2012 Fengqing Dian Hong Grand Golden Needle

This is an archived copy of a post from Cha Xi Collective.

One of the many treasures I brought back from the most recent trip to China, this tea is rich and savory. Not as bold as its less-tippy cousins, this hong cha has a lightness of body and character that would normally have me thinking of a white silver needle. It’s not surprising, really, since the leaves are all buds. All the delicious cacao and savory spices are there in the aroma and taste, though, to remind you that you’re drinking a Dian Hong. A perfect combination of body and lightness for a summer evening.

This tea came as one of many gifts from the Da Bai Tian factory in Fengqing. The owner of the factory was incredibly generous, feeding us and touring us around the mountains in that area of Yunnan. When she showed us the special processing of these leaves, I was in awe. All-tips teas are very difficult to produce. Not that there are many steps to their production – they are mostly just dried, skillfully aerated, and very gently fired – but that the leaves used have to be of a superior caliber and it takes many kilos of the green buds to become one kilo of finished product.

Naturally we asked if we could buy some of this tea and, as often occurs in these situations in China, we were politely rebuffed with the assurance that maybe something could be arranged in the future. We were happily surprised, therefore, when a hefty package of Grand Golden Needle was presented to us near our departure from Fengqing (one of the only cities in China where the main street is not called Ren Min Lu, “People’s Street”, it is instead called “Dian Hong Lu”).

After spending so many hours with our hosts, trekking to temples, tea gardens, and sipping tea, these leaves are infused with happy memories and great kindness as well as their rich taste.

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