Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tea Review: Imperial Yellow Tea (Imperial Tea Court)

Advent Tea Calendar Day 7
Imperial Yellow Tea
Imperial Tea Court
Type: Yellow
Origin: Not Provided
Product Description:  For years, Roy has been looking for a suitable candidate to fill our Imperial designation in the Yellow tea category. The 2012 edition Imperial Yellow Tea satisfies all his stringent requirements to earn the Imperial designation. Beautifully and meticulously sorted leaves are contrasted with white tips and darker twisted needles. The tea offers unique fragrances and full bodied mouth-feel with complex layers of flavors. It is forgiving enough that you can brew almost any way you like to always have a good experience.

Produced by the traditional method of the "sealing yellow" procedure, the tea is withered, pan fired and rolled as in standard pan-fired green tea processes. However, before thoroughly dried, the leaves are wrapped in rough paper packets overnight and then re-fired until completely dry. This process allows the tea to be "fermented" gently by the moisture and remaining heat in the paper packets, turning the leaves into a darker shade and producing its signature deep yellow liquor. The process also helps remove some of the grassy astringency commonly found in many green teas.

Yellow tea is a relatively rare category and they are becoming even more difficult to find. Although yellow teas are still being offered, farmers now produce yellow varietals by skipping the "sealing yellow", avoiding the time consuming and complicated production method. One sip of this authentic yellow tea will tell you why the tried and true traditions are best not altered.

Temperature: 175° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 3 minutes

The dry leaves have an aroma of pepper, oats, and nori.

The infusion is pale yellow with a delicate aroma of honey and grass.  The taste is light and sweet with no astringency and notes of honey and oats.

This is a delicately delicious yellow tea and is enjoyable through multiple steepings with varied flavor and aroma results throughout.  I have also enjoyed this tea at 185° F with results similar to sencha's green flavor and astringency.  I do recommend slightly increasing the steeping time after the first cup, if brewing at the lower temperature.  

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