Located in southwestern China, Yunnan is the home of this exceptional black tea. The leaf is cultivated at altitudes ranging between 1,800m and 2,100m in an area with a cool climate and natural woodland. The medium-sized leaves are plucked in the early spring when the tea plants are budding with the new year’s growth and finely worked according to a special method. The end result is a gorgeous collection of golden twisted leaves, almost as lovely to look at as to taste.
Known also as Imperial Yunnan in China, this top-grade tea offers a unique character and lingering finish of this tea is intoxicating. The first infusion gives a rich, smooth, flavourful cup with notes of malt and spice with a vague whiff of the embers of a campfire in winter. There is no astringency. In fact, you can brew it for as long as you like, it won’t become bitter, just stronger.
The second infusion is equally as good, if not better. The notes are stronger. Earth, smoke, malt, honey, spice.
This highly sought after tea transports the drinker to the Tea Horse Road: to the nomadic traders of the camel caravans travelling from Yunnan to Europe via Russia who fuelled their travels through the steady drinking of tea. The route was arduous and took more than six months to complete the 6,000km journey. It has been said that during the camel caravan journeys, the teas took on the smoky taste of the campfires.
This is the amazing gift of tea. Each has its own story to share.
(Post-script: This is where the ‘Russian Caravan’ blend derives its unique flavour: all the leading brands of Russian Caravan seem to be predominantly Yunnan tea blended with various other black teas.)
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Smoke, Spices