Yunnan Feng Qing Imperial Dian Hong black tea

Yunnan Imperial Dian Hong


Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist

Black Tea


Yunnan Imperial Dian Hong


Appearance: a truly gorgeous tea, comprised of very long 100% of buds and buds & 1-leaf. Golden-russet in color.
Manufacture: orthodox hong cha manufacture
Oxidation: fully-oxidized
Flavor: elegant, creamy, smooth, soft Yunnan flavor
Aroma: appealing burnt sugar aroma
Liquor: clear, chestnut-amber colored liquor


Feng Qing County, Lincang Prefecture
Yunnan Province, China

2019 Spring Pluck

Use 2.5 teaspoons (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:


This tea’s leaf is an open spiral, so it should be measured generously, and you should expect it to yield delicious liquid tea over several re-steepings. We suggest that our tea enthusiast customers steep this leaf in freshly-heated water 3 times and possibly more – it all depends on how long each steeping is and how you like your tea. The shorter the amount of time the tea is steeped each time, the more times the leaf can be re-steeped.

For iced tea lovers who drink their iced tea black and plain ( sweet tea this is not!), Feng Qing Imperial Dian Hong makes a rich and smooth, satisfying iced tea. We steep the leaf in freshly-drawn, newly-heated water 3-4 times, pouring each infusion on top of the last in a glass pitcher. After the tea cools down on the counter, we chill it in the refrigerator. This leaf is rich in amino acids, so will cloud heavily when cool.


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.

This is a classic, mouthwatering dian hong. What makes this tea so delicious are the small contributions made by many factors, but what is most important is that its flavor and style is unique and distinctive.

One of the first unique aspects that we liked about this tea is its enticing aroma, reminiscent of darkly-roasted coffee or bitter chocolate. While we have tasted Yunnan black teas that have had a preponderance of a biscuit or ‘burnt-toast’ aroma, this coffee-ish/cocoa aroma is much more unusual and quite delicious.

This is an elegant tea in appearance and taste. The slender ‘leaves’ are actually slender buds – sweet and delicious – that are each covered in a downy felt which signifies an early spring pluck. This tea will age extremely well and we expect to store some personally that we won’t even start to drink until a year to a year and a half have gone by, or even longer. Which is not to say that we won’t be drinking it right away; because we will be! Both styles of drinking are fantastic!

Southwest China is one of the original locations for the tea plant– and dian hong from Yunnan is one of our favorite types of Chinese hong cha. We especially like tea from the area where the Imperial Dian Hong is made – Feng Qing County in Lincang Prefecture. This area is famous for producing delicious and varied dian hong tea. Here, in remote areas, tea bushes thrive in the perfect climate, producing robust raw materials from many different sub-varieties of tea trees and tea bushes which yield distinctive teas in the tea factories.

This leaf is plucked two times each year – in the early spring and in the fall. This tea is made from local tea bush cultivars that send out new leaf that is generally smaller in size than that of other tea bushes growing in this region; however, the bushes that produce this Imperial Dian Hong pluck send up these elegantly long, large buds. The flavor of this tea has a slight leathery, smoky initial taste, followed by the familiar dian hong biscuit, caramel flavor and then the cacao and coffee-like flavor. Spring tea is light and sweet while fall tea is richer and mellower.  Not a bad choice either way!