I've read extensively about how the region in which a tea is grown influences its flavor, and as I've sampled more teas and honed my palate, I've begun to taste some of these distinctions, particularly the unique characteristics of tea from Darjeeling and nearby Himalayan regions, but also in other areas as well, such as Vietnam. Most other regional distinctions still elude me.
Today I became newly aware such a phenomenon when drinking a cup of Rishi Tea's China Breakfast, which is a Yunnan Red or Dian Hong, a black tea produced in China's Yunnan province, the same province famous for being the origin of Pu-erh. The location of Yunnan is highlighted on this map of China:
The cup of Rishi's China Breakfast that inspired me is pictured below:
I've drunk numerous cups of this particular tea, but today, I noticed something different about it. My brain somehow isolated and identified a particular component of the aroma, and recognized it as one familiar from Pu-erh teas, and that has been present in all Yunnan red/Dian Hong that I've tried, and one that I do not recall ever experiencing in any other teas, black or otherwise. Unfortunately, I can't find words to clearly articulate what this aroma smells like. It's a quality that I like, however, and one that I like when Pu-erh has more of.
If I had to grope in the dark for words to describe this quality, I'd say it is suggestive of incense and slightly of shitaake mushrooms, but not at all like the familiar button mushrooms.
Have you noticed any qualities like this, unique to Yunnan province, or any other tea-producing region, independent of the style or variety of tea? Are you able to articulate them at all? I'd be curious to hear different perspectives on this.