Heritage Beidou (Grand Scarlet Robe)

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Cinnamon, Mineral, Roasted, Cream, Dried Fruit, Roast nuts, Soybean, Tobacco, Wet Rocks
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Edit tea info Last updated by CharlotteZero
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 5 oz / 159 ml

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From Red Blossom Tea Company

So named because a Tang Dynasty scholar on his way to the Imperial examinations made tea from its leaves – and was the only scholar out of two hundred to pass the exam and awarded the imperial scarlet robe. In gratitude, the scholar wrapped the tea plant in those same robes.

Grand Scarlet Robe, or “Da Hong Pao”, is the holy grail of Wuyi oolongs. There are only a handful of mother trees in existence, producing scant kilograms of tea each year. Very rarely does this tea make it to the open market, but when it does, auction values can reach $900,000 per kilogram, as in 1998. As tea buyers, we search incessantly for tea trees that are the closest in genetic make-up to these rare mother trees.

In May of this year, we found a “Zheng Cong” grove in the Wuyi Mountains. The cultivar is “Beidou”, one that many in Wuyi Shan agree is the direct descendant of the original Da Hong Pao plants. We acquired several kilos of the tea, had it carefully hand-crafted using strictly traditional methods, and then took the result to our roaster to receive several layers of traditional “heritage” charcoal roasting.

The result is our best Da Hong Pao to date. The initial brew releases the intense toffee and caramel notes from the charcoal roasting. But it’s the balance of the tea that sets the Heritage Beidou apart from other Wuyis: at the same time rich, viscous, sweet, floral, fruity – each characteristic distinct, but balanced and in harmony with the others.

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6 Tasting Notes

417 tasting notes

This is another delicious Wuyi tea from Red Blossom. I prepared this gongfu style using a porcelain gaiwan. I would love to do a side-by-side tasting against come of their other Wuyi cultivars to find out why people consider it to be so special, but I only had a small sample and decided to appreciate it on its own and not to try to analyze the experience.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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6 tasting notes

Da bOmB diGGity of Da Hong POW! I can’t believe the sheer paucity of reviews of this great version of wuyi wonderful.

Whooo wee, that’s #1 Wuyi!

So precious, my precious, we keep this in a genuine tin.

I can drink a catty (or is it kettle?) of this for-EVAR.

Smoky complex chocolate hint of cinnabon-bons like tasting rich mahogany.

I do it in a bowl. I do it in a gaiwan. I do it in bed. =-)

It is a peace of Tao.

So when you’re pulling an all-nighter for those Confucian exams, reach for Beidouuuuuu!

Srsly, consistent flava breeds champions. We have a winnah.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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12 tasting notes

Heavy roast leaf. Medium sized, metallic black with hints of brown at the tips of the leaf. A lot of broken leaf too. Unfortunate. Dry leaf gives off a strong, heavy roast aroma with a hint of heavy metal. Brewed aroma is, unsurprisingly, typical for heavily roasted tea. Earthy, with some baker’s spice.

First brew is a somewhat cloudy brass red. First sip shows a heavy roast character. I think they used modern methods to roast this tea. It doesn’t have the strength of character I typically associate with traditional roasting method. There’s some baker’s spice, mostly cinnamon. It’s got a bit of sweetness to it, but not much. On the finish, the sweetness ramps up a bit. No appreciable minerality. Interestingly enough, there is a bit of a creamy flavor in the finish. Texturally, this tea is too thin. Throat feel is also lacking.

Ditto for second brew.

Third brew sees a huge uptick in minerality. Gaiwan aroma is thick with minerality. Color is also much darker. I think I’ve brewed through some of the roast. First sip is pure minerality. That quickly transitions into cinnamon sweetness. A hint of the roast still remains, but it’s purely as a secondary note now. Creamy taste is missing on the finish. I’m happy to report that the texture of this tea has improved. It’s thicker. By no means is it meaty or lubricating, but it’s still an improvement. Unfortunately, throat feel is still lacking.

So far, I’m not getting any cha qi effects. Nor am I feeling caffeinated.

Fourth brew is a disappointment. Minerality is significantly diminished. In fact, most of the previous flavor is either diminished, or missing. The only note comes from the roast. And even that seems flattened! The only bright spot is the texture. It’s managed to keep its increased viscosity.

Fifth brew seems to be a bit more even than the fourth. Most of the flavors are still flattened, but the cinnamon sees an uptick in sweetness. Other than that, there is very little change from the fourth brew.

For the sixth brew, I decided to increase the brew time by one minute. This is a pretty heavy steep for me. I’m curious to see how it changes the nature of the tea. Sadly, I don’t think it helped. Liquor comes out even lighter than the first steeping. Aroma is almost nill. Taste is dead. I’m calling it, this tea is steeped out.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Mineral, Roasted

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.

A beautiful, superbly balanced Wuyi Oolong. Deeply layered flavor profile, with complete harmony between all layers.

Flavors: Cream, Dried Fruit, Mineral, Roast nuts, Soybean, Tobacco, Wet Rocks

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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19 tasting notes

Damn good cup, not sure how to describe it yet but it’s rather smokey and smells even more so on repeated steeping (the first 3 or so are the most enjoyable taste-wise). Something about it reminds me of Lapsang. I highly recommend this one, even though I usually go for lighter, fruitier oolongs.

Edit: I get hints of tobacco, in a pleasant way, still trying to decipher the other flavors

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2 tasting notes

Excellent tea- balanced and rich. I love the charcoal roasting.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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