Ming Qian Huo Shan Huang Ya (明前霍山黃芽) is an early spring yellow tea from Shangtu Town in Huoshan County, located in Anhui Province of China. A balanced and mellow tea, it has smooth vegetal notes with a sweet mouthfeel. Grown from the Jin Ji cultivar at an altitude of around 1,000 meters to organic standards. This particular batch is an early spring pre-Qing Ming harvest that was hand plucked and processed on 4 April 2023.
Alongside the famous Meng Ding Huang Ya, Huo Shan Huang Ya is one of the famous Chinese yellow teas; and this early spring version is particularly fine. While Meng Ding Huang Ya is a more traditional type that undergoes a more complex and laborious processing, Huo Shan Huang Ya is a more modern ‘greener’ version. The yellow tea production method is quite distinct from other teas. While some may find this tea similar to other gently processed greens, all yellow teas undergo a special separate procedure called Sealing Yellow (闷黄 – Men Huang). It is a laborious process that requires great skill on the tea master’s part and results in yellow teas having a much milder and smoother taste.
After plucking, just like with green tea, the leaves are briefly withered. Also like green tea, yellow tea is then heated (traditionally panned in a wok but also using modern machinery), but at a lower temperature than green tea. Afterwards, while the tea is still hot, it is usually rolled, piled and wrapped in paper or cloth to initiate the Men Huang process. It is all done in a controlled environment with further piling and with the introduction of heat and moisture by spraying or steam. This results in slight oxidation through a process of light non-enzymic fermentation. In some cases this process can be repeated many times over a number of days until the desired outcome is achieved. Finally the tea is fixed and dried by either heating or panning in a wok or in a modern machine equivalent. This processing profoundly affects the flavour of the tea, reducing grassy and dry notes and instead making the tea more mellow, smoother and sweeter.
Our Ming Qian Huo Shan Huang Ya yellow tea consists of neat pointy straight leaves that have a lovely green aroma typical of early spring teas. When brewed, it produces a light yellow-green liquor with a vegetal aroma. The liquor is particularly smooth, without any astringency and has a pronounced sweet, lightly coating mouthfeel. The mellow vegetal flavour has satisfying lightly toasted nutty notes that interplay nicely with the fresh herbaceous aftertaste. This is a fine example of the ‘greener’ style of Chinese yellow tea
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.