Meng Ding Huang Ya (蒙顶黄芽) is a rare yellow tea from Mengding Mountain located in Mingshan District or Sichuan Province, China. It is made entirely by hand from small, young buds. It undergoes a complex processing that involves many stages and includes a Men Huang process that results in light oxidation. Beautifully mellow, it has a very fine complex flavour that is nutty and vegetal but also has a pronounced creamy and sweet mouthfeel. Plucked from the local native Qunti cultivar plants that are grown at an altitude of 700-800 metres, this particular batch was picked on 5 March 2023.
Yellow tea production method is distinct from other teas. While some may find yellow tea similar to other gently processed greens, these undergo a special separate procedure called Sealing Yellow (闷黄 – Men Huang). A laborious process that requires great skill on the tea master’s part results in yellow teas having a much milder and smoother taste. While other yellow teas such as Huo Shan Huang Ya undergo the same process, generally the Men Huang is done to a much lesser degree, resulting in a tea that is much closer to green tea. If you would like to try a truly distinctive yellow tea, this is the one for you!
This more traditional Meng Ding Huang Ya still undergoes the more complicated processing whereby the ‘sealing yellow’ process is longer and more laborious but resulting in a finer, more complex flavour profile. The processing that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) has the following steps: plucking, 1st frying (kill green), 1st wrapping, 2nd frying, 2nd wrapping, 3rd frying, spreading, 4th frying, baking and finally packing. The wrapping is done while the tea is still hot from the frying using either cloth or paper. Moisture is introduced by spraying water or by steam and this results in light oxidation through light non-enzymic fermentation. This processing profoundly affects the flavour of the tea, reducing grassy and dry notes and instead making the tea more mellow, smoother and sweeter.
This Meng Ding Huang Ya consists solely of fine young flattened buds. It produces a very light and bright liquor with a complex flavour. It is vegetal, with nutty notes of raw almonds, while also having a lightly mineral umami edge. It has a creamy and sweet texture and mouthfeel that adds to the complexity. The aftertaste is a touch drying, with tangy citrus and herby notes.
This yellow tea is best brewed at 80°C for 1-2 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed 3-4 times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired. Best brewed using porcelain gaiwan or glass teaware.