The locals refer to the Huang Jin Gui cultivar as Huang Dan (translation “yellow morning/dawn”). Red Dawn is a black tea by any reasonable definition, but what we call “black tea”, the Chinese call “red tea (hong cha)”. So this tea got the name “Hong Dan (红旦) = Red Dawn".
The younger leaf of the 2021 lot makes for a stronger, bolder cup without sacrificing too much of that peach/floral aroma of the 2020 lot. It was harvested on March 16, 2021 (six days earlier in the calendar year than 2020) and finished production on March 20, 2021. The material comes from the tea fields of Mr. Lin Rui Fu in Anxi County, Fujian Province. For those who like tea stats (and we do), it’s a 1 bud, 3 leaf plucking standard from the Huang Jin Gui cultivar growing at 2,400 feet.
The idea for Red Dawn came from our friend Daniel Hong in 2020 during Covid lockdown and is now a continuous experiment we plan to purchase in years to come. His signature move in the creation of Red Dawn is portioning the rolled tea leaves into 15kg bundles, wrapping them in wet cloth, and putting them in the sun for approximately four hours to oxidize. This little micro-climate softens all rough edges (there is zero astringency) and improves the aroma.
2021 Red Dawn steeping suggestions:
Western Steeping: 5 grams per 10-12 ounce mug, use boiling water, steep 5 minutes (or longer).
Traditional Steeping (adjust to your tastes):
Using a 150ml gaiwan or teapot, boiling water, and 8 grams of tea
- (optional) 10 second rinse - discard
- 1st Steep – 25 sec.
- 2nd Steep – 20 sec.
- 3rd Steep – 30 sec.
- 4th Steep – 60 sec.
- 5th Steep – 3 minutes
- 6th Steep – 8 minutes