Tea: 2018 Aged Huoshan Huangya (霍山黄芽) Type: Yellow Tea, Light Yellowing Harvest: Spring 2018 Region: Huoshan County, Luan, China Seller: Liu Family Tasting Notes: Fruity & Floral Aroma; Corn, Pine Nut Flavor.
This tea was one of our luckiest ever finds. As wandered around the Luan Tea Market, it initially looked like we might end up leaving empty handed. Few seemed to know about yellow tea and those that did knew had no idea where we might find aged yellow tea. When we sat down at the Liu's family shop, the first "yellow" tea they served us looked, smelled, and tasted awfully green. Another bust it seemed. Yet when we asked if they had any aged yellow tea, the tea produced from a dusty old bin was immediately recognizable as the real deal. We probably tried a dozen teas after that one while in Luan/Huoshan, many of which were produced in a more traditional way, yet none of them were as pleasant.
It is hard to believe such a tea has been collecting dust in this wholesale shop. In pick, the uniform pairs of buds and small leaves could meet the strictest standards for Hongqing green tea. The aroma is sweet and fruity, it is almost closer to that of a white tea than traditional yellow tea aroma descriptors like "corn" or "taro." The thick, enveloping mouthfeel that offends no corner of the tongue is unlike anything green tea can deliver. This tea will make you as mellow as it tastes. Caffeine stimulation is present but muted, almost without any body feel.
This is not the most authentic yellow tea we have on offer by far. It is not handmade and there is a good chance it has been made with non-local leaves. It also was also almost certainly not yellowed through the traditional wet "three smother three bake" process, but rather underwent a truncated dry yellowing in a heated pile. This simplified process creates a yellow tea that is significantly less fermented and dark. More orthodox producers turned up their nose at this tea, and they are right that it most certainly was not made according to government standards for Huoshan Huangya.
That doesn't stop it from tasting phenomenal and being very unique. The Liu Family only had a few Jin of this aged tea and when it is gone it is gone. Secure your bag while supplies last.