Review: Canton Tea Co. Huo Shan Huang Ya

Canton Tea Co., Green Tea, Yellow Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"More robust and flavourful than a white tea, this offering is still light and delicate. The aftertaste features a sweet, minty feeling that feels cool and tingly on the lips. Amazing!"
Sophie’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9/10, Samantha gave it 7.5/10
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This rare offering was once so highly valued that it was reserved as an imperial tribute tea. Harvested in April 2013, the leaves were processed as a green tea but then lightly oxidized “to create a sweeter, softer, more rounded taste”. Looking at the leaves, their slender shape and bright green hue makes me think of miniature string beans. The aroma is quite pungent mixing notes of honey, muscatel and hay, much like a white tea.

I followed the directions printed on my sample's package, infusing a heaping teaspoonful of leaf in 250ml of water heated to 75 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes. The pale amber cup doesn't have much a scent to it. Taking a sip, the top notes are mostly mineral, in a smooth, buttery way. The middle shifts towards steamed baby greens, followed by an intensely sweet finish, with lots of corn, honey and fennel notes. What is most impressive though is the aftertaste. It features a sweet, minty feeling that feels cool and tingly on the lips. Amazing!

Canton mentions that the leaves can be re-steeped up to 3 times. After a 4 minute-long brew, my second cup is similar to the first, with lots of buttery green bean and fennel notes. However the feel is a little more dry. The flavours in the aftertaste are also a little sharper, a strong anise flavour dominating.

I brew the leaves a third time for 5 and a half minutes. The cup is quite mild with hints of green beans, fennel and honey. Otherwise the profile is rather mineral and thus a bit bland. I don't think I would bother with this last steep again. It's good to know no unpleasant element appears, even when the leaves are pushed to their limit – the tea remains completely smooth.

More robust and flavourful than a white tea, this offering is still light and delicate. It brings together the sweeter tones of the vegetable world: corn, fennel, string bean, and pea notes. The results are addictive, clean and refreshing. I recommend sipping this tea contemplatively to fully notice the effects of the spectacular aftertaste. It's rather pricey but a variety of formats are available for sampling. The aftertaste alone is worth the splurge!

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Huo Shan Huang Ya, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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