Country of Origin: China
Region: Yunnan Province
Shipping Port: Shanghai
Grade: FTOP Flowery Tippy Orange Pekoe
Altitude: 4000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Cup Characteristics: Excellent fullness with subtle China sweetness. Only produced during March and April, when the mountain air is moist and cool
Infusion: Bright, with an origin specific character
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
It is believed throughout the tea world that the Chinese province of Yunnan, which borders Laos, Vietnam, Burma, and Tibet, is the birthplace of the world's first tea plantations. However, in direct contrast to the soothing qualities of a cup of freshly brewed tea, the Yunnan tea plantations, if legend is to be believed, were the byproduct of a terrible war.
According to ancient Chinese military texts, during the ancient period of the Chinese three kingdoms, (220-265 AD), a marauding army led by a General Kong Ming, (at the time one of the most feared men in China), conquered Yunnan province after invading it from nearby Hunan. Kong Ming, besides being a brilliant military strategist, was also a man of science, and specialized in botany. After conquering the province he conducted a thorough survey of its topography and biology and deemed it to be perfect for the cultivation of tea. Subsequently, the general ordered 1000 of his men to plant tea seedlings they had brought with them from Hunan and plant them throughout the highlands of Yunnan.
Whether or not the legend of Kong Ming is to be believed, the environment and altitude of Yunnan province do create an absolutely perfect environment for growing tea. The tea there is grown at very high elevations ranging from 4500-6000 feet above sea level. (Interestingly it is the height that gives the province its name; Yunnan translates into English as South cloud). The altitude, combined with the warmth and humidity of the highlands creates a natural greenhouse that Yunnan tea plants thrive in. Ying Ming Yunnan, like most Yunnan teas is known by its full-bodied and slightly sweet flavor. Brew a cup of this fabulous tea yourself and the next time you hear the song war, war, what is good for? at least you'll know that it was good for at least one thing..
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea, steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or 'milky' when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!