First off, I think I need to apologise for some misinformation. A while ago in an early post on my tea blog, I declared that there were five categories. Well it appears that I was wrong.
I have been made aware of another, a mysterious sixth category that’s as rare as it is pricey. The tea in question sadly does not have an exotic name like that of oolong or pu erh, but that doesn’t stop it being special. It is simply known as yellow tea.
Yellow tea is completely new to me, so apologies if the information I put forward is a little sparse. I first heard about it a matter of days ago through The Northern Teaist, a tea aficionado and great source of information whose blog you definitely should read, and instantly thought that I would have to find some yellow tea to try for myself. Then, would you believe it, my sister Rosie actually bought me some from a great little tea shop in London for Easter!
So what is yellow tea? Well it starts out being processed in the same way as green tea, but after being slightly oxidised it is then steamed under damp cloth, which gives it its colour, and name. The extra process also softens the ‘green teaness’ of the tea (you know what I mean, that grassy flavour which can sometimes be a little too much) and creates a much more mellow taste.
This particular tea was kindly bought for me from Orange Pekoe, a tea shop in Barnes, London which offers a fantastic range of loose leaf teas and a beautiful place to sit and enjoy it too. I think a trip to the capital will be on the cards soon and a visit to Orange Pekoe will be something I’ll very much look forward to! The tea hails from Sunon, a region in the Anhui province of China, which is one of only 3 provinces where this type of tea is produced. When I opened the packet I was met by a soft and sweet scent that emanated from surprisingly dark leaves.
I fired up the kettle and scooped a teaspoon of the tea into my pot. Like green tea, yellow tea does not take kindly to boiling water so I left the kettle to cool down for a few minutes after boiling. I then steeped the tea for 3 minutes and poured myself a cup. The brewed tea was a beautifully clear, golden colour and hinted that I was in for something special. So I tried some, and I wasn’t disappointed. The tea’s sweetness was clear but it was more of a fruity taste rather than a floral one. Someone with a much more refined palate than mine could probably pinpoint the exact kind of fruit, but I’m afraid fruity is about as well as I can do. Combined with this sweetness was a wholly unexpected smoky taste. It was soft but definitely present and to me was more of a tobacco flavour than a woody or pine smoke that I’ve noticed in other teas. These teas have all been bold black teas though, nothing like the pale and delicate liquid that sat in my cup this time.
I must admit I’m somewhat hooked on this tea. I’ve only had it for two days but I must have made four or five pots of the stuff since then. The taste is so unusual and enjoyable that I just can’t seem to get enough of it.
Hopefully soon I will know more about this rare variety of tea, and find more places to get it too but for now all I can say is that if you get the chance you definitely have to try it.
To find out more about Orange Pekoe you can visit their website by clicking here. At the moment I don’t think they deliver their fine teas, but you can try asking them very nicely or even better, pop down to the tea shop and see what they have to offer.
Have you ever tried yellow tea? What did you think of it? Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.