Golden Yunnan Royal Grade
Few teas produced in the world make the Royal grade and we are proud to offer this tea. Many factors are involved in giving this tea its wonderfully complex flavor. Consisting mainly of high-quality buds that are painstakingly hand picked, these tender, young leaves are covered with fine down. The leaves are then sun withered and placed into a temperature controlled 'fermentation room' that is around 80 F with 85% humidity, to undergo a unique process called 'pile fermentation'. Small amounts of water is sprayed onto the leaves, then covered with heavy hemp fabric, to help trap the heat inside. Pile height, pile temperature, and method of piling are under constant supervision. This sauna-like environment starts the fermentation process, which eventually causes the buds to turn gold, rather than black. The water content vs. dryness and temperature of the leaves are also constantly monitored, as the success of this process will determine its golden color. Every couple of hours, the leaves need to be turned over, with special care taken not to break the tips of the buds. Thus, no shovels or machinery are used...they do it all by hand...for forty days! This labor intensive process, along with the quality of the buds, is what makes this artisanal tea truly unique.
I ordered the sample size and liked it so well I then ordered a larger size. So far this is my favorite tea from The Whistling Kettle. However, I have many more to try before I call it my all-time favorite. Still, I think this one will be hard to beat.