Dian Hong Ai Lao Mountain (滇紅哀牢山) is a Gao Shan Dian Hong, or High Mountain Yunnan Red, a black tea from Ailao Shan in Zhenyuan Yi, Hani and Lahu Autonomous County of Yunnan Province, China. Grown high up in the remote and unspoilt Ailao Mountains at an altitude of 2,000 metres, it is a fine example of a high mountain tea that is processed similarly to Taiwanese and Wu Yi Rock black teas. It is a First Flush tea, plucked and processed in early March 2020.
This Dian Hong Ai Lao Mountain is quite different to most Dian Hong teas, being less malty, lighter and fruitier. The farmer has a background in Taiwanese teas which is evident in the style of this unique tea. The levels of oxidation are somewhat lower, resulting in a light, sweet and fruity style of tea. Like with other Dian Hong teas, this one gets better with a bit of ageing!
It is always intriguing to see exchange of information, ideas and styles between tea growing regions. Needless to say that China is the dominant force in traditional ways of tea, however some farmers in China are starting to experiment with producing teas following ideas and techniques from other growing regions, such as Japan and Taiwan, with quite interesting results. This particular tea definitely reminds us of a Taiwanese style black tea so it would appeal to those wanting to try a new different sort of Chinese black tea!
The wiry dark brown leaves of this Dian Hong Ai Lao Mountain black tea have a bit of gold colour to them and a slightly malty and fruity aroma. It produces an amber liquor with a very light malty scent of eucalyptus and pine. You can see the lighter levels of oxidation on the brewed tea leaves – they still have a little bit of dark green colour in places. The light and balanced liquor has a slightly malty taste with a woody eucalyptus note. The flavours have fruity and stony notes with a sweet brisk aftertaste. The clean finish means this tea goes well with food and sweets.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3 times depending on your preference.