Teas From Yunnan
This week we are enjoying some green teas from Yunnan Province in China. Yunnan is located in southwestern China, and borders Laos, Burma, and Vietnam. This is the region where the tea plant is thought to originate. The tea in this area is the large-leaf varietal, similar to the tea that is found in Assam, India.
We tasted some fresh green tea (Temple Garden) and some green pu-erhs. The Bamboo Green and Green Beencha are two examples of pu-erh, a tea that the region is famous for. The Temple Garden is a full-bodied green tea with plenty of flavor. Notes of earthiness, chestnut, and sweet corn are strong in this example of a green tea. Because the leaf is so delicate, the tea should be brewed in water that is well below boiling to prevent cooking the leaves and destroying the subtle notes of the tea.
The Green Bingcha and the Bamboo Green are known for their strong, earthy, full-bodied flavor. This is because they are post-fermented during their processing. It is often formed into bricks and is one of the few teas that ages well. To prepare the pu-erhs, break off about a tablespoon in volume for a 6 oz serving. Use water that is just off a boil and rinse the leaves once, then steep for 2-3 minutes. (Remember to rely on taste, not color.) When brewed to your taste remove the leaves and enjoy. Re-steep to make another cup!
Although the teas that we tasted are quite different and are made in different ways, they have the similarities due to the region -- the soil, the weather, and the varietal of tea plant.
Travel Diary, 2003