Da Hong Pao (大紅袍) is a high grade Ban Yan Wu Yi Rock oolong from Fujian Province in China. Da Hong Pao is also commonly known as Big Red Robe in English. This is an expertly roasted tea that is bursting with traditional roasted flavours and subtle sweet notes of exotic flowers that compliment the mineral, stony character. It is a half-rock tea from Ban Yan, located just outside of the Wu Yi Shan National Reserve area. This particular lot is a blend of Wu Yi cultivars that was harvested and processed in late April 2020.
This Da Hong Pao is a ‘Special’ version of our Big Red Robe oolong. In our case this refers to a ‘superfine’ 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 also from Ban Yan. If you are looking for Da Hong Pao from the core Zheng Yan area, please have a look at our pure Qi Dan and pure Bei Dou versions.
The Da Hong Pao name can refer both to a style of tea as well as a tea made from a specific cultivar. When referred to a style of tea, this is a reference to a blended tea that must nevertheless represent the classic character and flavour famously found in Wu Yi Rock teas. The blend is normally made up of leaves from Rou Gui and Shui Xian plants with optional addition of other cultivars (Qi Dan, Bei Dou, Que She) to further improve the aromatic aspect of the blend. If the name is used to refer to a specific tea, this means that the reference is made to a tea made exclusively from the leaves of either the Qi Dan or Bei Dou cultivar plants. The vast majority of Da Hong Pao on the market will be a blended tea and the choice between a pure single cultivar or a blended tea is one of taste depending on quality, processing and personal taste preference.
Wu Yi Shan has three main areas of tea production. The main core area is known as Zheng Yan (正岩), while the two peripheral areas are known as Ban Yan (半岩) and Zhou Cha (洲茶). This lot comes from tea plants grown on the periphery of Wu Yi Shan in Ban Yan, rather than in the core production area. The teas from Ban Yan (sometimes Dan Yan) are also known as half-rock teas and they closely match the quality of the core area Zheng Yan teas. They represent a great combination of value and tradition; they utilise the correct cultivars and processing as well as a terroir that is closely matched to the core production area while still providing excellent value.
This Special version of our Da Hong Pao undergoes a more masterful blending and lengthier roasting from higher grade leaves when compared to our Classic version. It creates 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 tea before brewing it. 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. For best results brew gong fu style.