What is Yellow Tea?

Chinese are probably the highest consumers of tea in the world; maybe that’s why several types of tea originated from China. One of them is yellow tea which is considered to be the rarest type of tea in the whole world. Yellow tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant, and it has a bright, sweet, and floral taste with a floral and fruity aroma. The yellow tea got its name from its whiskey-like color when brewed. Aside from having an exceptional taste and feel, yellow tea also gives you several health benefits. That’s why we are going to talk more about this exquisite tea and find out its origins, types, and benefits.


Yellow tea’s history can be traced back to the 16th century during the Qing Dynasty. And back then, yellow tea was served to emperors only. However, some research shows that yellow tea has been around since the Tang Dynasty. During that time, yellow was considered to be the color of emperors; that is why they also consumed yellow tea. The tea was also a standard gift an emperor gives to his guests. In fact, yellow tea was given as a gift to the Danes; that’s why it became popular in the West.

Yellow Tea Origins

Just like most of the tea types, yellow tea originated from China specifically from the provinces of Sichuan, Hunan, and Zhejian. There are other regions in China that are suitable for growing yellow tea leaves, but most of the supply of yellow tea leaves come from these mountainous provinces.

In Hunan, yellow tea is mostly produced in the mountainous island of Jun Shan. It is a one-kilometer island that is located in Dongting Lake. Jun Shan produces about five hundred kilograms of yellow tea annually. While in Sichuan, yellow tea leaves are produced on Meng Ding mountain and in Zhejiang, yellow tea plants are grown on the Mo Gan mountain.

There is another yellow tea that comes from Korea, and they call it Korean Yellow tea. But even if it is called the yellow tea, the taste, texture, aroma, and the way it is produced is very different from the Chinese yellow tea. That’s why tea experts believe that the yellow tea that comes from China is the original yellow tea, and others are just merely variations of green tea.

Types of Yellow Tea

As we mentioned, there are three major regions in China that produce yellow tea. These three regions are also the basis for the three types of tea which are Jun Shan Yin Zhen from Hunan, Mo Gan Huang Ya from Zhejiang, and Meng Ding Huang Ya from Sichuan.

The most famous type of yellow tea is Jun Shan Yin Zhen and rumor has it that the famous Mao Zedong stated that this type of yellow tea was his favorite tea. The tale can be accurate because Ju Shan Yin Zhen is grown in the same province where Mao Zedong was raised. Plus, this type of yellow tea is usually consumed by locals only, and it’s rarely available outside the Hunan region because of its limited production.

What Makes it Yellow?

The secret to what gives the yellow tea its distinctive color is in the production process. This type of tea goes through a process that is similar to that of green tea, but it has an extra step which makes the yellow tea unique.

This step is called the sealing yellow level, and the natives refer to this as men huan. In this step, they encase and steam the tea leaves to help slow down the oxidation process and remove the tea’s grassy flavor and give it a mellow taste. Men huan or sealing yellow is the step that makes yellow tea yellow.

Yellow Tea Benefits

  • Yellow tea helps in controlling cholesterol levels – Just like every tea varieties, yellow tea has polyphenols which help protect the body against cardiovascular diseases. Aside from this, it also contains an essential set of compounds called flavanols which help lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Yellow tea aides in maintaining good digestive health – Aside from lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, the polyphenols that are found in yellow tea can also treat several gastrointestinal issues. 
  • Yellow tea can help control and prevent diabetes – Research shows that consuming yellow tea reduces body fat which means it also reduces the chance of diabetes. Consuming yellow tea on a daily basis can give you a lower body fat ratio. 
  • Yellow tea helps to make bones and teeth healthy – Yellow tea also contains fluoride which can help bones and teeth stronger. Yellow tea also helps to reduce the risk of having osteoporosis.