Zhongguo Hong (China Red)

Black Tea 2023

Made from a blend of the very best cultivars grown in the Tea Science Research Institute gardens in Fengqing. The blend encapsulates the notable deep forest wildflower character of Yunnan black tea. Its well-developed sweetness is a testament to the processing skill of Yunnan’s most experienced black tea makers.

After selling out immediately earlier this year, China Red is back. We’ve secured another small lot of it so you can taste this masterwork.


Clear selection

Tea Origin
Tea Science Research Institute, Fengqing County, Lincang City, Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
Yunnan Dayezhong (Yunnan Large Leaf Tea Tree) Heirloom Cultivar Blend

Harvest Time
Late March

Plucking Standard
One bud, one leaf

China Red is an iconic hallmark tea from the historic origin of Fengqing County in Yunnan Province. This was the origin of all black tea making in Yunnan. This tea’s maker, the Dianhong Group, was established in Fengqing in 1939, following which Yunnan would become China’s most famous black tea origin worldwide.

Their flagship black tea Dianhong Gongfu was nationally recognized as a tea for foreign affairs in 1958. It was presented as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II by the governor of Yunnan Province, He Zhiqiang, during her visit to China in 1986.

However, Dianhong Gongfu, despite its perfectly balanced excellence, is more akin to an everyday black tea for casual drinking. China Red is not.

Making the quintessential Yunnan black tea

Several people in white coats lined up along a tasting table covered in dozens of cupped teas and boxes of dry leaf for inspection.
Tea evaluation at the Dianhong Group in Fengqing County. Inheritor of Dianhong Traditional Craftsmanship, Su Xiangyu (right), led the development of China Red.

The Dianhong Group cooperates with 380,000 tea farmers from 25 ethnic minorities to operate 5,120 acres of tea farms distributed in Fengqing and Gengma Counties. Needless to say, tea makers have endless choices among leaf material when it comes to sourcing something special to make into a tribute-level sort of tea. At their Tea Science Research Institute, they have developed a large-scale tea tree breeding nursery with over 300 high-quality varieties from all over the country and have collected breeding materials from over 800 varieties. The research done here helps local farmers find the best Yunnan tea cultivars to improve both their sustainability and yield.

China Red is made from the meticulously tended tea plants grown at the Research Institute itself. It is made from a complicated blend of leaves from many different varieties of the best cultivars grown there. Expert blending is the Dianhong Group’s specialty, and it takes incredible skill to balance all the different flavors of each cultivar and to account for their variation year-to-year. In the case of China Red, the goal of this blending is to create a unique aroma that truly represents the deep forest wildflower character of Yunnan black tea.

A natural woven basket full of oxidizing black tea leaves, with its cotton cloth cover pulled back to reveal the leaves inside.
The careful oxidation of China Red is controlled by working in small batches like the covered basket oxidation shown here.

China Red’s accompanying remarkable sweet taste is a testament to the long-honed skill of Yunnan’s earliest black tea makers. For this tea, they fall back on old traditional methods of black tea making. Equipment made of natural materials like wood and woven basketry hold the tea leaves as they develop in the delicate yet critical oxidation step of processing. By making China Red in small batches, they can tease out Yunnan tea’s complex character for a tea that’s just a little different each year but remains highly consistent and exquisite.

Zhongguo Hong (China Red) brewing guidelines

5 grams (2 Tb) tea

12 oz 100°C (212ºF) water

3 min. first infusion

At least 4 infusions: 3, 3, 5, 8 minutes