This tea borders on black tea. It has a distinct slightly coffee like flavor, but is not as harsh on coffee. It does have a bit of a bitter finish, but nothing that I cant stand. If you like your oolongs dark this is the tea to try.
Da Hong Pao is as oxidized as an Oolong ever is. At 80% oxidation, it looks like a black tea, only the leaves are HUGE. The Da Hong Pao varietal tea plant is pruned to a single trunk and the freshly-plucked leaves are much larger in size than almost any other tea of any style. Oolong teas are generally plucked from particular cultivars that are conducive to the oolong being processed. Tieguanyin, Rou Gui, and Da Hong Pao are perfect examples of this phenomenon.
This vintage Da Hong Pao is unique because of the time it has spent maturing in perfect tea-storage conditions. Similar to Pu-erh, some oolong teas benefit from “resting” or “maturing”, provided that conditions are monitored and are conducive to improvement in the taste of the steeped tea. Supply is extremely limited, but we expect that, over the next several years, “aged oolongs” will become quite popular.
Da Hong Pao has a clear, fresh taste somewhat reminiscent of black or white tea, but with the lush mouthfeel that reminds the drinker that it is an exceptional oolong.
It is available in limited quantities, so is a bit more expensive than some teas; however, on a per-cup basis it is far less money than a cup of Salada costs in a diner.
So treat yourself to one of life’s finest oolong teas and drink up!
Because of the exposed surface area of the open-twist leaf style, I find that Da Hong Pao can be infused 3 or perhaps 4 times at normal Oolong-steeping temperature. Due to its high oxidation it can also tolerate water that is a little hotter.
Steep 2-5 infusions at 30-90 seconds each
or 1-3 infusions at 2-3 minutes each.
Water temperature should be 185° – 195° F
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