Laoshu Dianhong (Old Tree Yunnan)
Black Tea 2020
A black tea unlike any other, made from a forest grown ancestral tea tree variety (Camellia taliensis) found only in southwest Yunnan. Possesses a unique rich wildflower aroma with a sweet finish, free of any heaviness or astringency. Naturally lower in caffeine and high in nutrition. A fine and distinctive black tea made from high quality leaves, sure to pique the interest of connoisseurs and new tea drinkers alike.
- Tea Origin
- Fengqing County, Lincang City, Yunnan Province, China
- Tea Bush
- Camellia taliensis
- Tea Master
- Han Fengqin
- Harvest Time
- Late March
- Picking Standard
- Two leaves
Among the tea trees that grow deep within the forests of Yunnan Province’s Lincang region is the rare Camellia taliensis species. This plant variety was identified by tea scientists to be the ancestor of the dominant tea bush varieties used today, which are varieties of the closely related species Camellia sinensis. C. taliensis now grows among other varieties of tea bushes in the deep forest, including the more common variety Camellia sinensis var. assamica. These trees are minimally maintained and seasonally gathered by the local inhabitants who, in the early spring, pick the fresh grown leaves of these tea trees along with the forest’s wild mushrooms and herbs as a source of income.
Such pristine leaves are usually reserved for high-grade puer tea. In this case, however, these leaves have been processed as a black tea. The result is a black tea unlike any other. Laoshu Dianhong possesses a unique rich wildflower aroma and light body with a sweet and complex finish, free of any heaviness or astringency. Its golden brew is naturally lower in caffeine than other teas and high in nutrition.
A serendipitous start
The practice of making this tea began by accident. During one spring in recent years, some mushroom gatherers were out in the forest when they discovered that the tea trees had already produced young growth. They picked these young leaves and continued on their mushrooming trip. Days later, when they had returned home with what they had gathered, they discovered that the young tea leaves had browned with oxidation. Rather than discard the leaves, they drew from the local expertise in black tea making and got help to produce a fully oxidized (black) tea from these leaves. The result was unlike any other black tea available and instantly gained the attention of tea lovers.
History and origins
The Baiying mountain range in the Lincang area of Yunnan province is well-known by tea scientists for its diversity of wild, transitional, and cultivated tea plants. Through research of the genetic material of the tea plants in this area, scientists were able to determine that tea originated in China. Buddhist monks moved into the area around 1100 years ago and started growing tea. Buddhism and tea typically spread together. There is even a saying “chan cha yi wei,” which roughly translates to “zen and tea, same taste.” The Lancang River (Mekong River) runs through Baiyingshan in a deep canyon, creating variety in the geology and weather of the area. With good sunshine, plenty of clouds, good soil, and a wide daily temperature range, the tea from this area is nutritious and flavorful.
Since 1939, Dianhong or Yunnan Black Tea has been produced largely as an export product. In contrast to this, Laoshu Dianhong, because of its special origins and outstanding floral character, has now become very popular in the Chinese domestic market, which traditionally favors green tea.
No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.
Laoshu Dianhong (Old Tree Yunnan) brewing guidelines
Teaware: 12 oz. glass, porcelain, or yi xing clay pot
Amount: 2 Tbs of tea leaves
Water: boiling filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 3 minutes. The leaves are good for 6 infusions. Add a little more time for each subsequent infusion.