What makes Yunnan tea so special?

Updated: 5 days ago

Yunnan is the origin of tea trees in the world, its superior natural geographical environment is very suitable for the growth of tea trees and is also a gathering place for good tea.

Yunnan tea garden

China is the hometown of tea, and Yunnan is the origin and birthplace of tea trees in the world, where the fertile land produces naturally high-quality tea trees. Wild ancient tea trees with a history of more than 2700 years still grow in Yunnan today, where you can truly feel ancient Chinese tea culture.

What are the ancient tee trees?

Yunnan is the most widely preserved area of ​​ancient tea forests and the largest number of ancient tea trees and wild tea trees in China, and the world.

Tea trees over 100 years old can be categorised as ancient trees. Therefore, tea trees that have grown for more than 100 years are ancient tea trees, and tea made from their leaves is ancient tea tree tea.

Ancient Tea Tree

According to historical records, Yunnan has been transferred from wild tea to home-grown tea for 2100 years. At present, Yunnan is the most widely preserved area of ​​ancient tea forests and the largest number of ancient tea trees and wild tea trees in China, and the world.

Most of them are distributed in the Yunnan Nature Reserve or other natural forests. Those surviving tea trees are strong evidence of Yunnan's long history of tea development. Walking on the red clay plateau in Yunnan, you can find ancient tea trees everywhere and smell the aroma of freshly brewed tea. In the areas where Pu'er tea is produced, like Pu’er, Xishuangbanna, and Lincang, wild-type, transitional, cultivated ancient tea trees and ancient tea gardens are gathered.

Jingmai Tea Mountain in Pu'er

Yunnan’s ancient tea gardens, ancient tea trees, and wild tea tree communities are not only a historical witness or living fossil, instead, it also sets in stone Yunnan as the birthplace of tea trees and large-scale cultivation and production of tea, making it an important contribution of Chinese and world tea culture.

The oldest tea tree in the world

Jinxiu Village in Fengqing County has an ancient tea tree with a history of more than 3200 years.

Jinxiu Village in Fengqing County has an ancient tea tree with a history of more than 3200 years. This is the thickest ancient tea tree found in the world and the oldest cultivated tea tree on earth.

This ancient tea tree grows at an altitude of 2,245 metres, with a root circumference of 5.8 metres, a tree height of 10.6 metres, and a trunk diameter of 1.84 metres.

The 499-gram tea cake made from the leaves of this ancient tea tree was sold at a sky-high price of 400,000 Yuan (around 26.7K GBP) at a starting price of 250,000 Yuan (around 16.4K GBP) at the Pu'er Tea Culture Expo in 2007. The price was more than 800 yuan (around 52.6 GBP) per gram, which was close to four times the gold price. Setting a record for the new tea auction at that time.

Blessed natural environment

Yunnan has a unique natural geographical environment, which is suitable for the growth of tea trees. Yunnan Province is located on a high plateau, but the altitude is low, the climate is warm and humid, and the rainfall is abundant.

Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces

Especially in China's ancient tea areas such as Xishuangbanna, Lincang, and Pu’er, the subtropical climate with abundant heat and rain, no severe cold and heat, no frost, which a lot of moisture-induced fog throughout the year, high relative humidity, and the combined effects of light, heat, water, and soil are unique for tea areas in China. Therefore, the unique geographical conditions have laid a natural advantage for Yunnan tea. After a long period of hard cultivation by the people of all ethnic groups, Yunnan tea has become a well-known tea variety at home and abroad. 

What is the difference between Yunnan tea and other teas?

Yunnan black tea (Dianhong)

1. A mellow smooth, slightly sweet flavour. Yunnan black tea uses large tea leaves which naturally container higher polyphenol content and after conversion, there are more aromatic substances, compared to other small leaf tea.

2. Yields more tea per gram, with the same amount, Yunnan black tea can brew more infusions than other black teas.

3. It tastes less bitter and with little to no astringency.

Pu’er tea

1. Premium Pu’er tea only produced in Yunnan.

2. Compared to the other five major teas (green tea, black tea, white tea, yellow tea, Oolong tea), Ripe Pu'er tea belongs to its own category of ‘dark tea’.

3. The processing is unique. It is the product of microbial fermentation. Unlike other teas, under controlled conditions, Pu'er tea can be stored for a long time and become more fragrant.

4. Pu’er tea has different shapes like brick, pillar, etc. With the innovation of some companies, the shape has developed into more shapes and types.

5. The packaging has the characteristics of Yunnan’s original characteristics. Most of the packaging of Pu'er tea is divided into inner packaging and outer packaging. The inner packing is made of cotton paper, which is better for subsequent storage, and the cotton has better air permeability. The outer packaging is generally used: bamboo leaves, bamboo baskets, bamboo strips, hemp ropes. This packaging is formed because the origin of Pu'er tea comes from ethnic minority areas, where bamboo and bamboo shoots are very rich.

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