- 2018 new harvest tea expected in April / May - 2018

Mengding Mountain Huang Ya (Snow Buds)


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Yellow Tea


Mengding Mountain Huang Ya (Snow Buds)


Appearance: sword-shaped bud pluck (‘sparrow-tongue’ style)
Manufacturing Style: pan-fired and ‘smothered’ during men huang (the ‘sealing yellow’ step)
Flavor: brisk , mineral-stone flavor, early-spring freshness
Aroma: fresh, high-elevation clean, sharp, unique aroma
Liquor: delicate pale jade colored tea liquor


Mengding Mountain
Sichuan Province, China

2018 Pre-Qing Ming
1st Harvesting Season
(end of February-mid-March)


Pre-Qing Ming Chinese Tea

Mengding Mountain green and yellow teas are among the earliest teas plucked in the spring during the new harvest season. Depending on the location and altitude in each tea-producing region, leaf plucking can begin as early as the middle week of February and continue until April 5th. Teas plucked during this time are designated Pre-Qing Ming teas.

Tea Trekker’s Huang Ya is normally harvested from the end of February until mid-March, in the early part of Sichuan’s spring plucking season.

Pre-Qing Ming teas command the highest prices because the demand for these teas outpaces the supply each year. This is especially true for the Famous Teas such as Mengding Mountain Gan Lu and Longjing, and the fever for purchasing these teas is high in China as it is in the West.

Use 2 teaspoons (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 2-3 infusions at 2 minutes each
Water temperature should be 160°F-170°F (cool)

In the tea factory, during the processing for yellow tea the fresh buds are removed from the heat at a point when they are moist and warm. The buds are covered with a cloth in a smothering step ( men huan or ‘sealing yellow’). This step allows the leaf to re-absorb its own aromatics and to ‘breathe’ which develops flavor and aroma.

This step allows the buds to reach a greater level of sweetness and fragrance than green tea has. When the tea is finished, the color of the buds have a yellowish color cast rather than the rich green-green color of most green teas.

This is a very elegant tea. The overall taste sensation of this tea is mineral-stone, crisp & clean with an underlying layer of sweetness. Mengding Mountain Huang Ya has a cool and bracing quality that affirms its high plateau origins – its magnificent terroir – and expresses the chilly early spring weather during which time the tea bushes on Mengding Mountain first flush with tender new buds.

Our batch of 2017 new harvest Mengding Mountain Huang Ya was gathered on March 30th 2017, a few days later than some other years but well within the ‘normal’ time for this early tea. The weather in Sichuan has not been quite as finicky as it has been in many other places this spring. This year’s Mengding Mountain Huang Ya has a flavor that is a bit more concentrated, is exceptionally fragrant, stunningly delicious and full of life. The shape of this tea is precise and lean because there was not a lot of excess moisture to plump up the cell structure. This is one of the most beautiful of Chinese teas. Because this tea is so special, we sell out of it every year. We recommend not waiting too long to place your order.

We have been able to hold the price at the same as last year – this is very exciting given the world-wide demand for premium tea and the competition that we find ourselves among for special teas such as this.

Mengding Mountain Huang Ya is a glorious springtime phenomenon. This tea is made of ‘first-of-the-season’ compact, tender buds brimming with the vigor of tea bushes that are beginning their annual growth cycle. Yellow teas are increasingly uncommon in China because few tea makers specialize in making them today. The extra work involved in making yellow tea makes it more labor-intensive than that for manufacturing green tea and the market for these teas is judged to be dwindling. We are thrilled to have this tea so that our tea enthusiast customers can experience it before the day arrives when it may no longer be made.

Mengding Mountain Huang Ya production is small and the season begins early in the unusual micro-climate of Sichuan province. Tea pluckers gather delicate, sword-shaped buds and carefully place them into small silk bags (rather than traditional woven bamboo tea plucking baskets) to avoid any damage to the buds. Two workers picking in this manner for one full day will gather only one kilo of fresh buds. This quantity of fresh ‘leaf’ (actually buds!) may reduce to as little as 500grams of finished tea.

Mengding Mountain is located on the Tibetan Plateau in NW Sichuan Province. It is considered by tea historians to be the birthplace of cultivated tea in China. Mengding Mountain is situated northwest of Mt Emei, one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

When we visited a Mengding Mountain Huang Ya tea garden and tea factory one spring there was fresh snow on the tea garden from an overnight storm the night we arrived. What an experience to walk past the garden’s scolding ‘guard’ monkeys onto a famous tea mountain in the fog, the tea bushes covered in ice and snow!

click here to read Mary Lou’s post from our first trip to Western China