How different can two similar elements be? When you get into the depth of analyzing precisely the nature, characteristics and benefits of yellow tea versus green tea, very interesting things come out in the light of health issues.
There’s no doubt that green tea is considered by many to be helpful in treating a large scale of illnesses, from simple to more complexe (such as different types of cancer). Green tea is made of unfermented leaves of the Camelia sinensis plant, which has high concentrations of phytonutrient polyphenols. The leaves also contain theanine, caffeine theobromine and theophylline. But these are more likely the characteristics of the plant (same source for white, black, green, oolong, yellow tea), while the harvesting & processing activities is another subject of conversation. And although many discussions have been focusing on the assumed health benefits of green tea, no human clinical research has actually and formally established that drinking green tea has a clear and precise positive impact on our health.
But what about yellow tea? Well, it is a more rare and somewhat exclusive type of tea, with an “extra mile” in the production process. Unlike green tea, which is dried regularly at short intervals, the yellow tea is stacked to achieve a better oxidation level after firing. There is a process called “Men Huang” (sealed yellow) that implies slightly withering young tea buds right after picking, then covering them with thick cotton paper to create a high moisture and heat condition to allow a small amount of oxidation to occur. This step makes the tea become more mellow and bright yellow in nuance, without the taste of grass specific to green tea.
In 2013, a scientific report was published by four Chinese scientists about yellow tea and the matter of discussion was precisely what benefits does this type of tea have on health effects. The report demonstrates that, due to the smothering action, a slow oxidation process, which generates an important number of digestive enzymes, yellow tea has beneficial effects on the stomach and spleen. It shows that it has a more strong antioxidant activity and also has protective effects on the digestive system, actually being able to prevent gastric injury. The anti-inflammatory properties of the yellow tea were shown in vivo.
Is Yellow Tea Better Than Green Tea？
Even if we assume that all Camelia sinensis plant teas have strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects on our health, depending on the production process, it’s still not very clear how much and how precise green tea or yellow tea makes us healthier.
But it has been determined in terms of what yellow tea is and can do that it is much more rare (perhaps the rarest of all six types of tea) to be found only in the high mountains of the Hunan, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces, it has a more difficult and time-intensive production process, it is defined by a more mellow and less-grassy taste than green tea and it has strong protective effects on our digestive system, alongside with a set of antioxidative and anti-inflammatory advantages.
Too much to be discussed over one cup of tea.