On this rainy, misty morning, I am sipping the rarest variety of all teas, a yellow tea. Called Jun Shan Yin Zhen, its name translates to “Silver Needles of Jun Shan Mountain”. Jun Shan is actually an island located in Dong Ting lake in China’s Hunan province. The climate and soil on this small island, along with the special processing of the tea, create a unique aroma and flavor.
For steeping the yellow tea leaves, I chose my gaiwan, a lidded teabowl popular for enjoying the delicate aroma and taste of white, green and yellow teas. After steeping, the leaves are left in the bowl and the lid is used for sweeping them out of the way for ease of sipping.
I like the wide opening of this little bowl so I can watch the leaves as they infuse. I used 165 degree F water and steeped for 3 minutes. The aroma is delicate and soft with wisps of fruitiness. The taste is sweet and smooth with a hint of fruit.
The flavor is closer to a white tea than a green tea because there isn’t any vegetal quality to it.
The leaves are plucked in the early spring. To stop oxidation, they are quickly fried in small batches and then wrapped in a very thin old yellow paper while still moist. They dry naturally for several hours and then this process is repeated several times. This way of processing the tea leaves was first developed during the Tang dynasty, over 1300 years ago. Because this tea is created by such a tedious hand process, only small lots are made. I am honored to experience such a rare treat, created so artistically. The liquor lives up to its name with its delicate golden color.
This morning I was tagged by Autumn to list 8 random things about myself. Since I’ve done this a couple of times already, I direct you to these posts if you’d like to read random things about me, here and here.
Next Saturday I will be displaying and selling my jewelry at the 14th annual Arts and Crafts show at the Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA, from 10am-4pm. If you happen to be in the area, I’d love for you to stop by and say hello. As I’ll be leaving for the show that day before the sun comes up, my tea review will be postponed to the following day, next Sunday.