Da Hong Pao (大紅袍) Big Red Robe is a famous Wu Yi Rock oolong from Fujian Province in China. This ‘Classic’ version is a fine grade tea that has a typical roasted character and a mineral profile with comforting floral and savoury notes. This particular lot was harvested in late April 2020.
This Da Hong Pao is a ‘Classic’ version of our Big Red Robe oolong. In our case this refers to a ‘fine’ grade (Gao Ji 高级) tea. We also stock a ‘Special’ version of our Big Red Robe oolong, which is a ‘superfine’ grade (Te Ji 特级). If you tried a Da Hong Pao oolong from our shop prior to June 2019, it would have been the higher grade ‘Special’ Big Red Robe oolong.
Da Hong Pao oolong is amongst the most popular and recognised Wu Yi Rock teas. These are also sometime referred to by their English name ‘Bohea’. As historically the term Bohea was used to apply to lower grades of tea, the preferred term for teas coming out of this terroir is Wu Yi tea or Wu Yi Rock (Wu Yi Shan) 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 features a long lasting sweet aftertaste.
There is a main core area of Wu Yi Rock tea production, known as Zhengyan (正岩), as well as peripheral areas known as Banyan (半岩) and Zhou Cha (洲茶). This lot comes from tea plants that are clones of original mother trees, grown on the periphery of Wu Yi Shan in Banyan, rather than in the core production area. The teas from Banyan (sometimes Danyan) are also known as half-rock teas and they closely match the quality of the core area Zhengyan teas. They represent a great combination of value and tradition; they utilise the correct cultivars, processing and a terroir closely matched to the core production area while still retaining an excellent value.
Our Da Hong Pao ‘Classic’ Big Red Robe has a wonderfully balanced Wu Yi Rock character with a good degree of the classic mineral ‘Rock’ taste. While our ‘Special’ version is definitely a bit more complex and refined, this ‘Classic’ version offers a great insight into a famous, classic Da Hong Pao flavour. The dark twisted leaves have a distinctive roasted aroma. They produce a dark amber liquor with a comforting roasted aroma. We always find that this tea is best after about 6-12 months rest from production date to allow the flavour to mellow and balance. The taste of this Da Hong Pao is brisk, mineral, with soothing roasted flavours. There are lightly sweet, floral notes, a touch of maltiness and a nice savoury and lightly metallic edge on the aftertaste. We also detect the slightest hint of tobacco on the very top notes!
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste, brewing 3 or more times.