Shen Yunhe, a native in Huzhou's Deqing county and an inheritor of the technique used to make Mogan Huangyan. [Photo/hz66.com]
As its name suggests, Mogan Huangya tea, or Mogan Yellow Buds, is grown on Mount Mogan, a famous summer resort in Huzhou's Deqing county.
The history of tea planting on Mount Mogan dates back to the Song Dynasty (1127-1279). In the 1980s, Mogan Huangya, along with West Lake Longjing, one of the most famous green teas in China, was designated as a provincial famous tea.
Mogan Huangya is a variety of yellow tea. Yellow tea has the same rich aroma and nutrition as green tea, but features a gentler character without the grassiness. Mogan Huangya also differs from green tea in that it is slightly oxidized because of the way it is processed.
This processing step, which is known as menhuang, involves wrapping the moist tea leaves in cloth and gently roasting them over charcoal. When the tea polyphenols oxidize during this slow roast, the leaves turn yellow.
Because of this laborious process, only 15 kilograms of Mogan Huangyan can be produced per day, according to Shen Yunhe, a native in Deqing county and an inheritor of the technique used to make Mogan Huangyan.
In 2004, the 57-year-old took home the gold award at the Zhejiang provincial agricultural expo for his exquisitely crafted Mogan Huangyan.
Today, the tea maker has partnerships with universities including Zhejiang University and Anhui Agricultural University to develop new varieties of yellow tea.
He has also taught his daughter Shen Chanying the tea making techniques in hopes of passing on the traditional skills.