Yellow being this little teapot’s favorite color, I and my humans approached trying this tea from JAS-eTea.com with a great deal of excitement. The vendor recommends steeping the tea in a glass gaiwan so you can do multiple (3 or 4) steepings and watch the leaves expand, but having no such member of the Tea Gang, we called into service our special steeping team: the infuser basket and the cup that it fits into perfectly.
Before beginning the taste test, let’s take a moment to find out what a yellow tea is. Keep in mind that all true teas are made from Camellia Sinensis (also called the tea plant). There are several cultivars of this basic plant. The ones used here per the vendor’s site are Golden Chick and Huoshan Morning. Only the downy single bud and adjacent diminutive leaves are used, making the liquid high in antioxidants and low in caffeine. The yellowish green color of the leaves and liquid come from a processing step called “yellowing” (a light fermentation) where the grassy and sometimes bitter taste of green teas is replaced with a milder and more aromatic taste. For this particular yellow tea, the process is a special one that leaves the tea closest to a green tea in aroma and flavor.
My humans always like to take a big whiff of the dry tea to see how it smells. In the case of this tea, the aroma on first opening the airtight pouch is a bit grassy but also has a light nutty/cocoay quality. The leaf pieces varied in size and shape a bit but were mostly whole leaf-and-bud combos.
The leaves turned a fairly bright shade of yellow-green in that little cup/infuser basket team. And they also plumped out nicely, taking in the mildly hot water and giving out their goodness.
We heated the water to 80° C and steeped each round for 3 minutes. This is often where people go wrong with white, green, and yellow teas: water heated too hot and steeping time either too long or too short. The first steeping has a hint of grassy fragrance in the leaves, but the liquid flavor was very mild, smooth, and with a hint of nutty quality in the light yellow liquid. The second and third steepings did not have the nuttiness but did have a smooth, mild flavor with no grassiness and a slightly darker yellow liquid. Remember that tea flavor can change (for better or worse) as the liquid cools, and this one takes on a subtler and stronger flavor as it sits for a minute or two.
Even after the third steeping, those tea leaves seemed like they could have kept on. We stopped there, though, not wanting to over tax that little cup and infuser team.
There you have it. This little yellow teapot and his tea have taken you on an adventure with yellow tea. Time for you to go shopping?
One final note here:
At first glance the price of this tea might seem a bit high, but when you calculate out the cost per serving (3 to 4 infusions using 6 ounces of water each), the price seems quite a bargain instead. I like to show you humans things like this sometimes so that you can feel more adventurous in your tea choices.
- Price per 50 grams as of 6 August 2012 when this tea adventure was posted: $11.95
- Number of servings per pouch, based on the vendor’s recommended 2-3 grams of tea leaves per serving: 17-25 servings per pouch
- Cost per serving (18-24 ounces): 48 to 70 cents each, far less than that chai latté at the coffee shop and much healthier and tastier.
Let the tea adventure begin! TOOOOOOOT!
Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, any opinions concerning this tea and the company are always strictly objective.
© 2012 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved. No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder.