In China, the Yunnan Tea Province is one of the most famous tea-production spots out of all the 23 provinces. Located in the south of China, many say this is where tea was born. Legend has it that around 2700 BC, Shennong, the Chinese emperor, discovered tea by way of a happy accident.
According to this legend, Shennong had a pot of boiling water and a tea leaf blew into it. This turned the water brown, and when he drank it, he was greeted with a pleasant surprise. Fable or truth, the fact of the matter is that Yunnan has become the center of China’s tea production. It is here that Yunnan tea, Pu-erh, and numerous green teas are produced, some from the oldest tea trees in the world today.
About Yunnan Tea
Called “Dian” for short, Yunnan resides in a low latitude plateau. This special geographical location features a complex terrain and unique climate. The winters are warm while the summers are cool, creating a spring-like feeling throughout the year.
This ‘Land of Tea’ began to thrive from the descendants of the earliest known tea farmers. Known as Puren, these ancestors were the earliest in Yunnan who began planting and drinking the teas. Today, the locals still love growing and drinking tea. They take great pride in presenting it to guests as well as for gifts.
Best Teas from Yunnan
Thanks to the rich, red soils full of organic compounds and the special environment, Yunnan is most hospitable for growing tea plants. Pu-erh, the fermented tea, is one of its most popular teas.
Pu-erh is named after a ton in the Xishuangbanna region where six of Yunnan’s 12 famed tea mountains reside. These areas are covered with dense forests, and although tea is not grown in the town of Pu-erh, it was given this name because it was an important starting point along the Tea Horse Road.
Ages ago, during the Tang Dynasty, the Tea Horse Road was used as a trade road for – you guessed it – tea and horses that they sent between China and Tibet. It was a wonderful trade-off for China and Tibet. Pu-erh tea has a unique quality from fermentation that is unlike any other tea. It comes in compressed forms and can be very expensive, though one taste and it is easy to see why it’s so coveted.
The black teas from Yunnan, or Yunnan black teas, are quite different from Pu-erh. They have an earthiness to them with a touch of sweetness akin to maple that makes them delicious in their own right. Yunnan comes from the area that sits on the border of Laos and Burma.
Why Buy Tea from Yunnan?
With Yunnan, you are getting a true taste of China from its ancient past to modern day. The same techniques are used to craft these exceptional teas. Like fine wines, these teas reflect the terroir from Yunnan and are simply unlike any other tea in China, or the world.