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  • 2024 Snow Dragon Chinese Yellow Tea

    We originally featured Snow Dragon Yellow tea in one of our Monthly Tea Club boxes, and it was such a big hit that we brought it back for the new 2024 harvest. 

    This gorgeous tea comes from Hunan Province, a powerhouse province of world famous green, yellow, and heicha teas.   Yellow teas are known for being sublimely smooth, with the yellowing process reducing any grassiness or astringency.  Snow Dragon is no exception.  It's plump, long buds steep surprisingly thick and rich with absolutely no harshness.  The wet leaves smell of toasted veggies and hot buttered wheat noodles, while the color in the cup is a lovely pure pale yellow.  The aftertaste is deeply sweet and lasting.  Overall a very fine cup of tea. 

    Yellow teas are often thought of as a close cousin to green tea, but they really are a bit more involved in their production than green tea.  Like green tea, the best yellow teas come in a tiny window of time - just when the earliest spring harvest is happening.  The picking window can be as little as a couple of days up to a couple of weeks, but the window is short regardless. 

    The leaves are picked, withered briefly, de-enzymed to reduce oxidation (this takes place with a dry heat application such as a short time in a wok), and then immediately wrapped in cloth or paper to "seal the yellow" or "stew the yellow" (the name of this process is menhuang).  There are a few different ways to do the menhuang step, but essentially it's warm and fragrant leaves wrapped in thick paper or cloth (or even both) for a period of several hours.  The tea is then partially dried over a very low heat and then goes back in for another or even multiple menhuang steps with a low and slow final drying.  

    Since tea is highly absorptive, it easily and readily takes on the aromas of what is near it.  So, when you heat up fresh leaves in a wok and the aromatic volatiles start doing their thing in the air and then you trap those leaves with their own volatiles in the cloth or paper, the tea re-absorbs its own aroma.  So freaking cool!

    Produced March 2024

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