Dian Hong has been one of my favorite types of black tea ever since I first started drinking loose leaf tea. It is produced in the Yunnan province of China. Dian is a short name for this region and Hong means Red. In China, black teas are usually called red teas so that can cause some confusion for tea drinkers. Many of us think of rooibos, an herbal tea from South Africa, as red tea. Relatively speaking it is a fairly new tea for Yunnan. This region is most commonly known for its puerh tea.
The leaves are usually dark and twisted in shape with trademark golden tips. The amount of golden tips varies widely but this doesn’t have much of an effect on taste, it just makes them look pretty. I have to admit that I am a sucker for them. The taste is full-bodied but sweet with fruity notes that are often compared to raisins or dates. Some Yunnan black teas also have a yammy or sweet potato-like quality. They aren’t very bitter so this is a black tea that you can drink all on its own without milk and sugar. One of my favorite things about this tea is the gorgeous deep reddish-brown color of the liquor.
Dian Hong is typically brewed using boiling water and steep times are anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. For starters, follow the instructions provided by your tea vendor and then adjust to taste from there.
Photo credit: Wikipedia