Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Well, the surprises from Yunnan never ends! This time I am reviewing a sun-dried black tea, and it is a thing. A traditional black tea from Yunnan is called Dian Hong, and it is made out of pu-erh material (big leaf tea trees). It is one of the most satisfying teas I have ever had. Dian Hong is processed according to traditional methods. Whereby the tea is fully oxidised and baked. Shai Hong literally translates as “dried in the sun” and extreme controlled heat is not applied to tea. The de-moisturising takes a long time and is very much up to the weather conditions from humidity to temperature. This makes a difference. Believe me. Firstly, the aromas and the flavours of shai hong is much deeper and pronounced or as Chao Cha Tea calls it ‘wild and warming.
Moreover, the chemistry of the leaves is also different from those that are processed traditionally (with exposure to heat). Similar to raw pu-erh, the enzymes and other microorganisms in the leaves are not deactivated. Therefore, the end product is potentially a living product like pu-erh, and one can expect that it is suitable for ageing. This black tea also solves the ultimate problem of black teas as it is ideal for multiple steeping.
This excellent tea was made from ancient teas trees about 300 years old. That’s why I called it Gushu Shai Hong. Woody, earthy, malt yet somehow fruity but without sweetness.
Dear tea drinkers of the West! You are in for a treat. You have a whole world of dark teas to discover.
Harvest time: 2019
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown and golden with some visible fuzz
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea aroma: Earthy and woody
Tea taste: Full-bodied, earthy, woody and fruity with no sweetness
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a teapot or gaiwan and add about 100 ml water at around 90°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10 seconds each time. You can steep this tea multiple times.
Shelf life: Can be aged