Spotlight Tea: 2011 Spring Premium Yunnan Fengqing Black Tea

Fengqing County, Yunnan Province, China, is a part of China known more for its pu-erhs than its black teas (actually, to them this is a red tea as seen by the dark copper-red color of the liquid). This is a fully-oxidized tea (as black teas are), and was manufactured in the orthodox and complex dian hong style. See more information on Fengqing teas here.

This tea deserves a bit of your time. Start with the dry leaves (shown in the little bowl at left above. The leaves are plucked in early Spring from a sub-varietal tea bush with a smaller leaf size than other tea bushes in this region. The dry tea shown here consists of mainly full leaf pieces that range in color from tan to dark brown. They have a cocoa aroma that is very evident from the first whiff as you open the pouch they come in.

Here’s a closer look:

Time to start the steeping process. Use water that has been brought to a full boil (lots of bubbles roiling around) and steep some of those leaves for 3 minutes for a fairly light liquid or longer if you want a stronger flavor. The shorter steep time will all you to do two infusions from the same leaves. The flavor of this tea has been said by some to have “a slight leathery, smoky initial taste, followed by the familiar dian hong biscuit, caramel flavor.” However, others have described the flavor as “roasty with a quality like many fine raw pu-erhs” for the first infusion with “a hint of sweetness trimmed with a slight tang” for the second infusion. And another description is “the liquor feels light in the mouth and gives off [a] rich and complex aroma.”

Currently the two largest tea producing areas in Yunnan Province are Fengqing and Menghai counties which produce green teas, black teas, and pressed teas (pu-erhs). Black tea from this area was developed as recently as about 60 years ago. Fengqing County was proving to be a great source of tea and so naturally was a great place to begin. The first batch was about 67,000 pounds and was bought by London tea dealers thru the Fuhua Company of Hong Kong (at that time still under British jurisdiction) where it quickly became popular with tea drinkers, including the Queen. By 1987 Yunnan black tea was up to 20% of Yunnan Province’s total annual tea production.

This tea is now part of a special sampler pack so you can give it a try without a big expense.

See Fengqing teas here.

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
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