How to choose good-quality Yunnan black tea (Dianhong)?

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Some tips you must know when purchasing Dianhong and tea-brewing skills.

pour boiled water into the teapot
pour boiled water into the teapot

Choose Dianhong step by step

1. Choose tea picked in Spring.

Generally, tea in the spring is better than tea in the summer and autumn. In spring the tea leaves are sturdy and fat, with rigid structure, good clarity, and even leaves. Summer rests in the rainy season. The buds and leaves grow fast and the internodes are long. Although the buds are revealed, the clarity is low, and the bottom of the leaves are slightly hard and mixed. In Autumn the tea is in the dry and cool season, the growth and metabolism of tea trees weaken, the body of the tea is light, the clarity is low, and the tenderness is not as good as that of spring and summer.


2. Choose a production area that suits your taste.

Dianhong has a strong distinct fragrance. The aroma is better in Yunxian, Fengqing, and Changning in the western Yunnan tea area, especially in some areas of Yunxian, the aroma is high and has a floral fragrance. The Southern Yunnan tea area is said to have a strong flavour while the western Yunnan tea area has a rich flavour and a fresh aftertaste.


3. Observe its shape.

Observe whether the black tea is uniform in shape and colour, with no broken tea or less broken tea are preferred, ‘broken tea’ is a reference to lower quality tea mixed into bulk out the tea.


4. Smell it.

Smell to distinguish whether the black tea has tones of charcoal, sourness, age, mould, and other odours. The ​​high-quality Dianhong has a sweet fragrance, and after brewing, should have a sweet and pleasant aroma.


5. Watch infusion colour.

High-quality Dianhong infusion is bright and clear, tea leaves after brewing are completely unravelled, uniform, and the texture is soft and tender; the infusion colour of inferior Dianhong is slightly dark, turbid.


6. Taste it.

Good Dianhong is easy-drinking, has a floral and fruity fragrance, is slightly earthy with notes of honey, and has a mellow sweet aftertaste.


How to brew Dianhong?

In theory, brewing tea is basic, it has two ingredients, leaves and water. While it may seem simple to do, it means the quality of each foundation helps your brewing stand out. Tea comes in various qualities, so to brew high-quality tea without good foundations it's effectively a waste of its potential.


1. Select the proper tea set.

To make a good cup of Yunnan black tea, the choice of the tea set begins the foundation for your brew. Before brewing Yunnan black tea, please choose white porcelain, or glass teacup, so that you can intuitively enjoy the process.


2. Select water.

Second, the water quality, and has a direct impact on the taste of the tea infusion. Mountain spring water, mineral water, distilled water, and purified water are better choices. Place a small bag or 3-5g of whole loose black tea in a vessel, pour boiling water, and place in hot water at, soak for about 15 seconds to drink.


Why is good water essential for tea brewing
the importance of water quality

3. Control of water temperature.

The temperature of the water used for brewing Yunnan black tea is also very important, not too hot or too cold. 85 ~ 95 ℃ is a good range. Leaving your kettle open for a bit, using a thermometer (recommended for consistency) are good tools. There are even specialised kettles that can achieve your desired temperature.


4. Control amount and time.

The standard ratio is 150ml: 3g, which means add 150ml of hot water to every 3g of tea.