A misty, rainy fall morning and I open with a quote from one of the oldest books on tea, the Ch’a-Ching (The Classic of Tea) by Lu Yu
“There are a thousand different appearances of tea leaves. Some have creases like the leathern boot of a Tartar horseman, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like the mist rising out a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like fine earth newly swept by rain.”
This morning I am sipping a China black tea called Yunnan Rare Grade. As I talked about in my post on Pu-ehr teas, the tea plants in Yunnan province are actually trees with a bigger, broader leaf. This tea has a lot of golden tips as you can see in the dry leaf photo. Some of the leaf is starting to uncurl when wet but most are still curled up from the rolling process.
A dark, sweet aroma wafts from my cup. I take a sip and my mouth is filled with a spicy earthiness, reminding me of the rich smell of a newly fallen leaf. The Chinese call this a red tea and you can see why. If you enjoy red wine, dark chocolate or even a thick, dark beer, you will like the taste of a Yunnan black tea.