Dian Hong Da Ye Assamica (滇红大叶) is a wonderfully balanced and flavoursome Yunnan Red tea from Simao District in Pu’er City, Yunnan Province. Made exclusively from large leaves of assamica plants, it displays a classic Dian Hong profile that has a fine balance between sweet malty and tangy mineral notes. This batch is from early March 2021 harvest.
Simao District has played an important role in history of tea, both in this region and in the rest of the world. The ancient Tea Horse Road was a trade route with the starting point in Simao, so both this district and the surrounding Pu’er Prefecture area have been growing and trading tea for over a thousand years. To this day tea remains the central crop and production of this region. Traditionally this area produces pu-erh tea, with black tea production in Yunnan Province only dating to around 1938.
Yunnan Province produces some great Dian Hong (滇红), or Yunnan Red teas. These are largely popular due to the flavour profile, having balanced and smooth flavours with plenty of full bodied sweet malty notes and lack of astringency or bitterness. The low level of tannins is attributed both to production methods as well as the actual raw material used for these teas. The native plant to Yunnan Province is the assamica plant, locally known as Yunnan Da Ye Large Leaf (雲南大叶). These plants have larger leaves than their sinensis cousins and are largely used for pu-erh tea production in the region. When used for black tea production, like for this Dian Hong Da Ye Assamica, they also deliver great results, having the usual Dian Hong sweet malty flavours that are nicely balanced by some mineral notes.
Dian Hong Da Ye Assamica is made exclusively from leaves of assamica plants, consisting of larger leaves as well as buds plus 1-2 leaves. The buds turn a lovely copper gold colour when withered, making for a very attractive dry leaf indeed. This pure assamica Dian Hong makes an interesting comparison to teas from other varietals in the region. Teas made from the Ye Sheng (野生) ‘Wild Tree’ Camellia sinensis var. dehungensis from Feng Qing and De Hong have particularly fruity profiles. The same applies to our Jing Mai Purple Needle from a purple leaf mutation of assamica, the Zi Ya (紫芽) ‘Purple Leaf’. Da Li Cha is made from Camellia sinensis var. taliensis and has an altogether different, complexly sweet flavour. And then there are Yunnan Red teas that are made from developed cultivars, such Jin Zhen Golden Needle made from Feng Qing #17 cultivar and Zi Juan Purple beauty from a recently developed Zi Juan (紫娟) ‘Purple Beauty’ cultivar. All these Dian Hong teas produce quite different types of flavours, each unique and exciting.
This Dian Hong Da Ye Assamica black tea consists of large leaves with buds that have been formed into long needles. The dry leaf has a very appealing and striking appearance with a lovely copper gold colour of the tips. The aroma of the dry leaf is that of sweet malt. The liquor has a dark, rich amber colour, a malty aroma and hints of cocoa. The flavour profile is dominated by sweet malt flavours, with notes of cocoa and molasses. The sweetness of the flavour is complimented by a secondary taste that is much more mineral and tangy. This lasts into the aftertaste as well, making this tea rather well balanced and satisfying to taste. This is an excellent everyday assamica that delivers brilliant flavours.
It is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste, brewing multiple times.