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101 West Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM, 87501
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Luxury loose leaf teas, handcrafted tea blends and fine tea ware. ArtfulTea: where the ordinary experience of drinking tea becomes extraordinary.

Tea Wisdom

Yunnan Black Tea

Margaret Wack

What is Yunnan Black Tea?

Yunnan black tea, also called Dianhong tea, is a gourmet black tea grown in the Yunnan province of China and made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Like many Chinese black teas, Yunnan tea is lighter and mellower than the more robust Indian black teas, with a rich, malty flavor with a hint of natural sweetness. Yunnan black teas often have delicate, golden-tipped leaves, and brew up a bright reddish color. We’ve named our Yunnan black tea Golden Yunnan in honor of these striking leaves!

Yunnan Black Tea History

In China, what westerners refer to as blacks teas are called reds teas, while aged, fermented teas like pu-erh are referred to as black teas. Yunnan province is famous for its tea production, and is the source of many different kinds of teas, including Yunnan black tea and pu-erh. The mild climate and high elevation make it and ideal growing climate for tea. Yunnan province is sometimes considered the birthplace of tea, and the region contains some of the oldest wild tea plants in the country!

Yunnan black tea is a premium tea renowned for its quality in China and beyond. The tea is set apart by the large number of golden-tipped leaves and buds present in the loose tea. Yunnan black is made from large, high-quality tea leaves, and is fully oxidized before being prepared and packaged for consumption.


Different Yunnan Tea Types

Within the category of Yunnan black tea itself, there are a few different subcategories according to the quality of the leaves and the way in which the tea is processed. Each of these teas have subtly different characteristics and properties. From Broken Yunnan to Yunnan Pure Gold and everywhere in between, there are a variety of different Yunnan teas to choose from!

Broken Yunnan

Broken Yunnan is the lowest grade of Yunnan tea, and is made from tea leaves that have few or no golden buds. This tea brews up strong and dark, with little of the characteristic copper color of a higher-grade Yunnan. Broken Yunnan is often used in tea blends.

Yunnan Gold

Yunnan Gold is a step up from Broken Yunnan in terms of quality, but still contains fewer golden tips than Yunnan Pure Gold. It brews up a slightly darker cup, and has a rich, malty sweetness. Yunnan Gold is also highly prized and sought-after.

Yunnan Pure Gold

Yunnan Pure Gold is often considered the most prized type of Yunnan tea. It consists almost entirely of golden-tipped leaves and buds, and brews up a reddish-copper color. Out of the three teas, Yunnan Pure Gold is the lightest and sweetest, with a rich, malty flavor and a lingering floral finish.

Other Yunnan Teas

Other Yunnan black teas can include Golden Needle, which is prepared with the golden, downy tips and buds of the tea plant, and Pine Needle, which results from a new method of processing Yunnan tea in which the leaves are thin and straight, reminiscent of a pine needle.

Health Benefits of Yunnan Black Tea

Like all teas made from the camellia sinensis plant, Yunnan black tea contains a wealth of health benefits! It contains moderate caffeine, about half that of a cup of coffee, and is stimulating without creating excessive energy. Black tea also contains l-theanine, a beneficial compound that helps to reduce stress and anxiety and promote relaxation. Caffeine and l-theanine work together to contribute to alertness and focus without causing the jitters.

Black tea is also extremely high in antioxidants, helping to reduce free radicals and ward off certain types of cancer. Black tea is can also help to promote healthy skin and hair, aid digestion, and contribute to clarity and energy.

How to Prepare Yunnan Black Tea

Yunnan black tea should be prepared in the same way as other black teas. Use one level teaspoon of tea for every six ounces of water. Heat water to boiling (approximately 212 degrees) before steeping the tea for 3-4 minutes. Like other black teas, it can be taken with milk and sugar, though its flavor is also soft enough to be enjoyed alone. If you’re interested in Yunnan black tea, check out our Golden Yunnan today!

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