Sunday, April 12, 2009

China Tea Travels To Yunnan For Tea (Naturally)

We left the Chengdu airport at around 9pm and arrived in Kunming after 10pm. By the time we got to our hotel (courtesy of the many touts at the airport) it was well past 11pm. We were hungry so we walked down to the only restaurant open and had some quick noodles.

The next day we took the early bus to Chuxiong, about two hours by express bus from Kunming. Unfortunately, we did not take the express bus and our journey last three and half hours through some very rough mountains and bad roads. Wrong bus station. Wrong bus.

After completing our business in Chuxiong we had the next day's morning to explore this small Yi minority town (see for more information on Chuxiong). The first thing we looked for was a tea shop and we found one in the middle of the town.

Chuxiong Tea Shop

As we entered this couples well-stocked tea shop, they were having their lunch and did not seem too happy to see us. As we visited and had them finish their lunch, they became friendlier. By the end of our visit, they treated us as if we were part of their family, visiting with us about the local tea and giving us advice on how to determine the quality of the tea we were drinking.

Tea ceremony, Chuxiong style.

The tea on the left is a standard blended green from Yunnan. The one on the right is a local tea from White Bamboo Mountain. The first thing I noticed was the cloudiness the local tea had.

This is a close up of the Yunnan blended green tea. We have tried several of the Yunnan greens and all were solid green teas and very drinkable. This one was no exception.

Package for the locally produnced White Bamboo Mountain green tea. This tea was supposed to be grown by Yi people, picked and processed by them. It looked a lot like Bi Lo Chuan.

Here is a close up of the White Bamboo Mountain green tea. It was very unusual and obviously unique so we bought some to give it a try. I will do a tea tasting of it in the near future.

While we were at this shop, we asked about a puerh that we had purchased in Chengdu. Remember the white or tippy puerh we had purchased earlier? Well, this guy had one and so we asked if we could try it. Both, Sunee and I were disappointed and decided against buying his tippy white puerh cake.

Yulin Puerh Tea Shop in Kunming

We went looking for an art house for Sunee to check out some art books and look at some paintings. There is never a tea shop we can pass by nowdays without going in. Here we found the Yintai Shop next to Green Lake in downtown Kunming. It is a tough life chasing tea in China.

Inside we found wonderfully stocked shelfs of puerh. This was a puerh shop after all and we were in Yunnan Province.

We ended up buying one of those golden cans filled with mini tuochas. It turned out to be a rare find when we tried it later on at Emei.

Two different kinds of puerh. The one on the left was the min tuocha we eventually bought. It was great!

A full service shop no less.

And here is our tea master who let us taste tea to our hearts delight. Of course, we rewarded him with many great purchases as well.

Looking For Yunnan's Best Gold

After spending some yuan at the puerh shop we decided to seek out my favorite tea - Yunnan Gold. We stopped at several along the lake only to be told they stocked only puerh. We then walked through the beautiful Green Lake Park and decided it was time to return to our hotel. That was when we found our Yunnan Gold.

The owner had the gold and was happy to let us try some. Seems she did not cut her gold with the normal dian cong but sold it straight. We had to believe her as the tea we saw was solid gold and the taste was even better.

Here the owner's daughter (I assume) fixed us up some of her Gold. Was it fine! Of course we stocked up on it.

Sunee negotiates with the owner so we can have lots more of the Gold when we get back home. She was successful and I was happy.

We also got to try some standard Yunnan green. Got lots of green in Emei so we passed on this tea. Took a bunch of Gold off her hands, though.

The Kunming Tea Wholesale District

1 comment:

iffatali said...

I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
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