In my previous post I shared with you some background information on Huo Shan Huang Ya.
The Dry Leaves
Looking at the leaves they were deep green, long, shapely and covered with abundant white tips. Their slender shape and bright green hue made me think of miniature string beans. The aroma was quite pungent, a mixing of honey, muscatel, flowers and hay notes.
I brewed the tea at 160 F for 2 minutes, using a gawain. The liquor was a muted, pale straw color and was glowingly translucent. The floral, nutty and green-bean like aroma was intoxicating! It was light, refreshing, with elements of a green tea (nutty, buttery) and a white tea (lightly floral, gently sweet) but with none of the bitterness greens can sometimes have. It was delicate and delicious, so sweet and clean tasting like sweet corn (it tasted like fresh corn silk smells, if that makes sense), but with a very subtle creamy nutty element too. The finish was quite sweet, clean and refreshing. The floral taste lingered on my tongue with a sweet aftertaste. The second steeping was sweeter and perhaps a bit more “green” than the first. Starting first with a slightly nutty and honey sweetness and then into a delicate hint of distant floral, and finally it moved to green beans and artichokes, with just a hint of asparagus?
Yellow tea can always be steeped again, usually 2 to 3 times, depending on the type of tea and on your flavor preference, at the same or with a slightly hotter water temperature than used for the initial steeping. Flavor nuances can be discovered by adjusting the length of time it steeps. Try longer or shorter steeping times and see which you prefer. Also, it is important not to burn or bruise the leaves by adding scolding water, for this will lessen your tea experience.
In the end this is a very complex tea – vegetal, sweet, floral, nutty and buttery smooth, with no hint of bitterness or astringency. It has umami vegetal notes that are both sweet and savory at the same time with a mere hint of roasted nutty notes. More robust and flavorful than a white tea, it was light and delicate. It brought together the sweeter tones of the vegetable world. It’s rather pricey but the aftertaste alone is worth the splurge! This rates a BIG 5!
All teas will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for dislike and 5 as love:
- Dislike (I didn’t like the tea and would not repurchase)
- Passable (I didn’t dislike the tea, but I didn’t think it was very good)
- Average (I didn’t find it good or bad and would drink it again)
- Good (I liked it but it and may repurchase)
- Love (I enjoyed it lot and would repurchase)
Next… I is for Isabella Beeton