Dianhong Black Tea
Lincang is an internationally recognized as the hometown of the famous Dianhong tea and one of the origins of wild tea trees. The locals have a history of 500 years of growing and drinking teas. In 1938 Dianhong tea was invented in Fengqing and since then became a key Chinese export in the global market. Each year Dianhong accounts for more than 40 % in quantity and 50 % in value of the tea export for the whole province. To date Fengqing Dianhong Tea Group Co. Ltd. is the largest tea manufacturing enterprise in Yunnan Province. The zone has a tea field measuring about 650,000 acres and annual production of 20,000 tons, both ranking first in Yunnan.
Dian hong (simplified: 滇红; traditional: 滇紅; pinyin: Diānhóng) is a Chinese black tea which is used as a relatively high end gourmet black tea and is sometimes used in various tea blends. The main difference between Dian hong and other Chinese black teas is the amount of fine leaf buds, or "golden tips," present in the dried tea. Finer Dian hong teas produces a brew that is brassy golden orange in colour with a sweet, gentle aroma and no astringency. Cheaper varieties of Dian hong produce a darker brownish brew that can be very bitter.
Teas grown in the Yunnan Province of China prior to the Han dynasty were typically exported in a compressed form similar to modern pu-erh tea. Dian hong is a relatively new product from Yunnan that began production in the early 20th century. The word "Diān" (滇) is the short name for the Yunnan region while "hóng" (紅) means "red (tea)"; as such, these teas are sometimes simply referred to as Yunnan red or Yunnan black. However, such references are often confusing due to the other varieties of teas produced in Yunnan as well as the ambiguous nature of the color classifications.
Tasting and brewing
Dian hong teas are best brewed with porcelain gaiwan or yixing teaware using freshly boiled water at 90°C (194°F) to 100°C (212°F), and are suitable for multiple infusions. It is important not to overbrew the teas as they will easily go bitter or exhibit astringency, especially the cheaper varieties.
Broken Yunnan (滇紅碎茶; pinyin:diānhóng suì chá): A cheap tea used for blending which contains very few golden buds and is generally bitter on its own. You can spot this tea easily as the dried leaves are largely black in color with only a few bursts of golden tips. The brew is dark and not brassy but reddish-brown. The taste can sometimes be as strong as cooked pu-erh tea. Classified in Orange pekoe grading as BOP.
Yunnan Gold (滇紅工夫茶 or 滇紅; pinyin: diānhóng gōngfū chá): A Dian hong with fewer golden buds and more dark tea leaves. It is on par with the pure gold, and is priced similarly, but makes teas with slightly different characteristics. The brew a brassy red color different from other black teas and a vivid sweetness not quite as intense as "Yunnan pure gold". Classified in Orange pekoe grading from OP to TGFOP.
Yunnan Pure Gold (金芽滇紅; pinyin: jīnyá diānhóng): Considered the best type of Dian hong tea. It contains only golden tips, which are usually covered in fine hairs. When viewed from a distance, the dried tea appears bright orange in colour. The tea liquor is bright red in colour and exhibits a gentle aroma and a sweet taste. The leaves are reddish brown after being brewed. Classified in Orange pekoe grading from TGFOP to SFTGFOP.
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