Ying de Hong is a variety of Chinese black tea from the city of Yingde in modern day Guangdong province. Known by its full name of Yingde Hongcha in Chinese, other names for the tea include Ying de Black, Ying Hong and Guangdong Black. The tea when dry appears as a bundle of curled and dried black tea leaves that smell much like cocoa. When infused, the leaves turn the water a more amber color and the brew has a peppery taste with a hint of sweetness at the end.
China has a rich history concerning tea. Chinese legends hold that tea was first introduced to the region by Shennong in 2737 BC. Ying de Hong appears to have a much shorter history. While the tea may have been a family recipe for much longer, the brand and style itself did not become popular in Yingde until 1959. It is in this year that the tea was first mass-produced using machine and factory processes.
The black tea is often drunk straight with no additions. It can, however, be combined with condensed milk for those who prefer a white tea. The tea itself is prepared much in the same way as other more traditional hong cha. This means brewing the tea for around four minutes with the amount of leaves used dependent on how strong or weak the brewer wants the tea to be.
There are a number of types of Ying de Hong black tea. They all retain the same basic peppery taste with a sweet aftertaste, but have other variations. Sometimes these variations are done on purpose and sometimes they are because the same basic tea has been created by a different company and process. One source of variation is the type of tea leaf used to produce the Ying de Hong. Types of leaf include the Feng Huang and the Yunnan Big leaf.
Despite the different preparation methods, there are four basic steps in the creation of Ying de Hong. First, the leaves are allowed to wither, they are then rolled, fermented and fired. Traditional rolling occurs when the leaf is supple enough to be rolled without splitting it. Leaves can be quick-dried in the sun or left to wither in the shade to provide a fruitier and more refined taste. The latter method is used for high-end varieties, as it takes longer to produce.
Ying de Hong may be available in local supermarkets. If they cannot be found there, then they might be found in specialist tea retailers, import shops and in Chinese supermarkets. An alternative place for shoppers to find the black tea would be by using specialist online retailers and importers.