The province of Yunnan, in the southwest corner of China, is said to have been producing tea for more than 1,700 years. This area is considered by historians to be the place where the tea plant originated, bordering India’s Assam tea growing district and the countries of Tibet, Burma and Laos. Yunnan is a unique place with a wild specimen of the tea plant that has grown to be over 100 feet tall during its centuries old growing cycle! This tea plant is one of the oldest plants on earth. Yunnan is also home to some 260 out of 320 sub varieties of tea known in China. Due to its remoteness and its high and oftentimes impenetrable mountains, production of black tea did not begin in Yunnan until 1939. This is relatively recent when considering the ancient plants in the region; however, by 2004, it Yunnan had surpassed every other Chinese province in the production of black tea. Yunnan tea is made from the Dayeh (“Broad-Leafed”) sub variety which is native to that area. This type of tea plant pushes out fat buds and thick shoots until fully grown. The cultivated leaf is so overwhelmingly tippy (characterized by a light-colored point on the end) that it is often khaki colored. Since Yunnan is not far from the Assam growing region of India, many find these two types of teas to have similar characteristics; however, Yunnan’s spicy, peppery flavor represents a special taste that makes Yunnan teas unique unto themselves.