Let's talk about: Yunnan Green Tea!

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Because Pu'er/Puerh tea and Yunnan black tea (Dianhong) are very famous, people rarely mention Yunnan green tea. In addition, there are too many famous green teas in China, and Yunnan green tea is gradually forgotten.

a farmer holding tea leaves
a farmer holding tea leaves

Due to the unique natural geographical environment of Yunnan, it is very suitable for the growth of tea trees. Three main tea types stand out in Yunnan: Yunnan black, Yunnan green, Pu'er.

What is Yunnan green tea?

Yunnan is famous for its black tea and Pu’er, despite sharing its climate and quality, less is known about its green tea. The raw material of Yunnan green tea is different from that of many green teas. The raw material consists of fresh leaves from big leaf species, the main bulk of it is sourced from Lincang, Baoshan, Pu’er, and Dehong in Yunnan.

An interesting fact is the fresh leaf material of Yunnan green tea can also be used to make ripe Pu'er tea. Yunnan green tea has a relatively strong flavour and is capable of multiple infusions. It has a medium-bodied long-lasting aroma and aftertaste, a yellow-green infusion.

Yunnan green is very versatile, and it brewed light for its refreshing attribute, or it is brewed heavy for its medicinal properties

How many types of Yunnan green tea are there?

How to make green tea? Yunnan green tea includes varieties of sun-dried, fried, baked, and steamed green tea, which is found in various areas of southwest Yunnan and southern Yunnan.

1. Sun-dried green tea (Dianqing)

Also known as Dianqing, is made from fresh leaves of big leaf tea after ‘killing green’ (de-enzyming), twisting the leaves, followed by drying in the sun.

Sun-drying is the fundamental difference between sun-dried green tea and other green tea. Slow drying in the sun forms the unique flavour quality of sun-dried green tea. The high-end sun-dried green tea has the characteristics of bright green colour, fragrant internal quality, fresh and pure taste, and clear green leaves. Yunnan has produced sun-dried green tea for a very long time and makes use of older processing methods. It is also the most commonly consumed tea in Yunnan ethnic minority areas. The roasted teas popular in Yunnan are all made with sun-dried green tea as raw materials.

Drying tea in the sun
drying tea in the sun

2. Baked green tea (Dianlv)

A roasted green tea that selects fresh leaves with a one bud and two leaf system. It is processed by killing green, twisting, and baking. Due to the high temperature, timely kneading, and rapid drying, it controls the activity of enzymes and the oxidation of polyphenols prevents the fermentation of bud leaves and maintains the green colour of the fresh leaves.

Compared with other green teas, Dianlv is characterised by a slight freshness and strong flavour.

3. Fried green tea

The fresh leaves of Yunnan big-leaf tea are made by killing green, twisting, and frying, the production quantity is not large.

'killing green', a term used when processing Tea
'killing green', a term used when processing tea

4. Steamed green tea

It is a green tea made from fresh leaves of Yunnan big leaf tea by steam killing green, twisting, and baking drying. The production quantity is very small.