fresh from origin
Yunnan is the name of the Southern Chinese province bordering Vietnam. It's believed to be the birthplace of tea, and home of the oldest wild growing tea tree (never pruned to be bush height). This tree is estimated to be 1,700 years old! Yunnan's most senior cultivated tree, by contrast, is a relative youngster - a mere 800 years old. These are the large leafed tea varieties - Camellia sinensis assamica - which are also found in India. Yunnan also has the distinction of producing more black tea than any other part of China, although it's a relative newcomer to this variety. Black tea was first produced here in 1939, and is distinguished by its unique peppery, earthy and sometimes cocoa-like flavour.