Mo Gan Huang Ya
Mo Gan Huang Ya
A “low and slow” oxidation under cover of cloth allows the leaves to breathe in what they breathe out, lending a light sweetness and a soothing richness while reducing grassiness. One of the rarest and most superb types of Chinese tea.
Yellow tea is one of the rarest and most endangered types of tea in the world, mainly because its processing style is so labor intensive. While green tea leaves are simply picked and shaped over heat to stop oxidation and achieve a desired texture, color, and aroma, yellow tea is subjected to a “low and slow” oxidation process that consists of three main steps: first, hand-frying in an extremely hot wok for a short enough time to quickly slow down but not stop enzymatic oxidation; second, gently kneading the still hot and pliable leaves to shape them; and third (and longest and most unusual and unique to yellow tea), fully wrapping the leaves in light cloth, shaping the wrapped leaves into a ball, placing it over a low fire, and removing, shaking, and returning it to the fire every 30 minutes for the next 24 hours. As the still semi-moist tea leaves are heated up under cover, they release chemically converted, aromatic compounds. But instead of escaping into the surrounding air (as is the case with green tea), these compounds are reabsorbed into leaves. The tea leaves, in other words, breathe: they reabsorb what they release, and each time new flavors and aromas are formed. The very best yellow tea makers are masters of guiding and controlling this challenging, chance-filled process. The finished product is somehow both rich and complex on the one hand, and mellow and grounding on the other. It has a nice lingering sweetness too, like the best green teas but with strong hints of mature, large, yellow grasses like corn, bamboo, and wheat rather than small, green, vegetal grasses like clover. With the help of Seven Cups Tea in Tucson, AZ, this high grade Huang Ya (yellow buds) has been sourced from the Wang family on Mo Gan Mountain in Zheijiang Province, where it is crafted by three generations of female tea masters (a significant rarity in Chinese tea culture).
Method 1 (Grandpa style): 4g or 1 tbsp. tea, 10 oz. tall glass, 185° water, enjoy directly from cup in which tea is steeping, add more hot water as you wish (and definitely once you are down to about a quarter of the liquid).
Method 2 (Gong fu style): 4g or 1 tbsp. tea, 6-8 oz. teapot or gaiwan, 185° water, 1 min 15 seconds. Steep 4-5 times, adding 10-20 seconds each time.
See our Temperature Guide for help.