This special dian hong black tea is one that is both grown and manufactured in the Ning’er County area of ‘Simao’, a famous geographical tea region, especially for the manufacture of Pu-erh. The tea plants grown there are from an old tea varietal that has only been grown in this area (for black tea production) for a few decades.
Ning’er County Golden Simao is a mao feng pluck (a bud and two leaves). Having been plucked from old tea trees, the overall large and beautiful size of these tea leaves shows the bushes’ direct lineage to the pure assamica tea plants that have such a wonderful history in Yunnan Province.
The tea is sweet with honey, sweet dried cherry and the deep floral notes of orchid and magnolia. There is a hint of chocolatey-ness in the background flavor. It is an aromatic tea, especially when smelling the re-hydrated leaves after the first steeping. ‘Four red fruit’ and dried fruit characteristics predominate, as well as its rich and creamy, mouth-filling sweetness.
This exquisite leaf will drink well now, and for many years to come, as we know from experience that this year’s tea is a ‘vintage’ manufacture. Put some aside and you will be treated when you open up your container in several years and your 2021 Ning’er County Golden Simao will have mellowed into an incredible ‘Rested & Aged’ tea.
We love Yunnan black teas, especially teas from this area. This county was formerly named Pu’er. However, when the city of Simao changed its name back to Pu’er City in 2007, the county’s name was changed to Ning’er for clarity. The moniker ‘Simao’ is still used as a region designation for both black tea and Pu-erh, because this is one of the most historically important regions in Yunnan Province for tea production. Somewhat similar to the situation with ‘Ceylon’ and ‘Sri Lanka’.
Ning’er County Golden Simao has yet to fully develop the cascade of buttery, caramel flavor notes that it will have in abundance after a year of careful storage.. With just a hint of raisin and deep florals showing at this still-youthful stage of its development, there is much to look forward to with this leaf. Buy as much as you can and put it in a safe, stable environment and you will have great tea for many years.
Even most ‘tea-resistant’ coffee-drinkers love this tea – and we know that it is just fine with a little milk, too.
But for truest flavor, drink it as the several local peoples in Yunnan do – plain. It is smooth (no astringency) and really quite full and rich in mouth-feel. It is most delicious and enjoyable in the cup now … or do as we have done and set some aside for further resting and improvement.