Yellow Tea: Chinese Huangcha Vs. Korean Hwangcha

Yellow tea refers to a type of tea that is produced in China and Korea. In China, the tea is known as huángchá (黄茶), while in Korea, it is called hwangcha (황차). Yellow tea is an expensive and rare type of tea, and the process of making it is similar to that of green tea, but with an added step.

Chinese Yellow Tea – Huangcha

Yellow tea is a type of tea that is similar to green tea in terms of light oxidation, but with an added step of encasing or sweltering the tea leaves, giving them a slightly yellow coloring during the drying process. The primary aim of making yellow tea is to remove the grassy smell that is characteristic of green tea. Yellow tea is becoming increasingly rare and expensive.

There are several varieties of Chinese yellow tea. These teas come from different regions of China and have unique flavors and aromas:

  1. Junshan Yinzhen (君山銀針): from Hunan Province, China is a Silver Needle yellow tea. A Chinese Famous Tea.
  2. Huoshan Huangya (霍山黃芽): from Mt. Huo, Anhui Province, China.
  3. Meng Ding Huangya (蒙頂黃芽): from Mt. Meng, Ya’an, Sichuan Province, China.
  4. Mogan Huangya (莫干黃芽): from Mount Mogan, Zhejiang Province, China.
  5. Beigang Maojian (北港毛尖): from Yueyang, Hunan Province, China. Also known by the Tang Dynasty-era name Yōnghúchá (邕湖茶).
  6. Weishan Maojian (溈山毛尖): from Mt. Wei, Weishan Township, Ningxiang, Hunan Province, China.
  7. Haimagong Cha (海馬宮茶): from Dafang County, Guizhou Province, China.
  8. Da Ye Qing (大葉青): from Guangdong Province, China. Literally Big Leaf Green.
  9. Pingyang Huangtang (平陽黃湯): from Zhejiang Province, China. Could be called one of the Wenzhou Huangtang (溫州黃湯); the latter term is literally translated as Yellow Broth or Yellow Soup.
  10. Yuan’an Luyuan (遠安鹿苑): from Yuan’an County, Hubei Province, China.

Korean Yellow Tea – Hwangcha

In Korea, domestic tea is categorized mainly as either green tea or fermented tea, with the latter practically meaning oxidized tea. Hwangcha refers to lightly oxidized balhyocha, without implications of processing methods or a result that would qualify the tea as “yellow tea” in the Chinese definition. Unlike Chinese huángchá, Korean hwangcha is made similarly to oolong tea or lightly oxidized black tea, depending on who makes it. The key feature of Korean hwangcha is a noticeable but relatively low level of oxidation, which leaves the resulting tea liquor yellow in color.


Yellow tea is a rare and expensive type of tea that is produced in China and Korea. In China, yellow tea is made by encasing or sweltering tea leaves to remove the grassy smell that is characteristic of green tea. Chinese huángchá and Korean hwangcha differ in terms of their production process and oxidation levels, but both result in a yellow-colored tea liquor. There are several varieties of yellow tea, each with its unique flavor and aroma.

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