Guide to Chinese Red Teas

4 03 2009

Chinese Red Tea (Hong Cha) is known as Black Tea in the western world, but is also referred to as Congou by the international tea trade business. It’s easy to get confused, because Red Tea for us means Rooibos Tea from Africa and black tea in China is Pu-erh. To get around this problem it’s easiest to call Red Tea ‘Chinese Red Tea’, 

keemunQi Men Hong (Keemun) – “Red tea from Qi Men” a tea from Qimen County of Huangshan City, in Anhui province. Considered the elite of Chinese Red Teas. Appears in various grades for example Gongfu, Mao Feng, Hao Ya, Ji Hong. This tea has winey and fruity taste with hints of pine and plum and cheaper grades can be bitter. It was first produced in 1875 and was the first red tea that came from Anhui. It became popular in England as an ingredient of the English Breakfast blend.

yunnanDian Hong (Yunnan) – “South Cloud” is sometimes considered a gourmet tea, because higher grades contain ‘golden tips’ the fine tea buds. It comes in three grades Broken Yunnan – a cheap tea used for blending with fewest amount of buds, has a strong flavor. Yunnan Gold has a milder flavor, with some brassiness and a red liquor. Yunnan Pure Gold is considered the best of Dian Hong and consists only of golden tips covered with fine hairs, which are much lighter in color then the previous grades and produce a finer, sweeter liquor. Produced of course in Yunnan province.

lapsangLapsang Souchong – “Smoky Sub-variety” very different from other black teas, refered to as smoked tea because it’s leaves are smoke-dried over pinewood fires. Initially the leaves were dried over fire when tea damand was high, as it would speed up the drying process. It’s has a strong and smoky flavor and aroma characteristic to campfires or tobacco. This tea comes from the Wuyi region of Fujian province.

goldenmonkeyJin Hou – “Golden Monkey” from Fujian province. A celebrated tea of higher status, as consists of buds, but also has a specific appearace – tea leaves are part yellow part brown. According to a legend this tea would grow in inaccessible places, so monks trained monkeys to pick the leaves. The flavor of this tea is considered light, with honey notes and no astringency. Golden Monkey is the equivalent of Silver Needle among white teas.

yingdehongYing De Hong – “Red tea from Ying De” a tea from Guangdong province, with a cocoa-like aroma. Its best grade is called Ying Hong NO.9. This tea was first introduced in 1959. The rolled leaves sometimes resemble oolong teas, as they have a clumpy, curled appearance.

Ju Qiu Mei Hong  – produced in Hang Zhou in Zhejiang province, is a rare gong fu tea created during the 50s, has tight, thin and long leaves. has a dark color and a deep, rich and sweet aroma.

Ching Wo – a tea from Southern China, Fujian. It’s a deep, full-bodied tea with coppery infusion and light flavor and aroma.

Ping Suey – “Ice Water” a tea from Zhejiang province

Zao Bei Jian – from Sichuan province with a reddish liquor and mellow, clean flavor


GuidesChinese White | Chinese Yellow | Chinese Oolong | Japanese Tea




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