Huo Shan Huang Ya (霍山黃芽) is a yellow tea from Huo Shan County, located in Anhui Province of China. A balanced and mellow tea, it has smooth vegetal notes with no astringency. Grown from Jin Ji cultivar at an altitude of 800 meters, this particular batch was hand plucked in early April 2020.
The name of this yellow tea translates as Mount Huo Yellow Bud and refers to the origin of this tea (Huo Shan 霍山 – Mount Huo) as well as to the fact that tender buds of this tea are processed using the yellow tea production method. Yellow tea production method is distinct from other teas. While some may find this tea similar to other gently processed greens, all yellow teas undergo a special separate procedure after pan frying. The laborious process that requires great skill on tea master’s part results in yellow teas having a much milder and smoother taste.
Huo Shan Huang Ya is a very gently processed yellow tea and does not undergo the heavy roasting process that Huo Shan Huang Da Cha yellow tea is famous for. Instead the tender green buds are picked and gently processed by hand creating long slender green leaves covered in fine silver hairs. The delicate nature of this tea means that the whole of processing has to be completed in just one day. During processing this tea is pan fried, after which it undergoes the extra step that is required for all yellow tea. It is spread out in a warm indoor environment, being turned frequently. This results in slight oxidation through a process of light non-enzymic fermentation.
This Huo Shan Huang Ya yellow tea has a beautifully mellow nature that sets it apart from other non-oxidised teas. The dark green leaves have a slightly waxy appearance with plenty of silver hairs evident on the straight tippy leaves. When brewed this tea produces a liquor that is light in colour and taste. At the same time the flavours are quite full – more so than with similar light green or heavier white teas. The processing of this tea really balances the flavours and mellows this tea out. While it still has some vegetal flavours similar to other green teas, the profile is very smooth and lacking in any grassy astringency of green tea. This tea has umami vegetal notes that are a little sweet and a little savoury at the same time with just a hint of roasted and nutty notes.
This yellow tea is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed 3-4 times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired.