Sourcing Our Golden Yunnan Tea

Golden Yunnan tea has been a staple offering at Royal Tea New York for quite some time. As one of our most popular teas, we felt it was time to give it the attention it deserves! Caitlin Normann delves into the origins of Golden Yunnan, and more importantly, the man behind the tea.

plucking yunnan tea plants

Yunnan Tea Production

Nestled in southern China, Yunnan Province is considered to be the birthplace of tea. While home to various topography, the region is predominantly known for the mountain ranges running across its terrain. Due to the elevation, the climate is quite mild. This makes for ideal tea-growing conditions!

golden yunnan tea leaves

The primary style of tea produced in Yunnan Province is pu’er, or “pu-erh.” When producing pu’er, the leaves are either aged naturally or artificially. Yunnan Province also produces other styles of tea including black, green, white, and oolong. In fact, one of our favorite black tea offerings comes from this region: Golden Yunnan. Pretty in appearance, the tea has wiry, twisted leaves with golden buds throughout. The flavor is rich and deep with notes of roasted cacao and sweet potato.

Of course, we have to thank our grower for this amazing offering: Mr. Chaoyun Li.

Mr. Chaoyun Li

Coming from humble beginnings, Mr. Li got his start in the industry as a state-owned, tea factory worker. Over the span of a decade, he went from tea-plucker, to warehouse keeper, to quality manager. Then, the factory went under reform, turning into a privately-owned company. This change spurred Mr. Li into establishing his very own tea factory.

Wanting a fresh start, he immigrated from northern Yunnan to Simao, an area close to Pu’er city. There, Mr. Li built a small factory on his own land. His farm, located at 1380masl and now 29-hectares wide, utilizes local big leaf cultivars and primarily produces black tea. Recently deciding to experiment, he imported the Jinxuan cultivar from Taiwan.

raw yunnan tea leaves

Jinxuan Oolong, translating to “Golden Daylily”, is typically processed as such and semi-oxidized. However, Mr. Li puts this tea under a high roasting process. This finalizes it as a black tea with enticing notes of sugarcane, orange blossoms, and dark chocolate.

Mr. Li’s youngest son also takes part in tea production, though his interests lie with the complex oolong production of Eastern Beauty. Eastern Beauty, another famous style of tea that originated in Taiwan, requires small bugs called leaf hoppers to nibble the plants! Their saliva lends to the end result of honey and muscat grape notes.

royal tea new york's golden yunnan tea

Final Thoughts

We’ve been fortunate enough to have offered Mr. Li’s Golden Yunnan for several years now. This year, we hope to expand our offerings list to include more of his beautifully crafted teas. Stay tuned!

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