Tea Trekker’s Sweet Tips of Simao is the latest in our series of incredible Yunnan dian hong teas from the superb tea-growing regions of South-West China.
We are quite pleased with the 2020 harvest tea that we have now, and it will only get better with time if we can be patient and allow it do have a bit of ‘resting’, As is true for so many Yunnan black teas, it will develop deeper flavor and more nuance if left for a half year or more, up to two years +/-. This harvest should drink well through 2022, but it also could age well for much longer … although it is doubtful that any of us will keep it that long!
Call us crazy, but we have been unable to resist very many of the delicious teas that have come out of this historic tea-producing area over the last several years. Many years ago, early on in our experience in the tea business, it was exciting to have one type of Yunnan black tea –but now we offer a cornucopia of styles and flavors of Yunnan dian hong. We have become serious cheerleaders for the teas from this beautifully diverse and tea-friendly region.
This dian hong / hong cha is from the Simao region – a region that is known to Pu-erh lovers as a mountainous place that produces high-grade fresh leaf from indigenous tea bush cultivars, which is then turned into fantastic tea of several classic types, most famously Pu-erh and black. Whether harvested from old plantings or new, the leaf from this region has a special taste quality that yields many delicious types of both Pu-erh and hong cha (known here locally as dian hong). It wasn’t that long ago, although it seems that it was, that it took us days (and some ‘Indiana Jones-style’ travel, to get to these ‘remote’ tea gardens; now it is much easier and access is much more common. We are not sure whether this is better, as it has led to new problems, but it certainly helps get the tea to us more quickly…
Sweet Tips of Simao has similar undertones to that of a late season, large-leaf Himalaya black tea such as our Dark Heart – it is very smooth and clean. It has the straight-forward crispness of some eastern China hong cha, but with more softness and backbone, and no astringency. This incredible Yunnan tea has similarities with a Darjeeling 2nd Flush tea in that it has a focused and direct flavor. There are some caramel notes that typify Yunnan black tea and also a touch of cinnamon that show a well-controlled, and modest, oxidation.
Our Sweet Tips of Simao is likely the least typical of the Yunnan blacks that we have ever offered, but we think that this 2020 Simao harvest is worthy of your attention. If you appreciate the Wu Yi rock oolongs such as Rou Gui, with its spicy, cinnamon-dry finish then you will love this tea. Make no mistake, this tea is full-bodied and very complex in the top-notes – it will be accommodating to most any preparation and style of serving. But if you want to enjoy the classic dian hong Yunnan caramel-honeyed flavor that other of our Yunnan selections offer, then this is not the tea for you. However, if you are interested in stretching a little and trying a tea that is totally unique, this tea is it.
Measurement of these small buds is not challenging at all. As with many Yunnan black teas, this tea may be re-steeped successfully with fresh water, depending on the length of time of the first steeping.