In 2008, the most popular style of tea in China was fermented tea called Pu-erh. Yunnan, China, the birthplace of Pu-erh, was seeing unprecedented growth in their tea industry. Farmers increased production in an effort to keep up with demand while entrepreneurs tried to capitalize on the craze by buying land and growing tea. Two years later, when the craze passed, there was a surplus of tea on the market and the demand for Pu-erh disappeared seemingly overnight. Some tea gardens were abandoned, but in an effort to cut losses, some growers started to produce black, green, white, and oolong teas. These growers planted many different cultivars to create new and unique types of Pu-erh tea. Eight years later, these tea trees have reached full maturity and as a result, there’s a diverse group of new styles of Yunnan tea coming to market made from these unusual cultivars.
Beginning in 2014 with two new black teas, Yunnan Purple and Mengku Yunnan, I’ve been adding more of these unique styles of Yunnan tea to our lineup. This year we are adding Golden Orchid. It is a sweet, malty tea that will be replacing Organic Golden Needles in our lineup this year, since it was not produced in 2017 due to bad weather.
Golden Orchid is a classic dian hong (Yunnan black) style tea. Like the best of this style, Golden Orchid is sweet, clean and nuanced without any of the astringency and muddy flavors that are sometimes associated with assamica variety teas.
In a 400 ml teapot, steep 7 grams in 210°F water for 3 minutes. Jin Xuan Yunnan is an excellent candidate for cold-steeping. Use our standard ration of 20 grams of tea per quart of water. For better color and flavor, try steeping the tea in 210°F water, just enough to cover the tea, for 5 minutes before refrigerating. Add the remaining amount of cold water and steep refrigerated for up to 24 hours. The hot start will create nuance and a deep red color.