Dian Hong Gong Fu

Organic Black Tea 2018

Large leaves of Dian Hong Gong Fu brew to a bright red cup color and a flavor strong enough to take milk or sugar but nuanced enough to be appreciated on its own.

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Tea Origin
Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
Yunnan Da Ye Zhong Cha (Big Leaves Tea Tree)

Tea Master
Lan Xiong Xing

Harvest Time
April-May

Picking Standard
tender spring tea leaves

Dian Hong Gong Fu is one of our most popular everyday grades of organic black tea. The title “Gong Fu”, in the specific context of tea leaves, refers to the time consuming production of mostly whole leaf black tea. “Gong Fu” is not to be confused with “kung fu”, but has a similar meaning in the sense of the practice and discipline it takes to improve skill. While its history is short compared to other black teas, it is becoming very popular for its rich full bodied flavor and fresh sweet aroma. The large leaves of Dian Hong Gong Fu brew to a bright red cup color and a flavor strong enough to take milk or sugar but nuanced enough to be appreciated on its own.

Our Dian Hong Gong Fu is the best grade, made from un-chopped leaves that will ensure the cup yields has no bitter flavor. While most commodity black teas are a blend of chopped leaves harvested throughout the growing season, our specialty grade Dian Hong Gong Fu is made from young spring leaves. We purchase these spring leaves in late April before they go through the blending and chopping process. Though the highly efficient machine plucking method of harvesting does break a few leaves, selecting the spring harvest and not chopping the leaves results in a good quality everyday black tea that is made of mostly whole leaves with some broken pieces. This creates a spicy aroma and flavor, characteristic of Yunnan big leaf tea bushes. Mix this tea with herbs and dried fruit or enjoy as an iced tea in the summertime.

Making Dian Hong Gong Fu

This tea grows at an average elevation of 600-800 meters above sea level. Harvest occurs the middle of April, with a plucking standard of 1 bud to 2-3 tender leaves. Fresh tea leaves will be carried back to the factory where they are left to wither in the shade or under sunshine for a few hours to lose some of their moisture. After the leaves have been softened a bit, they are placed in a special wind tunnel made from woven bamboo or wood to wither further. The tunnel is about 3 feet tall and has three layers of bamboo with holes for wind to travel through. The leaves are set on the top sheet of bamboo for around 5 hours to remove about 50% of their moisture.

After withering, tea makers will fire the tea in a hot rolling machine to soften the leaves before they are kneaded. This is done quickly yet carefully, so as not to denature the enzymes in the leaf that will drive its oxidation. Kneading in a kneading machine squeezes out even more moisture and spurs on oxidation of the leaves. After this, large lots of tea is placed in a large wooden box, covered with fabric, and lightly sprayed with pure filtered water. In Yunnan’s warm climate, the tea can be left to oxidize slowly overnight without adding any artificial heat. This slowly finishes the oxidation process. During this time, the tea master will check the leaves every so often to mix and distribute their heat and also check the quality of their aroma and color. When the leaves have just turned to brown, the tea master will stop oxidation and send the tea to the oven to dry. They must be very careful to not over-oxidize the tea, otherwise it will turn sour. After the tea has been dried in the oven, the leaves are sorted by hand to remove untwisted large leaves and sprigs.

History of Black Tea in Yunnan

In 1939, Yunnan Province began producing black tea. The Chinese wanted to move the business of exporting tea out of the east coast of China (then occupied by the Japanese Army) to the border of Burma in Yunnan. Two accomplished tea masters, Feng Shao Qiu and Fan He Jun went to Yunnan to research the area for tea cultivation. They found that Feng Qing County in southwest Yunnan was an ideal place to start producing good quality tea. The soil in this area is red in color and nutrient rich, and was already growing a good number of tea bushes. They set up a factory and began to produce a large amount of tea.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

Dian Hong Gong Fu brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass, porcelain or yi xing clay pot
Amount: ¾ Tbs of tea leaves
Water: boiling filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 2 minutes. The leaves are good for 5 infusions. Add a little more time for each subsequent infusion.