Dian Hong Jin Ya (Golden Buds)

Black Tea 2016

Golden Buds black tea has a beautiful golden color when dry. This is because of the rich antioxidants and low level of chlorophyll in the early spring tea buds.


Tea Origin
Lin Cang area, Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
Yunnan Big Leaves Tea Tree

Tea Master
Bi Wen Lin

Harvest Time
early April

Picking Standard
99% buds

Dian Hong Jin Ya (Golden Buds) has a rich aroma, reminiscent of cacao. The flavor is smooth with a delicate sweetness that fills the entire palate. This is truly a remarkable tea.

Our Dian Hong Jin Ya comes from the region of Bai Ying, in Yunnan province, where it is picked in early April, when the year’s first tea buds begin to grow. Most black teas are made from leaves harvested later in the year and when oxidized and dried they are black in color. In contrast, young tea buds are a beautiful golden color after processing. This is due to the rich antioxidants and lower amount of chlorophyll contained in the young growth. The fine fuzz on each bud is a testament to the tea maker’s skillful handling of the leaves.


Yunnan Province first produced black tea in 1939. The Chinese government sought to move the crop from Japanese occupied lands to the east. Two great tea makers, Feng Shao Qiu and Fan He Jun explored Yunnan. They were searching for a place to create a production base for commercial black tea. They found the Feng Qing County in southwest Yunnan as an ideal place to start producing quality tea.  Due to the rich soil in this area there were already a diverse bounty of tea plants growing here, some of them very old.

Today there still stands a famously old tea tree in Feng Qing County, called “Xiang Zhu Qing Cha Zu.”  It is the largest and thickest tea tree discovered. The tree exists under national protection because of its botanical significance. This tea tree is estimated to be 3200 years old. The diameter of the trunk of 1.84 meters thick.


In 1958 the Feng Qing Tea Company first produced Jin Ya. Instead of using 1 bud to 2-3 leaves, they started picking only tea buds. Yunnan Province was the first place to make black tea from only tea buds. If left on the tea bush, healthy tea buds will open five or six tea leaves. Tea masters must be quite skilled to check which tea buds have these five or six layers of leaves packed inside. The tea master must control the oxidation process through every layer of the bud. Only quite skilled tea masters can do this. Black tea that is too oxidized will be sour, and under oxidized tea will be heavy and tannic.

Our Dian Hong Jin Ya uses fresh leaves, from the mountain surrounding Feng Qing County and Yun County. The buds get harvested at the end of March. The tea master will spread a thin and even layer of fresh picked tea buds on a bamboo tray to breathe for 3-5 hours. They are then placed in a wind tunnel made from woven wood or bamboo. Fans will blow air through the tunnel to wither the leaves for about 5-6 hours. The tea master will then fry the leaves by hand to remove about half of their water content. The tea is then wrapped in fabric and placed in wooden boxes covered with a thick piece of fabric to keep the buds warm. This will oxidize the tea in a natural fashion. The tea master must check the tea buds often, mixing them together to give even heat on the leaves. He will squeeze and smell them, judging by his nose and hands for when to stop the oxidation process. This is the key step of the process and must be me controlled to develop the tea’s aroma and make sure the taste is sweet, smooth and without any grassy flavor of unoxidized tea leaves.

No chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

Dian Hong Jin Ya (Golden Buds) brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass, porcelain, or yi xing clay pot
Amount: 1 Tbs of tea leaves
Water: boiling filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 3 minutes. The leaves are good for 6 infusions. Add a little more time for each subsequent infusion.