It’s here. This is our latest batch of Organic certified Yunnan Gold, a renowned black tea from South West China, known for its creamy texture and malty, rich taste. Known locally as ‘dianhong’, meaning Yunnan Red, this style of tea has been perfected among the high, misty mountains of the province, where craft, culture and terroir combine to produce a taste that is unlike other black teas.
Taking a closer look at the origin of this tea, we’ll see how a unique history of world events, came together in south west China to give rise to Yunnan Gold and give you all the tips on how to get the best flavour from this tea at home.
Origin: Da Hei Shan, Yunnan, China
Cultivar: Xiang Gui
Name: The Chinese name for this tea is ‘Dian Hong’, literally meaning Yunnan Red. Though Yunnan Gold refers to the golden colour of the finished tea.
Style: Bud and young leaf black tea
Terroir: Ancient tea mountains
Altitude: approx. 1500-2000m
Picking Season: Summer
Leaf: Golden strands woven through black tea leaves
What makes Yunnan Gold so unique?
Although tea has been crafted in Yunnan for centuries, the history of this particular black tea is more modern than you may expect. Sometime during the Qing dynasty (1636 - 1911) black tea was first innovated in the Wuyi Mountains. This led to many famous styles of black tea, such as Lapsang Souchong, being produced in the east of China. However, it wasn’t until the Sino-Japanese war broke out in the late 1930’s that Yunnan Gold came into existence.
At that time the production of black tea was centred around the east and south east of China, but as tea production in the east halted, the government had to look elsewhere to produce its black tea. They decided to experiment with making black teas in the south west of China instead and established a production site in the ancient terroir of Yunnan, that gave birth to Yunnan Gold. So it was only in the early 1940’s that people throughout China began to taste this new black tea for the first time and since then it has become a highly celebrated tea from the region.
How was this tea made?
This tea was crafted by tea maker Yang Jian in his luscious garden on Da Hei Shan (Big black mountain) in Summer 2021. The summers in Yunnan is not exceptionally hot, but there is a lot more sun. This intense sunlight causes the leaves to produce a richer taste that works really well when crafting malty, black teas.
To begin, the pickers will hand-select only the juiciest, silvery buds from the tea bushes that contain tons of flavour and nutrients. These are then lightly withered to allow some moisture to evaporate before being machine rolled. This rolling breaks the surface of the buds, which will help them to oxidise. After the rolling the buds are then left on bamboo mats to slowly oxidise for a few hours. The colour will turn from silvery green to a shimmering gold and as they darken their flavours will concentrate to produce the chocolatey, rose and malty taste that defines this tea.
What is this batch like to drink?
The dark, coppery red infusion has a compelling aroma; like sweet cacao and rose. The initial taste is very thick and creamy and the infusion really coats the mouth with a rich taste of malt, chocolate and hints of sweet spices. It’s a comforting tea to drink and to me it feels indulgent, without ever getting too heavy.
Where and when do I recommend drinking this tea?
This tea is an all-rounder. I’d recommend it whenever you need something uplifting, as it’s bright, fruity taste always puts a smile on my face. It’s also got enough roasted warmth to enjoy on cooler evenings when you need something cosy and comforting. Definitely pair it with fruit cakes and tarts for an extra, sticky-sweet tea experience.
What is it like to make and how easy is it to get a good taste?
One cup single serve, 250ml:
For black teas like this, we ideally want to use freshly boiled water to extract the deeper notes of the tea and bring out its strength. Black teas are more forgiving than green teas when it comes to bitterness, as they are fully oxidised and therefore contain less of the bitter and astringent compounds in the leaves. This results in a well-rounded infusion with a beautifully, rich colour and aroma. This tea can be re-infused and the second infusion should result in a more present sweetness and delicate floral notes, while maintaining its delicious, thick texture.
Try it like this: 4g or 2tsp per 250ml; 95-100˚C water; 3 minutes per infusion (we recommend at least three infusions)
Who is this tea for?
Organic Yunnan Gold is a great one to try if you’re looking for something similar to a breakfast tea but with even more refined flavour notes - it’s still creamy and sweet even without milk or sugar. If you’re completely new to loose leaf black teas and have always wanted to find an accessible way in through simply enjoyable flavours, then this would be a great place to start.
Read More about our commitment to Organic tea and sustainability mission here
Organic Yunnan Gold
This seductive black tea is full spiced and dark chocolate richness. A combination of high mountain terroir, delicate golden buds and generations of local tea craft, give this tea its unique taste and thick texture.