2021 Yunnan Feng Qing Black Marbles black tea

Yunnan Feng Qing Black Marbles


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Black Tea


Yunnan Feng Qing Black Marbles


Manufacture: orthodox hong cha manufacture
Oxidation: fully-oxidized


Appearance: hand-rolled & tied tea ‘marbles’. Dark colored leaf and light tip wind around each other in the marbles creating a lovely appearance
Flavor: Soft, smooth style; sweet, creamy caramel flavor
Aroma: soft, characteristic Yunnan sweet black tea aroma
Liquor: classic copper colored tea liquor

Approximately 36-40 hand-tied marbles in a 4 oz package




Feng Qing County
Yunnan Province, China

2021 mid-Spring (early/middle of May in Yunnan)


These are the ‘youngest‘ marbles that we have ever offered. They are very delicious now, and will improve as noted in the main text…

Use 1-2 ‘marbles’ (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 1 infusion at 4-5 minutes. (See Steeping Tip)
Water temperature should be 190°F-200°F


Steeping Tip:


As these tea marbles are a hand-crafted item, the size and weight of each one is similar but not uniform. Our Yunnan Black Marbles are approximately 2-3 grams each, so they are easy to use. Because these are so easy to re-steep, we recommend using a generous hand regarding the ratio of leaf to water.

For each 6 oz of water we put 1-2 marbles in the cup or pot. When steeping many cups at once in a large teapot, we do not scale up the quantity of marbles, we use 5-6  marbles for a standard one quart teapot. Because these are tied into their bundles with silk thread, they take a moment to open up, therefore the first steeping will likely be the lightest one flavor-wise.

Be sure to re-steep these delicious marbles, as additional water can be added and the same leaf re-steeped 3 or 4 times before the flavor is all extracted. You can adjust the steeping time from 2 minutes per, up to 5-6 minutes per steeping. You will note changes in the flavor profile of these steepings, ranging from malty to chocolate, spicy to smooth caramel. This leaf is rich in amino acids, so the steeped liquid will cloud heavily when cool.

Remember that the total quantity of liquid yield will be high, so 5-6 marbles, steeped three or four times in one quart of water (each steeping) will produce as much as one gallon of steeped tea over the course of several steepings.

Is Yunnan black tea dian hong or hong cha?


Terminology for Chinese teas can be confusing. For example, in China hong cha is the term for ‘red’ tea –  what we in the West call black tea. It can be used to describe any tea from any of the black tea producing regions of China. For example: one might refer to a Fujian Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong as a northern Fujian hong cha or a Keemun black tea from Anhui Province as an Anhui hong cha.

Conversely, hong cha teas of Yunnan Province are called dian hong instead. Dian is an old historical name for parts of today’s Yunnan Province, so dian hong is still how Yunnan black tea are referred to. Some say that dian hong should just refer to the modern-style plantation style teas and not the forest teas made from indigenous varieties of old tea bush varietals.
We, on the other hand, generally use the term dian hong to mean the opposite. Yunnan has such a long history of producing both Pu-erh and dian hong that we think dian hong should be reserved for tea in the historical since –  the traditional, small village teas made from forest gathered leaf materials.


On rested and aged Yunnan Dian Hong:


New harvest seasonal Yunnan black teas are delicious – but rested or aged versions of these teas can be twice as rewarding! Tea Trekker’s Yunnan black teas are plucked in various types of tea gardens – older plantation gardens and forested arbor bushes and trees (wild to semi-wild plants). Not all black tea ages well, but we find that hand-crafted teas from both Yunnan Province and regions of Eastern China keep and age wonderfully.

The bushes and trees that are plucked to make out Yunnan teas represent different generations of plants and are comprised of many unique cultivars found growing throughout the heavily forested mountain tea growing regions of Yunnan. These varietals and cultivars are broad-leafed varieties – known collectively as dayeh – that produce large, long leaves that reflect the richness of their forested habitat and the plants close genetic connection to the wild tea trees of Assam India – Camellia assamica. This habitat and size is one of the reasons why Yunnan black teas are so rich and full in the mouth.

Tea such as this offers the luxury of time as they will store well and maintain and develop flavor complexity for several years.  We love Yunnan dian hong and prefer to drink them when they have mellowed a bit – one or two years after manufacture. In most cases, the teas can be kept for much longer.

The key to ageing these teas is proper storage (cool and reasonable airtight – a ceramic jar is ideal) which will serve to underscore and preserve the inherent concentration of flavor elements that premium Yunnan leaf has in abundance.

Customers who try these for the first time are usually speechless, because these are truly delicious!  We receive positive feedback on them from a far greater number of tea enthusiasts than many other teas. They are shockingly fun, reliable and delicious.

Do you remember this lovely tea from many years ago?  The family that makes ours for us threatens to stop making them regularly, because they are so labor-intensive to fabricate, but recently we have been able to continue to obtain more of these delicious, hand-made, black tea leaf bundles from them.

The flavors will come together and deepen over time. The marbles are excellent to drink now but will continue to become so much better throughout 2021 & on for a few years!

Our Yunnan Black Marbles are quite an unusual black tea. Unlike loose leaf black tea, these uniformly-sized, hand-rolled & tied marbles require multiple infusions to release all the flavor that these bundled leaves have to give. We re-steep almost all Yunnan Black teas, but with these it is essential!

Fengqing County in Yunnan Province China is a famous black tea processing area in southwestern China. Unique sub-varietal tea bushes found in remote tea growing areas produce the perfect size and textured fresh leaf to hand-form and carefully-craft these delicious dian hong ‘marbles’.

Our black tea marbles are made with very tippy leaf and pliable buds. Being from a spring pluck, the marbles that we have right now are quite aromatic, and the taste has a striking, rich flavor. This taste, with its hints of dulce de leche creaminess, is followed by a tiny bit of malty sweetness and cocoa in the after-taste (‘returning flavor’).

Yunnan teas made from mature tea bushes offer the luxury of time as they will generally store well and maintain their complexity for several years. These teas mellow with age and will be best after 12 months to 24 months – heck, we’ve even tasted Yunnan black teas that were ‘just getting good’ 2 years after harvest. The key is proper storage (cool and reasonably airtight: a ceramic jar is ideal), which will serve to underscore the inherent concentration of flavor elements that premium Yunnan leaf has in abundance. These tea marbles will store extremely well, because the exposed surface area has been reduced to a minimum in the shaping process.