China Yunnan black tea: see Grand Yunnan and Golden Needle.
The Yunnan tea bushes of south-west China are native to the province and explains why tea has been produced here for around 1700 years. Some of China’s most highly regarded black teas are produced here. The tea bushes produce thick soft buds and the leaf produces an aromatic, sweetish tea that may be taken with milk. Yunnan Province extends from the mountainous north-west of the Province alongside the Burmese border to the south where it shares borders with Laos and Vietnam. The province therefore has a lot of contrasting scenery. China Yunnan tea grows in a subtropical climate: hot summers and mild winters with a season of heavy rain. The soil is red and is rich in organic materials. The old native plants, similar to the Camellia sinensis var. assamica are old-growth trees which grow naturally in the jungle and forest ecosystems. The leaves picked are large and have a golden-russet colour. This is retained after brewing. Yunnan black tea is called “dian hong cha” in Chinese which actually means red tea but in the West we know it as black tea! Yunnan black tea is also known to locals as “dayeh” as it has a creamy, malty character in the cup. The leaf typically has a long tip. This makes it the ideal basis for white tea – see our Yunnan White Dragon. We also stock a popular Yunnan Green which has a lovely rich, herbaceous character. Yunnan teas have a brisk liquor with good body enabling them to be drunk with milk as a breakfast or afternoon tea.
TEA INSIGHT: Yunnan black teas. From: Yunnan Province, south-western China. Types: Other tea varieties can be green, white or pu-erh. Styles: Fujian; milder and softer. Formosa; smokier. Leaf: Varietal has larger leaf akin to Assam. Character: Herbaceous, aromatic, foresty, earthy. Noted for: Complex, creamy maltiness. Health benefits: noted for high catechin content. Look out for: Golden Needles, Grand Yunnan, Pu-erh, Yunnan Green, Yunnan White Dragon.