What-Cha are a small British company who source their teas directly from tea farmers and sell them online. I find traceability very important when it comes to tea as it usually means that it will be of a good quality and from reputable tea plantations. What-Cha were kind enough to offer me some samples of their teas to try.
About Yellow Tea
Yellow tea is quite a rare type of tea meaning that it can be quite hard to come across. I had only tried two yellow teas before receiving two yellow tea samples from What-Cha! Yellow tea is manufactured in a very similar way to green tea. The difference is that there is an extra stage in which the tea leaves are exposed to heat (after having been steamed or pan fried as green tea is) and then wrapped up to cool down. This process is repeated a number of times. This extra stage makes the tea richer and sweeter than green tea and gives the brewed tea a yellowy colour.
Yellow Darjeeling Second Flush AV2 2014 (Darjeeling, India)
I have only tried Chinese yellow teas before so I was really intrigued by a yellow Darjeeling! This tea originates from the Jungpana Tea Estate. I’m not sure if I’ve tried any other teas from this estate but I am definitely going to make sure I do as they are obviously doing something a bit different.
Upon smelling the dry leaf I could pick out a Darjeeling smell. I brewed the tea at 90c for 3 minutes as the pack suggests. Instinctively I would have brewed it at lower temperature but I really enjoyed it brewed at 90c. The tea has the slightly floral yet spicy smell of a Darjeeling but is sweeter than its more common black counterpart. I found the tea to be quite rich and full of body which is reflected in it’s lovely yellow colour when brewed.
It is lovely and sweet which is common of yellow teas and it has a buttery richness that reminds me slightly of certain oolongs. Despite this, I found that it does have the slight floral yet spicy nature that I detected in the smell. This came more apparent throughout the three infusions that I enjoyed as the sweetness subsides slightly and an astringency comes through. I really enjoyed this tea and would highly recommend it to those who want to try something new.
Yellow Huoshan Huang Ya (Anhui Province, East China)
This tea originates from Bai Ma Jiang Peak, Da Bie Shan Mountains, Huoshan County, Anhui Province, East China.
The leaves are very green (both dry and after use) but they smell very sweet which gives away the fact that it is a yellow tea. Although the tea smells very sweet it does have a vegetal quality to it. I brewed the tea at 80c for 2 minutes as the pack suggests. Upon brewing the tea it is a very delicate colour and is very similar to a Chinese green tea.
The sweet vegetal smell is reflected in the taste of the tea but I also found that it had a slight nutty and toasty taste. This toasted taste is probably the result of the multiple re-fries of the tea during the processing of it. I really enjoyed this tea as it has the sweetness and richness of a yellow tea but still manages to have a savoury nature to it. I found that letting the tea cool slightly lets the vegetal and nutty flavour come through. This also came though more in the subsequent two infusions as the sweetness subsides. I think it would also work really well as a cold brew.