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    Production of Chinese Yellow Tea
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Lesson #17. Production of Chinese Yellow Tea

Yellow tea production technology (using the example of Huo Mountain Yellow tea):
1 Plucking
2 Short withering
3 Kill-green
4 Shaping
5 First heating
6 Smothering
7 Second heating
8 Smothering
9 Third heating
10 Smothering
11 Drying

In old times, when all tea was produced uniformly, it was simply the tea from Huo Shan mountains.

Yellow tea is harvested and produced in the springtime when the leaf is rich of lifeblood. It uses only one bud or one bud with 1–2 leaves.

Each yellow tea has own requirements to tips. The part of the leaf plucked for production of Huo Mountain Yellow tea is marked red.

There are 4 prohibitions: do not pluck flesh without a bud, leaf damaged by insects, frozen or violet colored bud.

New buds appear in two weeks and harvesting may be repeated. However the closer the summer, the lower is the grade of the tea.

Withering is required to draw out excessive moisture from the leaves. They are rested for 2 hours in the sunlight and up to 5 hours in the shade.

In traditional production Huo Shan Huang Ya undergoes minor selection prior to further processing, which is uncommon for such a procedure.

Tea leaves are placed into machine with a rotating drum.

Metal rods are used as a sieve for tips of the required size.

Bigger fleshes get stuck in the sieve while those that fit slip down through it.

The tea is screened to separate broken leaves. In theory this can be done at the last stage of production.

As the tea will be fried in small portions in this case it’s better to pick out appropriate leaves.

The green is killed using wisps. Famous «Pumpkin seeds» green tea is formed the same way.

Wisp manipulators on the left, fire operator on the right. Note that each table has 4 metal bowls.

Initial frying takes place in the middle of the bowl at the temperature 120°С, and final — on its edges at the temperature 90°С.

The oven is heated by wood. To increase the temperature more wood is simply added to the fire.

The fire is covered to reduce the temperature.

The tea is «wisped» not chaotically but according to the certain pattern.

Upon frying at high temperature tea leaves with a gentle movement of a wisp are thrown over to the bowl with lower temperature.

Dry leaves are separated from broken ones.

The main point of «kill-green» is to stop all processes in the leaf, to preserve it green, sappy and refreshing. This is how green tea is produced.

Meanwhile everything only begins for the yellow tea. Its unique production technology consists in multiple heating and smothering of warm leaf.

After 72 hours of processing the tea acquires yellow color, looses «freshly» notes and attains deep semitones of specific yellow tea flavor.

Tea is spread in special baskets in a thin layer.

It is placed over moldering charcoal to heat the tea leaves slowly.

Warmed up tea is removed from the pan of coals, covered with canvas and left for 24 hour smothering. The procedure is repeated 3 times.

Traditionally yellow tea, as well as green, is brewed in glass to enjoy the dance of tea leaves and noble color of the beverage.

Special aspects of brewing yellow tea

Fermentation in the tea reaches 9%, but initial raw leaves are very tender and high quality. Brews best at the temperature 90°С in glass or porcelain tea-ware. The Chinese like to contemplate slow opening of tea leaves and «dance» of buds, and therefore prefer to brew it in glass. Very common is brewing of yellow tea in glass tumbler.

Yellow tea in most cases may be distinguished by the color of the infusion in the cup. The main color is yellow and green with pink rim on edges.

Storage of yellow tea

Tea is stored on the shelf in firmly sealed nontransparent package or in a tea canister. It should be kept away from the sunlight and foreign smells. Yellow tea is better to be consumed within one year, however its storage life is much longer than of the green tea. Consequently it can be quite enjoyable even after two years.

Illustrated by screenshots from films: 视频: 霍山黄芽视频 and 霍山黄芽.

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