I’ve only had Da Hong Pao one other time from a tea house in Seattle. I don’t recall liking it too much then but I thought I’d give it another shot since the first time it wasn’t brewed in my preferred gong fu method. Also, I’ve heard so many good things about this tea I knew there was something I was missing. I’m brewing this tea in a small Gaiwan in the traditional gong fu style. The first infusion is 30 sec at 87 degrees C. The second and third were 12 sec long. The fourth infusion was about 30 sec and the fifth was 45 sec long. On appearance this tea looks to me like it has been aged or has a loose Pu-erh likeness. It smells deeply roasted like a campfire with charcoal. The leaves are very dark brown, almost black and when they are wet they show highlights of color from yellow to green. The taste is smooth with no hints of astringency. I detect caramelized sugar, with chocolate and coffee undertones. It also has a very nice echo that I can taste even between infusions.
8 Tasting Notes
I’ve had several “Dan Cong” oolongs before. This one is very good. It has been well roasted and oxidized with a hint of sweetness. Normally I would have rated it higher but I’ve had a private reserve version of this tea from a different vendor that is far superior.
I used a Gaiwan to brew this tea in the Gong Fu method. I used a generous amount of tea, probably close to 5 or 6 grams. First infusion was about 30 sec and tasted very green and like spinach which is typical in the first steeping of high mountain oolongs such as this in my experience. Probably is also why a lot of people discard their first steeping, however I enjoy tasting the tea changing so I prefer to drink it anyways. The second infusion through the fourth infusion were 12 sec long and very dramatic in terms of flavor. The spinach taste quickly faded into a burst of floral and fruity flavors. Very buttery with lots of texture. I’ve been drinking Taiwanese high mountain oolongs for years and this one compares with the best of them.
As far as peppermint goes, this has the flavor of peppermint but it isn’t fresh. More like dry, stale and life-less. I’m severely disappointed with this tea and if hadn’t have been so cheap I probably would have expected more or at least my money back. It is so fine that you have to use a tea bag or a strainer with tiny holes. Even then there is a lot of sediment that comes through in the tea.
Rooibos is not bad as far as tisanes go. This particular one is sweet and comforting with tropical flavors (passion fruit, peach, etc). A perfect evening uplifter.
In a pinch this tea isn’t the worst tea I’ve ever had, especially considered it is mostly dust and shake, shoved into a tea bag. It is lighter than most of the black teas in its category and I can detect the faint (very faint) profile of darjeeling but you really have to focus on the taste to pick it up.
This tea tastes of rose and honey. It is slightly astringent because it is closer to black tea than most Oolongs. It is a “twisted leaf” style Oolong and is fairly tippy.
This tea, brewed gongfu style can hold up to between five and seven infusions. The leaves are deep, rich green and are full from tip of the leaf to stem. The aroma is intense and the flavor fills the mouth with each sip. I can still taste this tea long after it is down my throat.