Meng Ding Snow Bud (Xue Ya)

Tea type
Yellow Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)
Average preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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From Life In Teacup

This is a Yellow Tea made with earliest spring leaves. The oxidation is light. It’s flavor is closed to that of green tea, with more honey sweet aftertaste due to oxidation.

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3 Tasting Notes

4847 tasting notes


This yellow tea is quite unlike other yellow teas that I’ve tried. While most of the yellow teas that I’ve had in the past have been on the delicate side, this one is not what I’d call delicate. It has a more assertive flavor to it, but, it still has a very yellow tea kind of flavor to it.

sigh how I love yellow tea.


Me too! The London Tea Room has a great Yellow tea but you have to call them as it is not on their menu – oh I hope they do still have some in stock I wanted to get more on payday.


Sorry for the probably silly question, but what exactly IS yellow tea?


I started to explain it but realized Im not that sure so here lol


Oh and it is good :)


I may have to try some! So is it sorta between a green and white tea?


Most of the time, I actually find it to be more similar to Oolong than to green, but this yellow is probably like a green, white and Oolong.


I saw some yellow tea at Tin Roof Teas and it looked almost exactly like my Shou Mei white tea, which tastes like an oolong. Shou Mei is supposed to be the fourth picking from the tea bushes. I love it. I wonder how close it is to yellow tea? I have never had yellow. Maybe that should be my next purchase from Tin Roof Tea!

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6770 tasting notes

Oooooooh! Lovely!
Prior to infusing…this sort of smells like Cheerios!
After infusing a gentle warm toasty smell with a bit of sweetness!

Flavor is great!

It’s a juicy gem! There is a little sweet and a little green likeness to it. There are notes of something that resembles honey or agave. There is also hints of sweet-grain to it which is different but welcomed! I like this very much :)

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I put the tasting notes on my blog and there are more photos:

Let me say first that I do love this tea very much. I will describe all the great features of this tea first, and then tell a little about my mixed feelings about this tea.

Mount Meng is one of the most famous tea mountain in China with probably the longest culture history. In ancient time, people believed “brewing Meng Ding (top of Mt. Meng) tea with water from the center of Yangzi River” is the highest level of tea enjoyment. The harvest standard of Snow Bud on top of Mt. Meng is, when there are only 5% of the tea bushes start budding. It takes about 80,000 tea leaf buds to make roughly 500g of the final tea product. A skillful tea harvest worker may well spend half a day to get just enough tea leaf buds to make 100g final tea product.

Dry tea leaves – they should actually be called tea buds!

I’ve just realized that I had been anal about NOT using a scale. Although I use a scale to weigh tea all the time for other people, I never knew the exact amount of tea I used in each cup! So today I thought I would just use a scale, at least once :-D It turned out I used 2.5g leaves. It’s about just right amount for me. So I think up to 3g tea in a mug will be ok. More than 3g will make the mug too crowded with tea leaves.

I used the middle-throw method (中投法)as described in the post about Long Jing.

I am obsessive about the view of tea leaves in water!

The taste: light vegetal, with sweet aftertaste. It feels clean and moist in mouth, and the tea radiates some cool feeling even in hot water.

This is first yellow tea we’ve ever carried. Yellow tea was developed from green tea technique. After the tea is heated (in this case, pan-fried) to have the enzymes killed), the tea is allowed further oxidation with optimal temperature and humidity. Therefore, oxidation in yellow tea is different from oxidation in black tea or oolong. In yellow tea, the oxidation is not catalyzed by the tea’s own enzymes, but triggered by outside environment factors such as temperature and humidity.

Here comes my mixed feelings.

Oxidation of this tea is very light. If we compare this tea and another Meng Ding Snow Bud I had last year, the differences are big, although both teas are great. The other tea has larger buds, and deeper oxidation, and therefore more typical sweet taste of a yellow tea.

Currently in China, Green Tea still dominates. A direct outcome is, many other teas are green-tea-ized. The most popular Tie Guan Yin is made to be very green. And many yellow tea products is made very green.

Recently I discussed with a friend who has dealt with yellow tea for many years. In his opinion, it’s not possible to make Meng Ding Snow Bud into typical yellow tea with deeper oxidation, because the buds are so young and tender. On the other hand, the other Meng Ding Snow Bud I had last year (which I loved very much), in his opinion, is more typical yellow tea, but should be called Meng Ding Yellow Bud (Huang Ya) instead of Snow Bud, because the buds are larger than the standards of Snow Bud. So here is the trade-off, you may choose the precious Snow Bud, but it can’t have the typical oxidation level of a yellow tea. On the other hand, the bonus is, if we forget about the yellow tea, and compare this tea with a green tea, the price of this tea is much more friendly than a first-harvest green tea with comparable youth and tenderness.

I hesitate to call this tea yellow tea, because, as you can see, from leaves to liquor, it’s all green! I hesitate to call it green tea either, because it does intend to be a yellow tea, and it does have some nice sweet aftertaste of yellow tea. I guess it’s not my own dilemma and it’s shared by many tea people.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Very interesting and informative note!! :)

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