Pure Leaf Spotlight: Golden Yunnan

We talk a lot about blends here, due to my unique process and how fun they are. Today I'd like to focus on my real passion: beautiful single-origin leaf. If you've ever chatted with me about tea, you no doubt know how worked up I get about ethical sourcing and ingredient quality. I'm sure you wouldn't be following my blog if you didn't have at least a passing interest in drinking The Good Stuff, so let's take a minute to look at one leaf from one estate that does one style. Today we'll delve into Dianhong, aka Golden Yunnan.

(Thanks to www.thechineseteashop.com for image!)

Yunnan (in purple at the southwest of the above map) boasts a reputation as the birthplace of tea, and began cultivating tea trees over 2,000 years ago. The low altitude and mineral-rich nature of the soil in this region contribute to its rich, earthy flavor and full-bodied mouthfeel. Yunnan is lauded for their pu-erh production to be sure, but we'll get to that another day. Today is all about the golden tips.

Yunnan Gold (or Dianhong) is a black tea with low astringency, high caffeine, and a gorgeous brassy color liquor. Notes of apricot overlay a robust, almost dusty base. I find this tea to be physically grounding, but spiritually and mentally elevating.

When looking for a good quality Yunnan Gold, the color of the dry leaf is as key as its wholeness. The more intact the leaf and the higher color ratio of gold to black, the higher grade and better quality it is.

Medium vs. High-Grade Dianhong


In the above left picture, you can see this Yunnan is a good grade from the size and wholeness of the leaves. Our gold-to-black ratio is pretty good and will make a lovely cup with low astringency and a delicate sweet edge. Nothing wrong with this one!

If you're feeling extra fancy, there's definitely room to go even yummier. We actually just bumped up the grade of our Golden Yunnan here in the shop to the leaf on the above right. It's obscene. I have to control myself and not drink up all my own stock. (Side note, you can totally come in for a free sample at the tasting bar whenever we're open!) Note the difference in color ratio from the left example to the right. Right? Exquisite.

I typically infuse via french press, and this one performs particularly well when infused by that method. Black teas are pretty versatile, however, so feel free to use T-Sacs or basket infusers as you like.

Steeping Instructions:
  • Water should be right around a boil, as for most black teas.
  • One teaspoon per cup of water is plenty
  • Infuse roughly 30 seconds as a jumping-off point, adjust steep time to taste.
  • Reuse your leaves! This bad boy is good for a minimum of three infusions.
I hope you've enjoyed today's journey into the world of premium single-origins! Feel free to comment below with questions or comments. You can also stop by the shop for tastings, scenting, regional comparison, and general further geeking over beautiful teas any time!
xoxo, Friday
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