One of the tea factories in China still operated by CNNP is in Kunming. The Kunming Tea Factory is designated on pu-erh labels by the number 1 (the fourth digit on the label). This tea factory is known as one of the first to develop a process (called Wo Dui) of piling, wetting, and mixing the maocha. This was around 1972. The process accomplished two things:
- ensured a more even fermentation of tea leaves for ripened pu-erh
- imitated the flavor and color of aged raw pu-erh
The merits of this process are the subject of a future article. For now I am just focusing on the factory itself and the city.
|A richly colored Kunming pu-erh|
The city of Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province in southwestern China, and is a source of some very fine teas, having been part of the original tea road. The city itself is around 2,400 years old and has a walled portion left from those early days. The rest is divided into commercial, residential, and university areas. In addition to the Kunming Tea Factory, the city has a number of other tea factories, such as Yunnan Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Co., Ltd., Yunnan Kunming Wenlong Tea Co. Ltd., Kunming Guyi Industry And Trade Co., Ltd., and Kunming Nanxiang Tea Co., Ltd. The city also has a fabulous tea market where you can find teas ranging from cheap pu-erhs to the best (and very expensive) Taiwan-grown tie guan yin. There is also a Kunming Tea Plantation that has become a hotspot destination for “tea tourists.”
The Kunming Tea Factory, located at Kunming Galloping Mountain 15, was established in 1938 as part of CNNP and remains part of that agency. They tend to produce disk-shaped cakes (with nail impressions on the back side), that is, they do not have the characteristic dome shape of many large tea cakes. The cakes are not always labeled as Kunming but are often shown as “CNNP.”
A Few of Their Teas to Try:
While our store isn’t currently carrying any of these, we encourage you to try them out.
• 8911 Sheng — For those of you who love sheng pu-erh this 2007 sheng tuo will delight with its light body and strong aroma of hay and dried fruit.
• 2008 Kunming — Make: Yunnan Tea Import and Export Corporation, China National Native Produce & Animal By-Products Kunming Tea List of ingredients: Yunnan Pu’er tea Storage: Store dry and ventilated place no smell Shelf life: 7300 days Food additives: no Package: Bags Tea production process: cooked tea Weight (g): 357 Brand: tea Tea edge in the series: Specifications: 357 g / cake Year: 3-5 years
• 2008 Kunming 7511 — A wonderful cooked pu-erh made of leaves from Yunnan large-leafed trees. The leaves are dried while green, processed into cakes, and stored in a clean, airy, dry, cool, pollution-free, odor-free environment. The shelf life is about 10 years. The cakes usually weight 357 grams.
• 2011 Kunming Jingmai Rhyme — A raw pu-erh made of Yunnan large-leafed varietal and sun-dried while the leaves are still green. Stored in a clean, ventilated, dark, dry, odor-free, pollution-free environment. This tea has a shelf life of about 3 years. Comes in 200-gram cakes.
• 2009 Kunming 7512 — A cooked pu-erh made of Yunnan large-leafed varietal and sun-dried while the leaves are still green. This tea was stored in a clean, ventilated, dark, dry, odor-free, pollution-free environment, and has a shelf life of around 28 years if kept in a proper environment. The tuocha comes in 100-gram size.
• 2007 Kunming Raw Toucha — Raw pu-erh made of Yunnan large-leafed varietal. Dried while green and stored in a ventilated, cool, dry, and odor-free location. This tuocha weighs 100 grams and has a shelf life of about 3 years.
Check out this gorgeous tea house in Kunming.