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. For the fourth year in a row, we are offering Yunnan Jin Xuan. Jin xuan cultivar was developed in the 1980s in Taiwan for oolong tea and has since become a popular cultivar to grow in many different countries due to its adaptability.
Grown in Yunnan and produced as a black tea, this versatile cultivar combines the fruity flavor of lychee with notes of rose, but retains a classic black tea maltiness. It steeps with a deep red color, a sweet flavor, and a medium-body that finishes sweet and clean, with a lingering flavor reminiscent of an oolong.
In a 400 ml teapot, steep 7 grams in 210°F water for 3 minutes. Jin Xuan Yunnan is an excellent candidate for cold brewing. 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 brew as normal. The hot start will create nuance and a deep red color.