Hello, does anyone know where I can buy good red tea / Indian tea / English tea as tea leaves? When I was in Australia I used to go to the tea shop there and buy Indian tea which was similar to English breakfast tea but better. I was hoping maybe they sell Indian tea in Kunming at a tea market somewhere, we are closer to India after all......
p.s. by English tea, I probably mean tea that's grown in India or Sri Lanka anyway and exported to England :D
Hi, I didn't find any tea shop or tea market where they sell Indian tea in Kunming. Being an Indian i love to have milk masala tea in the morning and all my teas i have been bringing from India to Kunming for the last 2 years.
I guess the Chinese people are just not used to drink that type of tea or don't prefer those type of tea leaves.
Perhaps it didn't dawn on Chinese people, in an area where tea has been grown and exported for centuries, to import tea from faraway lands.
In Chinese western-style teas are known as 红茶 (hongcha) or "red tea", though in English the same category of teas are known as "black tea". Indeed, this type is grown right here in Yunnan and should not be any worse than the Sri Lankan or Nilgiri teas. In fact, those are almost certainly blended between multiple estates, whereas Chinese tea producers may not take that approach. Anyway check out en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_tea#Varieties for some ideas of what to ask for more specifically than 'hongcha'. Probably Xiefei can weigh in here, he knows a lot about tea and used to work in the industry.
I worked in a tea warehouse in London. I was surprised to learn that tea was imported from all over Africa, South America, and Asia. Then blended for nearly all of the big brand teas in the UK.
However, if you have a particular taste for Assam, or Darjeeling, you won't get exactly the same. But If you know how to blend teas, you will find something to your liking among the red teas. But be aware that the good single red teas that I have had (which are similar to Assam) are several thousand rmb/Kg. The luxury tea market is a bit of a racket in China.
There is a wide variety of black teas (as noted above, the Chinese call it red tea) available in the Kunming markets.
A lot of the Indian and British stuff is blended, and often broken down into a powder to facilitate blending. There are companies that do that here, but mostly for export. If you like the powder style, you might want to ask around for CTC tea (CTC茶), though you might get some confused looks.
I would recommend going down to one of the larger markets, such as the Xiongda Tea Market (雄达茶城) at the intersection of Beijing Lu and the North 2nd Ring. Find a shop that specializes in red teas, and try a few different kinds.
It shouldn't be an issue to find an inexpensive tea that has the right flavor for masala chai and the like.
The higher end Yunnan reds taste quite different. They have a smoother flavor, and are covered in fine golden hairs. I quite like it, but I'm not sure that's what you're looking for.
The custom at the market is to let you try a wide variety of teas before you buy.
hello, thanks very much everyone, I also like masala tea with milk. I think Assam tea might have been one of the ones I had in Australia. I will definitely go to the market and have a look soon. It would be nice to find a proper tea leaf red tea rather than the supermarket choice which is a bit limited.
p.s. yes Y1000/kg is a bit much, that's twice what I was paying in Australia for a really good Indian tea and only bought 50g at a time and I thought I was being extravagant then :)
Hong Kong milk tea is great too, I heard that's blended with a lot of different teas.