What's a Single Origin Tea?
31 August 2012
Keemun, Yunnan, Yunnan Green and Anhui Green tea
One of the great things about origin tea is that you get to experience the distinct flavours and aromas produced by a specific part of the world.
The joy of a blend is that you get to tinker with the different teas to create new and exciting flavours.
Tea, glorious tea - origins and
…And the difference between black and green tea.
We sell all sorts of tea from all over the world. Single origin tea, tea blends, black tea, green
tea, white tea, yellow tea and flowering teas. But how do we tell
the difference between them all? Let's take a closer look at
origin, blends, black and green.
tea is one that comes from a single
region. This is usually a specific sub-region of a country, or, for
smaller countries, the country itself. Assam, for example, is an
origin tea because it's only grown in the Assam region of India. Yunnan Tea, Keemun
Teaand Darjeeling teas are
also origin teas because they're all grown in just one
In contrast, we also make blends. And as you may imagine, these
are made up of different teas from several regions. The joy of a
blend is that you get to tinker with the different teas to create
new and exciting flavours. Our Everyday tea is an
example of a blend - it's made up of Yunnan, Assam and Kenyan
leaves.One of the great things about origin tea is that
you get to experience the distinct flavours and aromas produced by
a specific part of the world.
It's a bit like whisky or coffee. You get a single
malt whisky, which is made in just one distillery - and then you
get a blend that's made up of whiskies from many different
distilleries. And it's the same with coffee - you have single
origins and blends too…
Let's take a closer look at two regions - and two very popular
teas. Yunnan is a region in South West China, the very place where
it's believed tea making first began. It's a mountainous
region with abundant rainfall, a mild climate and fertile land
- all of which makes it an ideal place to grow tea. Yunnan black
tea is full bodied and aromatic, with a distinctive toasted
flavour. It has a warming dark caramel feel that lingers in the
mouth and tastes particularly good with milk.
You can buy this single origin tea as black or green. And you'll
also find it in a few of our blends like Everyday. Why not try it
yourself? Buy black Yunnan tea
Keemun is also grown in China, but in the East, Qimen
County. It's a spectacular, cloud-covered region where the
Huangshan Mountains lie - again another climate with the perfect
conditions for tea growing. The Chinese hold this tea in high
regard, referring to it as 'the king of black teas'.
Keemun leaves are small and delicate, making a rich,
uniquely smooth, velvety tasting, lightly scented tea. It has a
clear golden syrup colour with a soft nutty aroma and subtle
You can buy this tea as a single origin black tea or Green Anhui
tea from the same area. We use Keemun in our Diamond Jubilee Blend.
Why not try it yourself?Buy black Keemun
So what about green and black
Not everyone knows that green tea and black tea both
come from the same leaf. So why do two teas, that are essentially
the same, have such different characteristics? Well, it's all down
to the way they are processed.
A black tea is one
that has oxidised - and a green tea is one
that hasn't. With black tea, the leaves are cut and rolled, and
allowed to wither. This allows the enzymes to oxidise with the
oxygen in the air. You can see this happening when the leaves
slowly change from green to brown. This process needs to be closely
monitored as it changes the flavour of the tea. If you don't let it
oxidise for long enough then the leaves can be too green and taste
'leafy'. And if they're left for too long, they can taste
fermented, rather like wine or vinegar.
With green tea, the leaves are heated after they
are picked to kill off the enzymes. This is done by steaming or
panning (this is when you apply a dry heat). Once the enzymes are
killed off, they're no longer able to react with the oxygen in the
There's a huge difference in the way black and green
tea tastes. Black tea is what is used in your classic British
cuppa. It's got a strong, full-bodied flavour and is brown in
colour. Whereas green tea is fresh, light and grassy - and a little
sweet at times. Green tea is always drunk without milk because its
delicate flavour would be drowned by it. However, black tea works
really well with milk as it counterbalances the bitterness of the
Most people love a nice cup of black
tea with milk - whether that's Everyday, English Breakfast, Earl Grey or a single origin. But not all of us have tasted
green yet. If you're one of them, why not give green tea a go? You
can compare the taste of green Yunnan and
black Yunnan to
see the effect oxidation has on the leaves.