Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha Yunnan Black Tea
“Dian Hong Cha” means “Yunnan Black Tea”, refering to the black tea from Yunnan’s large-leaf tea tree varieties. “Jin Hao” on the other hand means “golden hair”. It refers to the tea buds’ dense cover with initially white hair, which will turn golden yellow when processed into black tea. Individual combinations of sweet cocoa, coffee, malt and roast notes are characteristic of such Yunnan black teas’ taste. It is this aromatic sweetness that has made Yunnan’s Dian Hong Cha’s one of the most popular types among Chinese black teas.
The Tea Garden
SiamTee’s Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha comes from a historic tea garden in South Yunnan, 1600 meters above sea level. The now over 60-year-old large-leaf Menghai variety tea plants have grown from the seed. The seamless embedding of the high mountain tea garden in biodiverse, densely forested environment meets all the requirements of natural cultivation. Accordingly, the tea trees will soon be consecrated to a “lao shu” or “gushu” (= old tea tree, approx. 70-100 years). Exactly what age will earn a tea plant this consecration varies between 70 and 100 years, depending on source.
High Mountain Tea Garden in Southern Yunnan : click picture(s) to enlarge
The best picking time for this tea is around the middle of April. The picking, traditionally a work of local hill tribes, is done by hand and according to the classic 2+1 picking standard. That means only the young, unopened bud at the end of every branch, together with the two youngest leaves attached to it qualify for picking.
The tea garden comes with its own small tea factory, which is as old as the tea garden itself. Accordingly, it draws on over 60 years of experience in processing Yunnan black tea. The processing of our Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha corresponds to the typical black tea processing. This means, an initial phase of withering and subsequent rolling of the tea leaves follows the halt of the oxidation process by heating. The subsequent final drying – traditionally over charcoal fires, today in modern rotary or convection ovens – then removes the residual moisture from the tea leaves.
Taste and Appearance
The dry tea leaf, black with a high share of yellow tips, takes on a crimped shape during rolling. However, though “Hong Cha” corresponds to what we call black tea, the term literally means “red tea”. This is because in China, the category is not assigned on the basis of the color of the dry tea leaf. Instead, the assignment is based on the color of the liquor. Accordingly, also our Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha produces a clear reddish cup, emitting a spicy-sweet, aromatic fragrance. This in turn alrady anticipates the characteristic taste of a classic Dian Hong Cha. At this, our Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha adds the distinctive mineral character of the highland tea garden to the charasteristic pattern of sweet cocoa, coffee, malt and roast notes.
wet tea leaves after infusion
Jin Hao Dian Hong Cha – Preparation
One way to nicely assert this tea’s full taste profile is by a strictly Western preparation approach. That means ONE infusion with boiling water (100°C), moderate dosage (3g tea leaves/100ml) and longer infusion period (4-5 minutes). However, our Jin Hao is also perfectly suitable for gong-fu preparation… This means preparation over several infusions with higher doses and shorter individual infusion periods.