first yellow tea offerings from a region with a history of producing this uncommon category, this Mengding “huangda” offers an early green and slight vegetal flavour, which is balanced by brown sugar sweetness and smooth texture. This sweetness lasts long in the mouth, making this a fine choice when you need a little pick me up.
The material from this tea comes from Mengding qunti zhong lao chuan cha (old Sichuan varietal) that is traditionally processed. If you’re new to yellow tea, then you’re in for a treat. Initially, yellow tea is treated like green tea, undergoing withering and fixing, deactivates the enzymes in the leaves, being dried. It then achieves its unique character through a process called “men huang” (闷黄 – literally “seal yellow”).
The process of men huang involves wrapping the leaves in cloth or paper and allowing them to sit, facilitating further non-enzymatic oxidation. This labour intensive steps is was produces this tea’s yellow colour and smooth, sweet character, while at the same time diminishing bitterness and vegetal qualities.
The picking standard for this tea is 1 bud and 2-3 leaves. Personally, we prefer this picking-grade compared to something like an all-tip “huangya”. The presence of bigger, more developed leaves adds a little more depth and body, without being as sensitive as the more delicate higher grades in terms of how it’s brewed.
Brewing-wise, there is some flexibility. This can be a gentle and delicate tea, or slightly more aggressive tea, depending on how you brew it. If you choose to brew it gongfu style, we recommend a slightly higher ratio of 1g of tea : 20ml of water and 90c temperature for the water. Alternatively, you can brew this similarly to a green tea in a glass cup or pitcher by adding some cooler water (85c, about 1/3 full), then 3-4g of tea, stirring, and topping up with additional water and drinking once the leaves start to open up. We highly recommend adjusting these parameters to taste and feeling it out though.
For storage, this tea should also be kept sealed, with minimal exposure to oxygen and no exposure to light or fragrances, preferably at a low temperature of 18c or lower.