Some people think that the more the golden tip, the better the quality of a black tea. For a real connoisseur, however, it is the taste profile made possible by properly managing all the variables throughout production that matters. Don’t be convinced by the rich dark chocolate aroma of the dry leaves either. What matters is the round and complex body in the clear deep golden red liquor possible only with the first flush leaves from the deep mountains in Fengqing, the origin of Dianhong.
Strong aroma of dark chocolate in a smoky overtone. Flowery impression with accents of peach and honey. Light peppery notes. Clear, deep amber colour infusion with bright yellow brim. Smooth, flowery body with silky texture that can be dry when infused at proper strength. Malty undertone with pleasant bites of peppercorn. Clear citric accents and sparks of lemon zest dependent on infusion strength and temperature. Slow but steady sweet aftertaste with rolled oat overtone.
Gongfu approach yields quite a different taste profile from the conventional one. So does infusion temperature as well as infusion strength. Citrus level increases as the temperature nears boiling. Optimum between 95~90°C. Do experiment with this tea and see which suits your preference.
A little note about the cultivar for Dianhong
Although most Dianhong varieties and selections from Fengqing are produced with cultivars directly or indirectly related with Camellia sinensis variety assamica, the general taste profile is quite different from black teas from Assam, or the rest of India, for that matter.
Note also that the indigenous cultivars in most of Yunnan are of the assamica variety but very different from from production cultivars used outside of China. Locally, such cultivars are grouped under the concept of “Da Ye Zhong”, or Big Leaf Variety. It is a whole family of trees different from what are used in neighbouring India or Nepal, but related. Certain production cultivars in China have been crossed with plants from India though. Plant development in tea production is a crucial and ongoing process.
Taxonomy of the tea plant drawn in the early days when the West discovered tea needs quite an amount of work for better accuracy. Do compare the taste difference to discover the diversity and facts.
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