A couple of days ago, we did a Yunnan black tea cupping at work, comparing 8 of our current Yunnan selections. I enjoy the cuppings very much because I find it so interesting to taste the teas side by side and discern their similarities and differences, especially within a category. So, with that cupping still fresh in my mind, I chose one of those Yunnan teas as my morning tea today. It’s the only broken leaf one of the group, called Yunnan FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe).
From mountainous Yunnan province in southwestern China, this black tea consists of mainly dark leaf with a small amount of yellowish tip sprinkled in. Yunnan teas have traditionally been plucked from very large, old tea trees but I have heard that some of those trees are being cut down or cut in half to make way for monoculture plantings. Hearing that makes me sad but I also know that demand is up for these teas and perhaps that is how they’re accommodating that demand.
I steeped the leaves for only 3 minutes in boiling point (212 F) water. The aroma wafting up from the steeping leaves is sweet and earthy.
The Chinese have traditionally called black tea “red tea” and you can certainly see why as the tea glows a gorgeous russet color in my glass teapot.
The flavor is so incredibly sweet with notes of pepper and earth and a whisper of smoke. The sweet and smoke linger in my mouth reminding me of sweet pipe tobacco. This tea would stand up to milk well but I don’t recommend any sugar because it is plenty sweet already.
I like my wide mouth tea bowl because it allows the tea to cool quickly, revealing the flavor notes. I find it hard to pick out all of the flavor notes when the tea is really hot. How about you?
We had a dusting of snow fall from a gray blanket sky this morning, however, it must be warming up outside because the snow is gone and everything just looks damp now as I gaze out my window. I’ve recently ordered some metalworking supplies, a disk cutter and a dapping set. I’m looking forward to getting back into my studio after an incredibly long period of drought. Way too long…
Happy tea drinking!
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore