Da Hong Pao


TeaCha's Notes:
This higher oxidized Rock oolong will "rock" your world! When I first sampled this tea I was multi-tasking, the flavor is so incredible it slapped me in my taste buds and said, "Hey, pay attention here! Are you tasting my gorgeous flavors? I have a lot to offer." I am not joking, this oolong stopped me in my tracks. This tea has character! It is full flavored and robust. The charcoal roasting process makes this oolong quite complex. Because of the charcoal roasting, I highly recommend rinsing this tea for the first steep and throwing it out. The second steep will blow you away. Usually I steep oolongs around 195℉ but with this one I prefer to steep it at 200℉. I can't wait for you to try this jewel.

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Da Hong Pao or Royal Red Robe (aka Big Red Robe) is an oolong from the Wuyi park reserve in northern Fujian. The high aroma of this tea is one of its trademark features. One can smell the aroma from a block away from the small roasting facility. The Wuyi Park Reserve is on the small side producing limited yield. These teas are known as Rock Teas due to the many boulders in the park. The park itself has lots of bamboo and other greenery, with streams around many of the boulders.

Another feature for this tea is the charcoal roasting. It is done by hand over baskets. The following is an explanation from one processor: Though both electrical heating and charcoal heating can reach the requirement of temperature for roasting, the heating processing of them is very different. It is very difficult for the electric roasting equipment to simulate the way of natural charcoal heating, no matter in tea roasting or Chinese cooking. Reflected on the outcome, the Wuyi oolong roasted by charcoal heating gives a diversity of pleasant floral & vegetal flavor, while the tea roasted by electricity gives stiff flavor. Briefly, the slower, lower charcoal roasting method is time consuming and labor intensive, but the heat permeates the leaves more effectively, rather than just on the surface of the leaf. There is a palpable difference in taste: charcoal roasted oolongs may not give as much impact with the first sip, but they last thru multiple infusions.

There are two harvests, in May and in Sept-Oct. But to the resting intervals while roasting, the processing may take a few weeks. This step is referred to as “moving water,” that slow sequence of drying over charcoal and roasting.

Tea Trivia:

Da Hong Pao got its name when a scholar was presented with a grand red cape after completing his civil service exams.

Origin:
China

Ingredients:
oolong

Western Infusion:
(1 1/2 tsp (6 gr) to 6-8 oz water)
3 minutes @ 200℉. Recommend to rinse the first steep.

Number of Western Infusions: 2

Eastern Infusion:
(1 1/2 tsp (6 gr) to 3 oz water)
10 secs @ 200℉, add 3 seconds to each infusion.

Number of Eastern Infusions: 6-10

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