My first excursion into Da Hong Pao. I brewed this pretty light, with a slightly higher ratio of water to leaf then I would normally use. The first infusion is hard to recall because of how much the tastes have changed. It had a lot of “roasty” flavors, a little more reminiscent of my favorite (so far) rock tea Tie Luo Han than say a more floral oolong. By the second infusion I was surprised to see that this took a huge backseat to, as Rishi says in the description, a “uniquely complex floral” flavor. The 2nd and greater infusions were much more delicate than I was expecting, but re-reading the Rishi description I see now that this is a less oxidized version of Da Hong Pao, so I guess it makes sense. I suspect I would be more immediately attracted to a higher oxidized lot, but only time will tell. By the 3rd infusion I started really feeling the after taste with a creeping sensation in the back of the throat, more so with this tea than any other I’ve ever tried. I’m going in for the 4th infusion momentarily! Next time I try this I’ll go more gong fu and use a lot more leaf. Right now I’d say this tea is super enjoyable, but I don’t see myself craving it daily. It is a bit pricey at $35 for 50g, if I were to brew this the way I brew my Tie Lou Han (~10g for a session gong fu style) it would put me at about $7 per session, which isn’t terrible considering you’re getting many infusions, but since I frequently brew alone it’s hard to justify a $7 session on a regular basis. I’ll report back when I try this again.
Wuyi Da Hong Pao
Wu Yi Rock Tea is a special series of oolongs from Northern Fujian. Wu Yi is the mountain range which is considered the birthplace of oolong tea, however not all Wu Yi teas are Rock Teas. Wu Yi Yen Cha (Rock Tea) refers to a variety of oolong teas from a small microclimate and soil type located within the Wu Yi Mountain range. One of the distinct properties of these teas is that they are grown in a soil that is rich in manganese, magnesium and potassium.
Da Hong Pao is the most famous tea variety from the exclusive Rock Tea area. Da Hong Pao means Big Red Robe, also known as the King of Rock Tea, is the original tea bush variety of Wu Yi Rock Tea. This batch of Da Hong Pao is more lightly oxidized and lightly roasted than usual, offering the true varietal character which has a pit fruit flavor and unique floral complexity.