Yunnan Black Tea
Supreme-quality dianhong from Yunnan’s Fengqing county – the birth place of some of the world’s nicest black teas. Fengqing dianhong is quite delicate and requires a certain degree of tea-steeping mastery. If handled properly, it will yield 6-7 consistently rich and mellow brews with an amazing spectrum of overtones: dried fruit, dark chocolate, toffee, and more.
Why we like it?
This dianhong is great in every conceivable way. It has a rich flavor, amazing fruity fragrance, and lasting mellow aftertaste. The leaves have a very pleasant texture. In fact, when the tea is very fresh – several weeks since production and stored in a sealed container – touching it will be as fun as stroking a kitten, all thanks to the fine velvety coating on its flippantly curved leaves.
Roman’s personal score: 90/100
Miha’s personal score: 91/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
Black or red?
What we know as black tea is called “red” in Chinese. In the western tradition the point of reference is the dark color of the fully oxidized leaves. Chinese, however, call this tea red because of the light brown-red color of the infusion. A thin film will appear on the tea’s surface if it is left untouched for a while. This happens because of a series of chemical reactions involving polyphenols, caffeine, amino acids, and proteins. Therefore, it is recommended that you drink your tea while it’s fresh and steaming. If you you like your tea iced, just add a slice of lemon and the film will not form.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time.
The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea.
Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for Fengqing Dianhong
It is particularly important not to oversteep this tea, or it will taste bitter!
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2 lb)
- water: ~ 85 °C, 100-250 ml (185 F, 3-9 oz)
- time: 15-60 seconds
- brews: 6-7 times
- discard the first brew
Try to keep infusion time to 15-20 seconds. Don’t worry if the tea isn’t very dark – it’s not supposed to be, at least at the beginning. After 2-3 brews, the leaves will wake up and start yielding a dark reddish brown beverage. That’s when you should keep steeping time just under 10 seconds, or the tea might develop bitter notes. After another 3-4 brews, as the potency of the tea decreases, feel free to gradually increase the length of infusion to maintain the desired level of strength.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.