Da Hong Pao (大紅袍) is a classic Wu Yi Rock oolong from Fujian Province in China. Da Hong Pao is also commonly known as Big Red Robe in English. It is bursting with traditional roasted flavours yet it has subtle sweet notes of exotic flowers complimenting the roasted stony character of this high quality Da Hong Pao Special Big Red Robe oolong. This lot was harvested in late April 2018.
This Da Hong Pao is a ‘Special’ version of our Big Red Robe oolong. In our case this refers to a ‘super-fine’ grade (Te Ji 特级). We also stock a ‘Classic’ version of our Big Red Robe oolong, which is a ‘fine’ grade (Gao Ji 高级) tea. If you tried a Da Hong Pao oolong from our shop prior to June 2019, it would have been this higher grade ‘Special’ Big Red Robe oolong.
This oolong is amongst the most popular and recognised Wu Yi Rock teas, which are also often referred to by their English name ‘Bohea’. As historically the term Bohea used to apply to lower grades of tea, the preferred term for teas coming out of this terroir is Wu Yi Shan tea or Wu Yi Rock tea. Wu Yi teas are grown on rocky mountainsides where the soil is high in mineral content and the growth of the tea trees is much slower. This terroir results in a distinctive ‘rock’ taste that is prized amongst tea lovers for the characteristic profile that is stony and mineral in taste but featuring a long lasting sweet aftertaste.
There is also a wonderful legend that is associated with Da Hong Pao Big Red Robe. It is said that the mother of one of the Chinese Emperors was very ill one day. The Emperor was sent some of this tea, which cured his mother’s illness and restored her to full health. The Emperor then ordered Big Red Robes to be sent to cover the tea bushes that the healing tea originated from in a grand gesture of gratitude. Whether this legend has any bearing on reality, there are still six tea bushes, which are regarded as the original tea plants from the legend and are highly venerated. Of course these six bushes are highly guarded and Da Hong Pao is no longer plucked from these. Instead most of modern and authentic Da Hong Pao Big Red Robe tends to come from bushes that are cuttings (effectively clones) of the original mother trees.
Our Da Hong Pao Big Red Robe is a wonderfully articulate tea that has a distinctive profile with a classic ‘Wu Yi Rock’ character. The leaves are slowly baked during processing resulting in a ‘roasted’ or ‘charcoal’ character. This quality does diminish with time so some people prefer to slightly age their Da Hong Pao before brewing it. The dark leaves are twisted rather than rolled, which is a technique most commonly employed in Wu Yi. The liquor has a roasted aroma with floral hints. The taste is very long lasting and very comforting. The character is stony and mineral with a sweet aftertaste that has exotic floral notes running through it. A beautifully satisfying drink!
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste, brewing 4 or more times.