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December 12, 2005

Yunnan : The Mocha of Tea

Imperial Yunnan TeaA famous tea from China, Yunnan black tea, which in it's different grades (from best to worst) is also known as Golden Yunnan, Imperial Yunnan or simply Yunnan is very much an archetype for Black Tea. The Chinese, to guarantee consistency in taste and aspect every year, blend harvests from different gardens in Yunnan Province and sell it according to grade. This is typical of the policies that China adopts for it's export teas. The Chinese drink green tea but make black tea for export. By guaranteeing consistency from year to year, they keep the price stable and as tea used to be one of China's important sources for foreign currencies, this was sound policy. In the near future, specific gardens and the high prices they commend will probably also appear in China. Meanwhile, the old policy makes this a very dependable tea (there are really no surprises when you buy it) and any serious tea drinker should always have some Imperial or Golden Yunnan in his cupboard. It is a great morning tea and is also known as the Surgeon's Tea because of it's stimulant properties which, though quite present, don't give the "shakes".