Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Tasting: Imperial Dian Hong, Chinese Red/Black Tea


Recommended Posts

This is the second tea tasting of 2009 thanks to eGullet Society member Greg Glancy of Norbutea.com. This time we will be tasting and discussing an Imperial Dian Hong -- a Chinese red tea.

Greg has provided five samples of 10 grams each that I will mail to the five eG Society members participating in this tasting. While the tasting is open to all members who have posted at least five substantive posts in the Coffee and Tea forum, preference will be given until midnight next Monday to those who did not participate in the last tasting of TGY Oolong. Please PM me if you would like to participate in the tasting and discussion.

Here is some background information on Imperial Dian Hong from Norbutea.com. (Copyright Norbutea. Used with permission.)

Dian Hong translates literally as 'Yunnan Red.'  Dian is another name for Yunnan Province, named for the Bronze Age Dian Kingdom that was later incorporated into the Han Empire.  In China, what we refer to as 'black' tea is called 'red' tea because the infused liquor is a reddish brown color. 

This exquisite Dian Hong is hand crafted from estate grown tea from the Feng Qing area to the south of Dali in Western Yunnan.  The whole leaf and bud complexes from the tea plants are hand picked, processed, and rolled by hand into the needle shaped finished product.  It is a remarkably refined black tea with the characteristically Yunnan malty sweetness in the background, a pleasant and slightly drying astringency, and very little bitterness.  It is also quite infusible, lasting well beyond 3 or 4 gong fu style steepings.  For those who are unfamiliar with Yunnan black teas, the flavor is similar to the teas from the Assam region in India.  Whole leaf black tea of this supreme quality is almost unheard of in the Western market for black tea, so enjoy the rare opportunity to taste an incredible example of what skilled craftsmanship can do for the category we know as black tea.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...
Hope everyone will find their tea sample in the mail by today. I'll try to take some pics of the dry and wet leaf and the liquor tomorrow so others can see what we are brewing.

Mine is "trapped" at the local PO. I just have not had a chance to drive over there and fetch it. If I wake up early tomorrow morning, I'll try go get it before heading to work.

Even with all the teas I have on hand, I am looking forward to trying this.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got my tea yesterday and brewed up a cup tonight. Drinking it right now.

the dry leaf is long and thin. It made measuring it out with a round measuring spoon a little clunky. A scale would be easier. I used a little more than 2 tsps. Had to sort of eyeball it. Since this is a black tea, water was at full boil. Steeped for 5 minutes.

I like this. For me, it tastes like the way I expect tea to taste. It's very much like the western type black teas I have buying. It's full flavored. I really think that is what I like about black teas.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the dry leaves of the Imperial Dian Hong we are tasting from Norbutea.com.

gallery_7582_6392_50018.jpg

The wet leaves after one infusion, brewed western style for about 3 minutes in a 300 ml Yixing teapot filled with about 240 ml water at 208 F and 4 gr of the dry leaf pictured above. As you can see they are only partly opened and have several more infusions left in them.

gallery_7582_6392_75314.jpg

The liquor from the first infusion.

gallery_7582_6392_45458.jpg

Note: While very good, I would go 5 grams next time with the same paramaters for time, temp and water.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I got my tea yesterday and brewed up a cup tonight. Drinking it right now.

the dry leaf is long and thin.  It made measuring it out with a round measuring spoon a little clunky. A scale would be easier. I used a little more than 2 tsps.  Had to sort of eyeball it.  Since this is a black tea, water was at full boil.  Steeped for 5 minutes.

I like this. For me, it tastes like the way I expect tea to taste. It's very much like the western type  black teas I have buying. It's full flavored. I really think that is what I like about black teas.

Hello- Have you ever had Keemun? I always recommend it to people who describe their tasts the way you do and,at least so far, I have not had any complaints :cool: .

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello-(again)I brewed the Dian Western-style and I thought it benefited from an extended (over 3 min.) steeping time. I enjoyed it.Thanks :smile:

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to post
Share on other sites

What tea:water ratios and steeping times are you all using? Are you doing multiple infusions? If not, give it a try. These leaves will continue to unfold over several infusions. Even western style I have gotten 5 or more out of these leaves.

Link to post
Share on other sites
What tea:water ratios and steeping times are you all using? Are you doing multiple infusions? If not, give it a try. These leaves will continue to unfold over several infusions. Even western style I have gotten 5 or more out of these leaves.

The mug I use to brew one cup hold about 8 ounces. I brewed first infusion at 4 minutes. Second at 5. I didn't go more than that because I did this in the evening. Also, I find that multiple infusions aren't really convenient for me. Brewing tea one cup at a time seems cumbersome. Besides, the most I might really drink in any one setting would be three.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Up early thanks to the Nor'easter and, after making my wife a cappucino, I broke into the Imperial Dian Hong. (Thanks to Richard once again for setting this up and dispensing the samples.) My usual routine: 5g of tea, 400g of water just below boiling, 4 minutes in a prewarmed ingenuiTEA steeper.

The color is a deep reddish brown. The aroma is intoxicating, with a woody, rich base and smoky top notes. It's a cross between (idiosyncratic comparison ahead) deep Maine woods and the Russian dry heat saunas at Brooklyn's Sandoony spa.

The flavor is smooth and not at all bitter, a surprise since I'm used to that bitter edge when drinking a tea this black. I have to say that the flavor isn't as intense as the aroma for me; it's got the same elements but is more muted.

It's terrific, no doubt, but I'm not used to a tea that has a bigger nose than tongue. Takes getting used to.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I brewed the remaining 7 to 8 grams of tea Western-style today in a BeeHouse pot that holds about 22 ounces; water just at the boil and a 5-minute steeping. So far, I have re-steeped the leaves once with little loss of flavor.

Nice rich, reddish brown color; flavor is very smooth and rounded, though not as hearty as the typical Yunnans. I didn't detect much aroma while brewing or sipping. These whole leaves drastically reduce the amount of sediment that makes it through the strainer and into the cup.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is definitely a case of YMMV. Some of the individual responses to this tea are strikingly interesting.

Chris found that...

....................

The aroma is intoxicating, with a woody, rich base and smoky top notes. It's a cross between (idiosyncratic comparison ahead) deep Maine woods and the Russian dry heat saunas at Brooklyn's Sandoony spa.

The flavor is smooth and not at all bitter, a surprise since I'm used to that bitter edge when drinking a tea this black. I have to say that the flavor isn't as intense as the aroma for me; it's got the same elements but is more muted.

It's terrific, no doubt, but I'm not used to a tea that has a bigger nose than tongue. Takes getting used to.

On the other hand, the baroness found that...

I brewed the remaining 7 to 8 grams of tea Western-style today in a BeeHouse pot that holds about 22 ounces; water just at the boil and a 5-minute steeping. So far, I have re-steeped the leaves once with little loss of flavor.

Nice rich, reddish brown color; flavor is very smooth and rounded, though not as hearty as the typical Yunnans. I didn't detect much aroma while brewing or sipping. These whole leaves drastically reduce the amount of sediment that makes it through the strainer and into the cup.

Do you two have any ideas about the difference in your comments about the aroma?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to write more about the IDH today after an interesting cup yesterday. The nose was still there for me, same rich, excellent aroma. But this time the flavor was there as well: it was a much better tea.

There were three differences in my brewing. I used tap water from my house, not tap from my work. I brewed at a slightly lower temperature (didn't measure). And, I think most notably, I brewed for an additional two minutes. I can't explain baroness's failure to detect the same aroma -- and as I indicated, my experience with the smell was quite idiosyncratic. But my guess is that this tea benefits from a longer steep.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you are on to something, Chris. Changing brewing parameters, even a little bit, can affect the tea dramatically. As can water.

Have you tried using filtered water or quality bottled water? While I have only rarely gone to the expense of bottled, I routinely use a simple, inexpensive Britta jug filter for both tea and coffee. It would be interesting to see what happens with your tea brewing with filtered.

My experience is that taste and aroma may be affected by many other things...what I have eaten or drunk recently, residual soap or toothpaste, congestion due to a cold or allergy. And sometimes it's just an unsolved mystery.

I hope that sometime you will try gongfu style brewing with a Yixing teapot or a gaiwan for this or another good Chinese tea. I brewed this Imperial Dian Hong today in my little gaiwan and have had four very good infusions out of it, with several more to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the leaves were still in the pot from last night, I tried another Western-style steeping (#3). The color of the brewed tea is considerably lighter now, as is the flavor. If I didn't know what I was drinking, I would guess it's oolong...not a bad thing.

As far as parameters are concerned, I used Brita-filtered NYC water at all times.

I find it interesting that the previous tea we reviewed was highly fragrant but very subtly flavored, where this tea was the opposite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to baroness, naftal, jpr54_, jsmeeker amd chrisamirault for participating in this tasting of an Imperial Dian Hong red/black tea. And thanks to eGullet Society member Greg Glancy at norbutea.com for providing the tea. Greg has chosen not to post during these tastings, so as not to influence in any way the tasters' responses.

I'll start a topic soon for the next tasting. This time a cooked Puehr. And again, I'll make the 5 free samples from Greg available first to members who posted in Coffee and Tea at least 5 times and have not participated previously in one of these tastings. If you subscribe to the Coffee and Tea forum you will not miss it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      The Chinese noodle dish whose name doesn‘ t exist
       
      The dish is not new. It was just recently renamed. I lived in Xi'an in 1996-97 and the biáng name didn't exist then. Some restaurants still sell it under the old name - 油泼扯面 (yóu pō chě miàn). 
       
      And here is the Chinese "character" in question. It is just a marketing gimmick.
       

       
    • By liuzhou
      Following my posting a supermarket bought roast rabbit in the Dinner topic, @Anna N expressed her surprise at my local supermarkets selling such things just like in the west supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens. I promised to photograph the pre-cooked food round these parts.

      I can't identify them all, so have fun guessing!



      Rabbit
       

      Chicken x 2
       

       

       

      Duck
       

       

       

      Chicken feet
       

      Duck Feet
       

      Pig's Ear
       

       

      Pork Intestine Rolls
       

       

      Stewed River Snails
       

      Stewed Duck Feet (often served with the snails above)


       

      Beef
       

      Pork
       

      Beijing  Duck gets its own counter.
       
      More pre-cooked food to come. Apologies for some bady lit images - I guess the designers didn't figure on nosy foreigners inspecting the goods and disseminating pictures worldwide.
    • By liuzhou
      While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades".
       
      What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most of what you will see will be vegetables from supermarkets, where I can see the Chinese labelling. In "farmer's" or wet markets, there is no labelling and although, If I ask, different traders will have different names for the same vegetable. Many a time I've been supplied a name, but been unable to find any reference to it from Mr Google or his Chinese counterparts. Or if I find the Chinese, can't find an accepted translation so have to translate literally.
       
      Also, there is the problem that most of the names which are used in the English speaking countries have, for historical reasons, been adopted from Cantonese, whereas 90% of Chinese speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔ tōng huà). But I will do my best to supply as many alternative names as I can find. I shall also attempt to give Chinese names in simplified Chinese characters as used throughout mainland China and then in  traditional Chinese characters,  now mainly only used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among much of the Chinese diaspora. If I only give one version, that means they are the same in Simp and Trad.
       
      I'll try to do at least one a day. Until I collapse under the weight of vegetation.
       
      Please, if you know any other names for any of these, chip in. Also, please point out any errors of mine.
       
      I'll start with bok choy/choy. This is and alternatives such as  pak choi or pok choi are Anglicised attempts at the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin! However in Cantonese it is more often 紹菜; Jyutping: siu6 coi3. In Chinese it is 白菜. Mandarin Pinyin 'bái cài'. This literally means 'white vegetable' but really just means 'cabbage' and of course there are many forms of cabbage. Merely asking for bái cài in many a Chinese store or restaurant will be met with blank stares and requests to clarify. From here on I'm just going to translate 白菜 as 'cabbage'.

      So, here we go.


       
      Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
       
      This is what you may be served if you just ask for baicai. Or maybe not. In much of China it is 大白菜 dà bái cài meaning 'big cabbage'. In English, usually known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, etc.  In Chinese, alternative names include 结球白菜 / 結球白菜 ( jié qiú bái cài ), literally knotted ball cabbage, but there are many more. 
       
      This cabbage is also frequently pickled and becomes  known as 酸菜 (Mand: suān cài; Cant: syun1 coi3) meaning 'sour vegetable', although this term is also used to refer to pickled mustard greens.
       

      Pickled cabbage.
       
      In 2016, a purple variety of napa cabbage was bred in Korea and that has been introduced to China as 紫罗兰白菜 (zǐ luó lán bái cài) - literally 'violet cabbage'.
       

      Purple Napa (Boy Choy)
       
    • By liuzhou
      Yesterday, an old friend sent me a picture of her family dinner, which she prepared. She was never much of a cook, so I was a bit surprised. It's the first I've seen her cook in 25 years. Here is the spread.
       

       
      I immediately zoomed in on one dish - the okra.
       

       
      For the first 20-odd years I lived in China, I never saw okra - no one knew what it was. I managed to find its Chinese name ( 秋葵 - qiū kuí) in a scientific dictionary, but that didn't help. I just got the same blank looks.
       
      Then about 3 years ago, it started to creep into a few supermarkets. At first, they stocked the biggest pods they could find - stringy and inedible - but they worked it out eventually. Now okra is everywhere.

      I cook okra often, but have never seen it served in China before (had it down the road in Vietnam, though) and there are zero recipes in any of my Chinese language cookbooks. So, I did the sensible thing and asked my friend how she prepared it. Here is her method.
       
      1. First bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the washed okra and boil for two minutes. Drain.

      2. Top and tail the pods. Her technique for that is interesting.
       

      3. Finely mince garlic, ginger, red chilli and green onion in equal quantities. Heat oil and pour over the prepared garlic mix. Add a little soy sauce.
       

      4. Place garlic mix over the okra and serve.
       
       
      When I heard step one, I thought she was merely blanching the vegetable, but she assures me that is all the cooking it gets or needs, but she did say she doesn't like it too soft.

      Also, I should have mentioned that she is from Hunan province so the red chilli is inevitable.
       
      Anyway, I plan to make this tomorrow. I'm not convinced, but we'll see.
       
      to be continued
       
       
    • By missdipsy
      Two of my family members are pescetarian, one of whom is my picky daughter who only likes a few types of fish cooked in very specific ways so to all intents and purposes is mostly vegetarian. Many Chinese soup recipes involve meat or fish, or at least meat broth, so I'd love to find a few more recipes that would suit my whole family (I also don't eat much pork as it doesn't always agree with me, and a lot of soups involve pork so this is also for my benefit!). Vegetarian would be best, or pescetarian soups that are not obviously seafood based (I could get away with sneaking a small amount of dried shrimp in, for instance, but not much more than that!).
       
      Any kind of soup will do, although I'd particularly like some simple recipes that could be served alongside a multi-dish meal. But I'm always interested in new recipes so any good soup recipes would be welcome!
       
      Any suggestions?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...