Ying de hong, or ying hong, is a red (black, for us westerners) tea from Guangdong, China. All the sources I checked agree that it was introduced in 1959 in the town/city of Ying De. I don't know how I missed this tea; a few of the tea sites I frequent carry it, but I had not heard of it until recently, when Aroma Tea Shop offered to send me samples. Given my love for dian hong, I was quite curious and not a little happy when a rep from Red Circle Tea offered to send me a sample as well, ostensibly for comparison.
First up is the Ying De Gold #9 from Red Circle. The leaves are from a particular varietal that is crossbred from Yunnan big leaf and Feng Huang.
I used my standard brewing method for hong cha, 3 grams/8 oz for 4 minutes.
The dry leaves are attractive, long and wiry with khaki coloring. When placed in a heated pot, there is a sweet, dark grain-ish aroma that makes me think of raisin bran of all things. The taste is reminiscent of a good dian hong, without the maltiness. I get strong notes of warm honey. There is a thin mouth feel, but not as thin as a Keemun or Ceylon.
I also tried the brewing instructions that came with the tea, steeping the tea 15-45 seconds in a gaiwan. The focus of this method seems to be to on multiple infusions, the instructions say up to six. It produced a lighter brew, less intense flavor. I prefer my hong cha stronger than this.
The wet leaves remind me of Wuyi yan cha.
I enjoyed this tea, but to be honest, I think the price is a bit much for 2 oz.
The ying de from Aroma wasn't as pleasing over all. I have had it three times, now, and each time it was different.
The first time it kept shifting, reminding me of a keemun one moment and of an assam the next; at one point I picked up on a little fruit. The second cup tasted a bit like an "orchid" oolong I had once. The cup I just finished was fairly nondescript. Over all it never settled on any characteristics that set it apart from any other black tea.
You can see the wet leaves of the two ying de side-by-side for comparison.
I'd like to say thank you to both vendors for the samples. My curiosity is still piqued, and I'll have to try some other varieties of ying de in the future.