Yunnan Deluxe is one the of the best black teas that China has to offer. Traditionally, only wholesome spring-harvested buds are used to make black teas of such high quality. Hence its tender and mellow fragrance with dominant notes of honey and caramel.
Why we like it?
Of all the dianhongs that we’ve sampled, Yunnan Deluxe is certainly one of the very best. Since it is entirely made up of buds (i.e. no leaves), it doesn’t turn bitter when overbrewed. This is not to say, of course, that we encourage lengthy steepings, but every once in a while even pro drinkers overbrew their tea by accident, and no one likes to waste good tea. With Yunnan Deluxe, this will never be an issue. The other reason why we like quanya dianhong is its visual appeal: color of gold, fuzzy texture of a kitten, and smell from grandma’s pecan pie.
To make the most of this wonderful black tea, you should use gaiwan, small tea pot, or any other setup that makes multiple brewing easy. It will perform quite well even if you throw it in a larger pot and use lots of water, but we recommend using lower-grade black teas for such occasions. Yunnan Deluxe is valued for the subtle changes in flavor, aroma, strength, and intensity that happen in the course of multiple brewing sessions, which makes it an excellent choice for tea ceremonies.
Roman’s personal score: 92/100
Miha’s personal score: 96/100
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 Quanya Dianhong (Yunnan Deluxe)
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2 lb)
- water: ~ 85 °C, 100-250 ml (185 F, 3-9 oz)
- time: 15-120 seconds
- brews: 10+ times
- discard the first brew
At the beginning, 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. After another 5 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.