Love Yunnan's High Mountain Red

Tea :      High Mountain Red Ai Lao

Producer:  Yunnan Sourcing

Website: High Mountain Red Ai Lao

Website description:  High mountain tea grown at 2000 meters on Ai Lao Shan in Zhenyuan area of Simao. Picked and processed only from the first flush of spring, this black tea is lightly oxidized and processed similarly to Taiwanese black tea or Wu Yi Rock tea. There is a still a greenish tinge left to the leaves! The brewed tea is rich and thick with hints of dried Longan fruit with a protracted mouth feeling!

The tea is grown at almost 2000 meters making it one of the highest black teas we offer. Mr. Guo was born and raised in central Taiwan and his father had a black tea factory there. Mr. Guo traveled to Thailand and eventually decided on Yunnan. He was always a big Pu-erh tea fan and decided to spend time learning about Ai Lao area pu-erh since it’s one of the remotest and untouched places in all Yunnan. He met many local pu-erh growers and worked with one in particular (Mr. Feng) to introduce a Taiwanese style processing which marries black tea and oolong in a sweet and fruity style!

Brewing Specs

Water:  240 ml/ approximately 8 oz

Temperature: 205 F

Steep Time: 3 minutes for 3 gm

My Review System:

My Overall Impression (Score of 84.0%)

I’m always at a dilemma when purchasing teas.  I’m always asking myself a few questions such as:

  • How many cups will I get out of the package and is it worth the value
  • I’m reading the description online and wondering if its accurate?
  • What is the tea’s profile and will it meet my specific taste profile?
  • Lastly, will I like it?

I feel like we all ask the same questions as well (especially purchasing online when you can not sample the aromas and or flavor).  I’m happy to report that Yunnan Sourcing has been a solid provider and I’ve liked all of their teas that I’ve purchased.  Today’s review is for High Mountain Red Ai Lao blend.  This one is interesting as its such a simple blend but quite yummy (yes, I said Yummy).  What I love about this brew is its dynamic finished product.

Let me explain.  Some may call this one dimensional but I tend to disagree with this.  It’s subtle nuances from the creamy texture, to Oolong qualities really made me think about what was in the glass.  First of all, brew it at 205 F as it’s a lighter tea.  My first round was at 195F and it felt flabby.  The higher temperature brought out more aromas and flavors.  I loved its acidity and what I call – What is that flavor in this brew?

I really want to try this one as an Iced Tea this summer.  The little notes in this brew would lend itself to great pairings with fresh summer produce.  Yes, for my pairings for this brew have an Asian tone as the 5 Spice notes will link beautifully.  They were sold out recently but get on the waiting list.  It’s worth it.

What do I think this Tea’s Personality is?

  • I don’t feel like thinking or analyzing any tea – just drink me and be happy!

The Price

The price on 3/27/24 is $12.50 for 100 grams.

Broken down:

  • 100 gm / 3 gm for steeping = 33 brews
  • 33 brews from package = app. 38 cents per brew

Typically, I double steep all my teas (use the tea twice) so I can get 66 cups or approximately 19 cents per cup.  Great value for an entry black tea as you get used to brewing and sampling loose tea.


  • Opening the package, its filled with delicate notes of creamy dark malt with a molasses essences mixed with hay and charred, toasted wood.
  • It also shows hints of tobacco, black pepper, cloves, smoke, wood ash, musty tones with a caramel sweetness (no fruit).
  • Once brewed, you can see Oolong tendencies from the dark toasted malt, molasses and toffee notes.
  • It also shows cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger notes with a biscuit scent (like Jacob’s crackers)


  • It’s a lighter brew than I expected but still good depth of flavors of toasted malts with Oolong notes and a hint of mustiness (pleasant).
  • Underneath, you find notes of cocoa, cedar, vanilla, lightly toasted oak and when it cools a bit, notes of a vegetable medley (nothing specific).
  • Beautiful off dry sweetness notes with great acidity leads you to multiple sips.
  • I loved the body and tannin levels (medium) with a nice creamy texture.


  • Aromas (4.2/5)
  • Flavors (8.2/10)
  • Overall impression (4.4/5)
    • Total score = 84 percent (16.8/20)

Foods to Pair and Why

  • As I’m drinking this, Asian pairings keep coming to mind. I love a good pork egg roll that has the right balance of shredded pork and vegetables but not greasy.
  • Maybe it was a cold day but a good wonton soup crossed my mind as well for pairing with this brew. I believe that the flavors and acidity would blend well together.
  • I personally would not pair a cheese with this brew as I think any combination would overpour the tea and not elevate it.
  • One of my favorite recipes is Looing poaching which is a soy sauce based poaching liquid that I poach chicken in to shred for salads in the summer. This High Mountain Red would work amazing with this as the shredded chicken mixed into a room temperature chow main mix would be a great match for warmer days.
  • Ok…here me out. Pepperidge Farms Orange Milano cookies were to die for when I was sampling this tea.  They blended so well together.
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