We have stocked Yunnan Green tea from almost the first day of starting Estate Tea. It’s been a core part of our range over the years due to its depth of flavour and consistency. However, we’ve never spoken in detail about the people and place that produces this tea for us. Hopefully this article will give you a bit more insight into the tea that you've been drinking!
Every year, our Yunnan Green is picked early in the Spring Season - in fact, it is the earliest harvest from this particular garden. The tea picking this year started on 8th March, 2021. It is grown on Wa Kan Shan tea garden, just outside of Simao Prefecture in Yunnan Province, China. Simao Prefecture is the administrative centre of the larger Pu’er City. As you might be able to tell by the name, the area is famous for it’s Pu Erh tea and to this day, much of the city’s income is made from the manufacture and sale of these teas.
The garden itself is situated at 1600m elevation and is made up of the original bushes that were planted when the garden opened in the 1960’s - meaning that they have reached a mature age of just over 60 years old. This mature age means that they can be classified as ‘old bush’ plants and are considered excellent for the production of high quality teas. The bushes are a mixed cultivar of Qun Ti Zhong - a popular cultivar for the region. The gardens are picked and tended to by the Wa people - who have tended this land since the garden was planted.
Unlike many of China’s tea growing provinces, the climate of Yunnan (especially South Yunnan) is most influenced by the Indian Ocean. May to September, the climate is hot and humid from the Indian climate. However from October to April each year, the weather is incredibly sunny and dry. It is in march, during this dry period, that the tea plants germinates. It is thought that this climate makes for ideal growing conditions for Yunnan Green tea.
The tea is picked using a classic picking pattern of 1 bud and 2 top leaves, before being driven to the local factory situated just a few short miles down the road from the garden. The factory itself is situated just on the outskirts of Simao City, where there is more space for production. The tea from the various surrounding gardens in the region is all fed into this factory. We have a
The brewed tea produces a full bodied, but mellow taste. It has a lot of sweetness at the forefront of the taste. As with a lot of teas grown in Yunnan province from the Qun Ti Zhong cultivar, this tea has a hint of smokiness to the flavour - not overpowering but enough to give it depth.