Dian Hong De Hong Ye Sheng (滇紅德宏野生) is a complex and rare black tea that grows wild in the mountainous forests of Yunnan near the border with Burma. It is made from a wild purple leaf varietal that is locally known as ‘Ye Sheng’ (野生) that grows at an altitude of 1,600-2,200 metres. This wild purple leaf varietal is normally recognised as Camellia sinensis var. dehungensis and is considered to be the ‘original’ purple tea. It is thought that this plant predates other modern cultivars of tea, including Camellia sinensis var. assamica that is a common varietal throughout Yunnan and bordering regions.
Normally this tea cultivar is used for making a type of raw pu-erh, however the nature of the varietal means that the resulting tea is very bitter and unappealing when young. However this type of ‘Ye Sheng’ pu-erh does age very well, developing complexity and becoming less bitter with time. Recently this cultivar has also been used to make some black teas, of which this one is a fantastic example.
‘Ye Sheng’ purple leaf cultivar should be distinguished from the two other purple leaf cultivars that exist throughout Yunnan Province. ‘Zi Ya’ (紫芽) is a naturally occurring mutated purple leaf version of Camellia sinensis var. assamica and accounts for only about 1-2% of cultivated assamica tea plants in the region. ‘Zi Juan’ (紫娟) is an even more uncommon cultivar that was developed in Yunnan in the late 1990’s. If you are interested in comparing this tea with teas made form other purple tea varietals, we offer a selection of purple teas on our website.
This Dian Hong De Hong Ye Sheng black tea has medium to large twisted and wiry dark leaves with a lovely aroma of sugared plums. When brewed this tea produces an amber liquor with a faint sweet and fruity aroma. The taste is smooth, light yet complex. The flavour is a little malty, but mostly fruity with dark red fruits, plums and prunes being the dominant flavours. There are cereal undertones of wheat and a tangy, a little spicy, yet sweet finish. Overall a rather light tasting tea that still has easily appreciable complex flavours.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3 times depending on your taste preferences.