The spring season brings with it not only nicer weather and lively scenery, but new harvests of teas! We are all quite antsy to see (and taste) the new spring harvests, especially the green tea. The good news is that Victoria has already departed for China so that she can source for you the latest and greatest Chinese teas, and while she’s away, there’s still time to enjoy some of last year’s highlights. If you missed any, now’s the perfect chance to catch up!
But isn’t last year’s green tea “old”?
The short answer is “no.” We addressed what causes teas to lose flavor and how long they can be stored in previous posts, and they can help provide some insight into why there’s still plenty of reason to enjoy them now.
Because every year varies in temperature and climate, two of the variables that affect the final taste of your tea, one reason to taste some of last year’s teas is that they will be a little different from this year’s offerings. They’re also perfect for tiding you over until the new teas are available. Because we do our best to store them in optimal conditions to prolong their freshness, there’s no need to worry about them losing flavor. They’re still very, very good.
For those of you unfamiliar with yellow teas in general, we invite you to read our posts on how the different kinds of teas are made and on what makes yellow tea unique. They’re very difficult to produce, taking considerably more time to process than green tea, and this contributes to their rarity in the tea markets. We love them because they’re easy to infuse but intoxicatingly complex in their flavors, and every purchase helps support a long-standing tradition of tea-making in danger of disappearing. They’re somewhat similar to green teas, but because they are oxidized a little more, their flavors tend to be softer and sweeter than green teas.
So what is it that makes Anhui Yellow Buds special?
Our Huo Shan Huang Ya is sourced from Dahuaping Village in Anhui Province, China. It grows wildly at 800 meters among a bamboo forest located on a hillside in the Da Bai Shan mountain region. The buds are covered in fine, silvery hair, a sign that they were picked in the very early spring, the ideal harvest time that promises the best and truest flavor. Teas picked in later spring tend to lack the fuzziness one can find on the leaves.
This tea was a tribute tea during the Ming Dynasty, and today it is one of China’s famous teas. What makes it really nice is that yellow teas tend to be resilient to over-infusion, making them perfect for beginners. And yet, the complex flavor of this particular tea makes it exciting enough for even the most experience palates as well.
After some experimenting, we brewed this tea at 180°F (82°C) for 60 seconds, and we found an amazingly complex flavor profile of butterscotch, lemon rind, and spring clover honey. Subsequent infusions tended to accentuate more of a vegetal, clover-like note but they still retained an excitingly sweet finish. Once infused, the liquor reveals a vibrant color of new willow yellow that has a refreshing, smooth mouthfeel.
This tea will not disappoint, and it promises to make a perfect addition to your current tea collection!