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Recent Tasting Notes
Vessel – Porclain gaiwan 85ml (3 Oz)
Water – 95 Celsius
Leaf – 4 gr (2 tsp)
Steep time (in seconds) – 30, 30, 45, 75
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Dry leaf appears to be somewhat broken to 0,5 – 1,5 cm pieces with about 1/3 of stripped and casually twisted leaves that are about 4 cm in length. Leaf is mostly black with some brown hue on edges and stalks with intense roasted profile. Other than roasted notes there’s some floral and cocoa hints as well.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf fills the air with roasted notes with augmented cocoa and moderate floral notes when compared to that of the dry leaf.
Infusion(1st) – Liquor is medium brown with just a hint of red that can be associated with some black teas. Aroma of this Da Hong Pao is similar to that of Honey orchid Dan Cong, floral and roasted. With first sip a lot of floral impression is released with medium body and roasted finish and aftertaste as well. With this tea profile at least some bitterness is expected but none appears during this infusion.
Infusion(2nd)- Second infusion comes with more prominent roasted notes and floral whiff. In between sips some vegetal sweetness appears in throat (sweet pea).
Infusion(3rd) – With third steep comes a small decline in color and liquor seems more clear than from previous ones. Taste is also affected and it’s somewhat lighter while roasted profile gets more elegant and introduces molasses finish. After few sips liqour gives more thicker feeling as it rolls over the tongue.
Infusion(4th)- This infusion follows decline in terms of appearance and body but grainy texture and hints of bitterness comes into play as roasted and, now almost non-existent, floral notes fade out and leave room for minty fresh aftertaste.
Conclusion – As this is the first Da Hong Pao I had an opportunity to taste I really don’t have much clue as if this is a good tea or not. It served me well throughout four-five infusions, both with gaiwan and teapot but there’s almost a steep decline after second infusion. If I would compare consistencies of Dan Cong (from the same seller) and this Da Hong Pao, the latter gets outclassed by 2:1.
Typing note at the spot
This is currently my favorite black tea, head to head with delicious Dian Hong I tried recently. The only thing I don’t like about this one is that it’s pricey. That’s why I don’t drink it often and save it for some special occasions… not that much special though… you get the picture.
1st – 1m
Enjoying every precious sip of this orange-golden heaven. It reminds me of Bailin Gongfu, just like Tea Pantheon mentioned, but with additional lith smoky note and somewhat grainy texture without baked, sour-like finish that Bailin has. One can’t but notice a strong cocoa impression with molasses in background and nice puerh-y thickness.
2nd – 2m
Symphony continued. Tones have settled down a bit and I’m easily able to distinguish them apart, whereas in previous infusion I got a full-power punch. Palate seems to be coated with buttery bitter-cocoa impression lasting for a few minutes, without any evolution whatsoever.
3rd – 3m
A good deal of roasted notes has faded away, but for three minute steep this tea has a lot of character remained along with cocoa notes and grainy texture. My whole tongue has fell under tingling sensation right now with a light bite in throat that won’t let go. Amazing!
4th – 4m
I just realized that I haven’t paid much attention to the leaf and liquor. I think I’ll do that another time…
This infusion is actually SWEET with medium character and fading cocoa notes. Since this is my first time brewing it in gaiwan I think it’s still good for another one or two steeps until it gets into my ‘flat zone’. I’m getting more of coating on my palate than in previous infusions but this time tingling sensation spreads through out the entire mouth.
5th – 5m
Still sweet, almost identical to the previous infusion, light like a keemun. I can still sense some cocoa.
6th – 6m
I guess this will be the last infusion. It’s pretty much watered down with just a touch of sweetness but still present grainy texture and tingling sensation.
That’s it for this ‘at the spot’ note. I usually write down my notes and try to make some sense out of it later.
The second brewing added mellow depth to the tea. Reminds me much of Bailin Gongfu tea from Teavivre, less chocolate notes. I can smell osmanthus flowers and burnt sugar. Quite a sensation!
The more I drink this tea, the more I fall in love. And the price is astonishingly affordable. I am beginning to think that more expensive not necessary means better when it comes to teas.
The tea can be brewed at least 5 times. Stays beautiful to the very end.
Very good tea! I did not expect much from the Ebay vendor, but the price was right and I thought to myself ‘why not’. I was nicely surprised. What a tea! Extremely fragrant, with complexity of flavors rarely seen today. The first brewing produced nice orange color and aroma reminiscent of aloes wood. Quite a treat. Must buy more! But let’s see first what happens at the next steep.