Yellow tea is very similar to green tea - in fact, when I purchased this tin of Junshan YinZhen from the Harney & Sons website, I found it located in under the “Chinese Green Tea” category. Yellow tea is also very similar to white tea. And yet, even though it is similar to both green and white tea, it is very different.
The beautifully elegant, elongated tea buds are green with yellowed tips; their fragrance is very lovely, with intriguing woodsy-floral notes. Brewing the buds brings out more of the floral scent to your cup, making this gorgeous yellow liquid very enticing, indeed!
Harney & Sons describes their Junshan YinZhen as:
This is one of China’s most famous teas. Only tiny amounts are made on Junshan Island in northern Hunan Province. It is just the buds, they have been yellowed (a secret process), so that liquor is more mellow than white teas. Yet they are still slightly sweet and a delight to drink. Please brew them in a tall glass by pouring the hot water first, then add the tea and admire how the buds slowly sink to the bottom.
The brewed tea is very mellow, just as described, so I added an extra minute onto the recommended brew time of 3 minutes. This created a slightly darker yellow hue, with a sublime, lightly sweet yet earthy quality to it. The aftertaste is soft and earthy, with a whisper of floral undertones.
I enjoy this tea straight, with no sweetener. However, a small amount of sweetener will bring out some of the more subtle qualities of this tea, but be careful not to overdo it with the sweetener, as you may find that it overpowers the essence of this tea. By the same token, I don’t recommend the addition of lemon to this tea, as it will dominate and mask the mellow notes. This is a minimalistic tea!
For those who feel a little intimidated by the price of this tea (regularly priced at $15.00 for 2 ounces, on sale at the time of this article’s submission at $12.00 for 2 ounces), take comfort in the fact that the buds can be brewed up to 3 times with no significant loss in flavor, making this a good investment in a very high quality tea. Your taste buds will thank you!