I wanted to thank this opportunity to thank the great people at Teagini for giving me the opportunity to try these amazing teas. Over the past few days, I have been able to try some of the most famous teas of China and it is all thanks to them
Da Hong Pao, otherwise known as Big Red Robe is perhaps one of the most well-known oolongs in China. It comes to us from the Wuyishan area of Fujian province. This is a scenic mountain area where the tea grows in between the 36 graceful rock peaks and a twisting river called Nine Bend Creek.
The teas name translates to “Big red robe” or “big red cape” and the story of how it got its name is even more interesting. The story goes that one of the members of the Ming dynasty was overcome with illness on their way to Beijing. In Wuyi, a local monk made him a tea from the leaves of plant on a nearby cliff. The traveler had a miraculous recovery and then headed to Beijing to tell the emperor. The emperor ordered these sacred trees be covered in a great red robe to protect them from the elements. Only a few of these original trees still exist, and the tea they produce is one of the most expensive beverages on earth. A single gram of the tea could cost $1,400, which is about $10,000 per pot. Most Da Hong Pao now comes from second and third generations of these plants, which brings the price down significantly and the quality is still very good.
With all the history and legend behind this tea, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Here are my tasting notes from the session:
The aroma coming off of this tea as it steeps is very dark and rich. It has a subtle note of earthiness to it as well. It is rare to be able to pick up on so much about tea just from the aroma. The aroma of this tea is quite unique, and I definitely am starting to pick up on the “roasted peanut shell” aroma that is often used to describe it.
The first sips are bold and earthy. There is a tiny bit of bitterness to the end, but it is still a very pleasant aftertaste. The astringency picks up towards the end leaving you with a mouthwatering feeling. There is just the slightest amount of smokiness to this tea. It is probably just tricking me into thinking it is smoky.
The liquor of this tea is an orange amber. Although it is actually on the lighter side of oolongs in terms of color, the flavor coming from it is quite powerful. In my opinion, this is a good mark of a high quality tea. Even just a subtle infusion of water produces a ton of flavor.
As the tea begins to cool off a bit, I am starting to notice a different flavor profile. The subtle sweetness begins to come out and I am starting to notice a subtle fruitiness to the tea. I have heard the flavor of this tea be characterized as “molasses” which I can definitely see.
This tea is almost a contradiction. It is bold yet smooth, earthy and smoky yet a little bit sweet. The flavor is powerful and yet there are subtle notes that come out a little bit later on in the tasting.
The second steeping of this tea really hasn’t lost much flavor. It still has the earthy notes and the astringency towards the end. I can tell that this is a vey high quality tea with a lot of flavor in it. You could actually probably convince me that this was the first steeping because of how flavorful it is. There is also a tiny bit more sweetness to this tea. Without as much of the smoky and earthy flavors to compete with, the sweetness is really able to shine through. This is an excellent tea and I really enjoy even the second steeping.
This tea is really amazing. The first steeping is dark and bold at first, but then as it cools down you begin to notice some of the more subtle, even sweeter notes. The second steeping is milder, but still has a complex flavor profile of its own. It is really fun to watch this tea evolve over time into a variety of different flavors.