A little-known yellow tea in Europe and Italy but much appreciated in China: let’s discover together the history of one of the finest, unique, and exceptional teas.
Yellow tea: Origin And Characteristics
Yellow tea is a historical tea native to China, produced mainly in Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Guizhou. Yellow tea production began in China and can be traced back to the mid-Tang Dynasty, 618–907 AD. Although all the various types of tea are derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, yellow tea is processed differently than other types of tea. It is, in fact, a semi-fermented green tea, which follows a prolonged drying and fermentation process similar to that of green tea but in closed containers.
After being roasted and rolled, the leaves undergo a particular process: they are covered with a damp fabric. They are superimposed on each other, forming small piles left like this for over twenty hours at a humidity between 80% and 90%. Following fermentation, the leaves undergo a brief drying, giving the tea a yellowish color when steeped. This process is reserved for high-quality green teas and involves using 50 thousand young shoots to make one kilogram of yellow tea. Therefore, Traditional production techniques are lost because they have too high costs.
During processing, the chlorophyll and polyphenols in fresh leaves undergo oxidation due to heat and humidity. Fermentation consequently gives yellow tea its typical color and a sweet and fresh taste with a sweet and fresh flavor. Yellow tea has a unique aroma, fresh and slightly toasted simultaneously, which sometimes recalls the taste of melon, chocolate, coffee, or hazelnut. Yellow tea maintains the beneficial and healthy substances of white and green tea, especially the antioxidant substances, eliminating the scent of fresh grass, characteristic of the latter. The two most important types of yellow tea are :
- Yun Shan Yin Zhen e
- Wanxi Huang Da Cha.
Other qualities of yellow tea include Kekecha, Yellow Needle Yunnan, Mengding Huang Ya, Huashan Huang Ya, Beigang Mao Jian, Luyuan Mao Jian, and Wenzhou Huang Tang.
Yellow tea: What Does It Contain?
The chemical composition of yellow tea is strongly influenced not only by the processing of the leaves but also by the variety of the plant, the area and type of cultivation, and the maturation of the leaves at the time of harvesting. Yellow tea generally has a high content of phenols, amino acids, sugars, and vitamins. In particular, in yellow tea, we find:
- Methylxanthines (caffeine, theophylline, theobromine);
- Amino acids (theanine, glycine, glutamic acid);
- Volatile compounds;
Particularly interesting in yellow tea are polyphenols, which include catechins, flavones and glycosides, and anthocyanidins; catechins are the most represented, as they constitute up to 80% of the polyphenols in yellow tea. Among the catechins present in yellow tea, we find epicatechin (EC), gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Properties Of Yellow Tea
Yellow tea has similar properties to other tea varieties, including green tea and black tea. Tea has the following actions:
The main responsible for the properties of yellow tea are the polyphenols, but the benefits of the drink depend on the phytocomplex, that is, the set of all the active compounds present in the tea leaves.
The Benefits Of Yellow Tea
The consumption of yellow tea can contribute to general well-being and health due to its antioxidant properties, which help fight free radicals, protecting against cellular aging and the onset of diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. In addition to the heart, yellow tea can also benefit fat metabolism.
It can help reduce blood sugar and protect the liver, preventing damage caused by a diet rich in lipids or excessive alcohol consumption. Yellow tea also has potential anti-tumor activity due to its antioxidant action and ability to inhibit the growth of diseased cells. The antimicrobial properties of yellow tea are effective against the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and other bacteria so that it may protect the body from infections.
Yellow tea has no particular contraindications, but consumption should be avoided by people with allergies or sensitivity to one or more of its constituents, and quantities should not be exaggerated.
Where To Buy Yellow Tea
Yellow tea can be purchased in herbalist shops and shops specializing in selling teas and infusions, including online. The price of yellow tea is very variable and depends on various factors, but generally, the tea leaves are on sale for around 10-15 euros for each hectare of product.
When To Drink Yellow Tea
Yellow tea can be drunk throughout the day, preferably between meals to avoid interfering with iron absorption and preferably during the morning or early afternoon so that caffeine does not disturb sleep. A teaspoon of dried leaves (about three grams) is infused in a cup of water at 80°C for two or three minutes to prepare yellow tea.
Also Read: Digestive Tea – These Varieties Help