Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Char, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Leather, Lemon, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Plums, Popcorn, Roasted nuts, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla, Berries, Caramel, Red Wine, Roasted, Black Currant, Nutty, Tart, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Berry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cotton Candy, Grapes, Honey, Raisins, Raspberry, Malt, Musty, Apricot, Baked Bread, Molasses, Stonefruits, Chocolate, Honeysuckle, Melon, Wood, Bitter, Grass, Roasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Smoked, Toffee, Winter Honey, Toasted Rice, Vegetal, Creamy, Camphor, Dried Fruit, Spices, Butter, Smooth, Cocoa, Metallic, Soybean, Burnt Sugar, Oak wood, Rum, Smoke, Cherry Wood, Nuts, Walnut, Rose, Pine, Powdered sugar, Sweet, Apple, Chestnut, Wet Earth, Spinach, Tangy, Espresso
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Edit tea info Last updated by Patrick G
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 10 oz / 297 ml

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142 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea

It took Verdant Tea 4 months of sampling to find a Big Red Robe unique and delicious enough to really justify importing. This incredible tea from the rocky cliffs of Wuyi mountain offers a side of Big Red Robe that most people have never seen. Usually all you get is caramel, chocolate and floral notes. This goes far beyond. In early steepings, there is an intriguing sensation on the tongue, almost like the metallic vibrations of a bronze cast bell, or the idea of fast moving water flowing over slate. As the tea opens up, there is a perfectly synthesized note of orange and elderberry that dominates, and lingers in the back of the throat. In middle steepings, the elderberry orange flavor splits into fruity wine grape notes, hibiscus-infused dark chocolate, and molasses cookies with crystalized Thai ginger. In late steepings, the thick beany and malty flavor of Laoshan green comes through, combined with the lilac sweetness of Tieguanyin. One of our favorite aspects of this tea is that it was expertly roasted in a way that lets so much complexity come through the caramel notes of any darker oolong. If you are interested in oolongs, or seek a very comforting yet engaging tea, give this a try for a new perspective.

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142 Tasting Notes

32 tasting notes

Huh. Did I really taste all those things I wrote about in my last note? Or was I just unconsciously channeling things I read that other people wrote? It’s a constant fear when I write tasting notes, and I honestly don’t remember tasting so much. It’s been a while, and I just don’t recall the experience clearly enough to judge my last note as accurate or not.

That and…I didn’t get any of those flavours past steep two. I suspect maybe I need to use more leaf. Though I did use 5g in a 4oz Sado Nosaka kyusu (Hojo-ware I got back in Feb! Beautiful tea sheen developing and I’m such a proud teapot mama. BTW, remeasured it since the first few times I used it, so my previous note stating it’s 5oz? Erroneous.) So note to self – 5 grams is NOT enough to get me satisfactory flavour after steep 2.

I alternated between boiling water and 200F water, because…well, uncertainty. I second guess myself a lot until I “nail” it, and this is a tea with which I still dither. First steep? Beautiful maltiness with a whisper of chocolate and the toast-like flavour I associate with darker oolongs. Same with the second steep. And yes, I picked up the metallic texture, electrifying on the tongue and evoking burnt toast (not to a crisp, just browned to the point where it has the slightest edge of charcoal. I like my toast DARK sometimes).

But steep 3 and onwards? Not very much. Metallic texture and not a lot of flavour. I tried steeping longer and longer, losing count of what steep I was on after a while. 1 minute? 2 minute? Similar results. Switched to a 100ml gaiwan. Same thing.

The long and the short of it? I messed up. Not changing the rating, will try again soon.

Also note to self – stop reading what other people write before posting your own note, ‘kay smartkitty? Just in case, y’know?

ALSO. Anyone know if Hojo’s line of Sado Nosaka clay teapots develop similarly to zisha and zhuni clays? In terms of absorbing tea flavours, that is. The minerals in the clay already give the rock oolongs I use it for a smoother, sweeter taste. And don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I also love it when a good yixing starts giving back after absorbing tea flavours for a while and I don’t actually know if Sado Nosaka does that.


If the vessel does absorb flavor, then that might also account for why steepings seemed to drop off for you. The vessel could be “stealing” the flavor! That happens to me a lot with new yixing, for example. For really greedy vessels, it might take some time before they stop stealing and start giving back.

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709 tasting notes

Well, wow! I am not very experienced in oolongs, so please comment with any tips or advice to really get the most out of them. I found that this had strong cocoa notes, and a bean-like aspect. I noted that it reminds me of Golden Snail, and in general seemed similar to a number of high quality black teas that I’ve enjoyed. Done in my gaiwan and wee little double walled teacups. Excess tea used to “season” my tea feet (also from Verdant, love them!)

Steep 1 – Water cooled for 2 minutes after boiling, 30 second steep. Rich and robust, lightly sweet without any bitterness. I got chocolate in the aftertaste. Very enjoyable.

Steep 2 – Water cooled for 2 minutes after boiling, 45 second steep. Leaves are still very closed, liquor is light amber. This steep has less cocoa and is less complex. Still beany, very nice. The beau says it is “earthy green.”

Steep 3 – Boiling water, 1 minute steep. Leaves still tightly rolled, the aroma and flavour are slightly weaker yet again. This is nearly astringent, with a slightly dry mouthfeel. Cocoa flavour is back with a vengeance, the beau says this is his favourite steep.

Steep 4 – Boiling water, 1.5 minute steep. I found this still enjoyable but weaker than I’d like. This will be the last for now.

Very enjoyable experience, a wonderful tea to help break my way into oolongs. Thank you Verdant for including this as a generous sample in my order!


I got my wife the tea toad from Verdant, she loves him! Heck, I think it’s pretty safe to say we’re big Verdant Tea fangirls over here. Lots of love for their amazing teas.


Agreed! I feel very indulgent when I drink their teas, I don’t think I have any other teas comparable in quality (which actually makes me quite sad). It’s been a wonderful tea journey with them so far!

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2201 tasting notes

I reached for this one this morning because I’ve seen a couple of great reviews of it recently. To be perfectly honest dark oolongs aren’t really my favorite kind of oolong; I tend to prefer the sweet, fresh taste of green oolongs over the roasted flavors. I still enjoy them ok, but they just don’t blow me away… but maybe this one will. :)

The dry leaf smells sweet and leafy; not green, but no distinct roasted aroma either. Of course, after brewing that definitely changed. The scent of the steeped tea is roasty, toasty grains like the other Da Hong Paos I’ve had. The first thing that strikes you about the sip is less the flavor than the texture, which is bright, crisp, almost metallic, or perhaps the mineral sparkle of high-end mineral water. The main flavors of the sip are what I would consider toasted, almost burnt grains. As the cup cools, a whisper of fruit plays in the aftertaste, which I definitely enjoy. Overall after my first steep I’m left with an odd, dry sensation in my mouth. The second steep is definitely less overwhelmingly roasty, even brighter and more minerally. I’m left with the feeling that this is no doubt a fantastic tea, but I really just can’t appreciate it properly. Big Red Robe Oolongs just aren’t for me! If this tea couldn’t convince me otherwise, I’m pretty sure nothing can.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

The green oolongs are a little easier to drink and appreciate. :)


I think we have the same preferences for oolong. Yay green oolongs!


I know it’s a silly question, but I have no experience in Oolongs – would a ‘green’ oolong be more like a green tea in flavour? I have only ever tried one unflavoured oolong (A Tie Guan Yin) and I really didn’t have a good experience with it. I do have a very generous sample of this one at home that I should clearly be trying out, though!


Green oolongs can sometimes have that “green” or vegetal flavor from green teas, but I rarely find them to be grassy. Honestly I haven’t tried a lot of different kinds of unflavored green teas! Tie Guan Yins are pretty typical green oolongs, but I’ve found the flavor to vary quite a bit among the ones I’ve tried.

Charles Thomas Draper

Verdants Handpicked was the BEST


Charles, your past tense verb had me go check Verdant’s site, where I discovered to my sorrow that the handpicked spring Tieguanyin is indeed sold out! It wasn’t as little as two weeks ago, when I first tried my sample and thought about ordering some before it disappeared. Curse my procrastination! (And yes, that one was the best tieguanyin I’ve tried!)

Charles Thomas Draper

Past tense is correct.

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6770 tasting notes

YUM! All I can say is…
well…you’ll have to read it over at Sororitea Sisters
TOMORROW NIGHT at 6pm est!
This tea took me on a journey!

Charles Thomas Draper

I received this as a sample. I will take the same journey soon….

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300 tasting notes

I don’t usually have tea in the morning, it’s a shame really, but I wanted some this morning and I wanted it dark. I didn’t want to open any of the new Yunnans and I certainly didn’t want a Darjeeling or Nepalese tea. I thought about blending the last of my Lapsang Souchong with Earl Grey, no, with a hefty oolong. I pulled out this to smell, oh gods, no I must have you by yourself, now. And it is soooo good. It trumps all the Dan Congs, it reminds me of the Rou Gui and the Tung Ting this weekend and a little bit of Laoshan Northern Black and those are very good things to be reminded of. There is chocolate and cassia bark and roasted deliciousness and I’m only on the first 15 sec steep, but the smell of the leaves and the first cup were inspiring enough to write this. I will probable spend all day with this tea, I may not even eat (of course I’ll eat, I’m hypoglycemic and would pass out if I didn’t). I should note this was sent as a free sample about a month ago and is the "new"er crop, I still have some of the old one from February and would love to compare, but probable will not do a side by side today. Soo good though, so very good. Rating must be bumped.


Big red robe is one of my all time favorite teas, and the 2011 crop was amazing. I haven’t tried verdant’s version yet, but your post makes me want to try it. I’ll have to add it to my shopping list!

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4847 tasting notes

This is a beautiful Big Red Robe!

My first couple of infusions brought me flavors that were fruit-like (I tasted peaches and raisins), a little earthy and smoky, and hints of chocolate. A background of caramel and honey-esque sweetness appeared in the distance. The subsequent infusions were more floral, and the flowery notes tapered off to a tangy citrus-y note that lingered into the aftertaste. The caramel flavors really jumped out by the fourth infusion.

I also noticed in the later infusions that the flavors that were once raisin-like became more like currants, while the peach tones were more subdued.

A beautifully complex Oolong. I’m liking what I’m tasting from Verdant Tea.

Charles Thomas Draper

I love what i’m tasting from Verdant….


I can’t wait to try this one!

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592 tasting notes

Sipdown (127). I’m slightly panicking because I’m sipping down my Verdant teas, but I’m not allowing myself to buy any new teas until the end of the semester. Eek! Even though I only had one serving of this left, I decided to bust it out today because I had an essay and presentation today to wrap up finals for this quarter. Thank goodness for the lovely resteepability of this tea! See previous notes for my tea descriptions.

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39 tasting notes

Yum! This is so exciting for me because the little yixing clay teapot that I’ve been patiently seasoning specifically for Da Hong Pao is at long last giving back to the flavor of this tea. Gosh, I think it took six or seven extended brewing sessions for the pot to stop gobbling up so much of the flavor (greedy little teapot!). But my, oh my, this time the tea is just delectable, fascinating, deep and rich… And I’m only on the first steeping after the rinse! I’ve been holding off on writing a tasting note for this Big Red Robe because I knew I wasn’t really receiving it’s fullness until now. Hold on… [leaves to brew more].

Yes! Second steeping is soooo good. Oh, this tea is just getting started. Beneath the lovely light roast of this infusion I am surprised and wonderfully pleased to find an unmistakable fruit note that calls to mind luscious dark cherries. I love it! Aftertaste is rich and scintillating, a cooling waterfall mist floating in my mouth. And I can feel the tea generating a warmth further down, resting in the region of my heart, which is a fascinating contrast.

I imagine I probably would’ve been quite impressed with this tea earlier if I had started brewing it in my gaiwan, but I was really endeavoring to not get distracted from the task of feeding my teapot. I’m so delighted now that my little clay teapot is satiated, happy and generously sharing the bounty of this tea with me. I’m looking forward to many years of brewing Big Red Robe with this teapot.

I’m quite impressed by this tea, and I can see why it captured David’s attention. I’ll be very happy to make this my regular Big Red Robe. I have designs on a different Qilan Big Red Robe that I had the chance to try recently for brewing on special occasions. That one is in another category, and far more expensive, but it set my current benchmark for the best Da Hong Pao I’ve had the opportunity to taste. I’d consider this one the second best I’ve tried, and I think the quality to cost ratio of Verdant’s Big Red Robe presents a very high value offering.

Super good! And now I’m off to brew some more. . . .

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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59 tasting notes

Another strong new tea offering from Verdant.

Smelling the dry leaves, there are notes of sweet cocoa and cream, and in the background….well? Remember opening a plastic canister of Play-Doh? It sounds weird, but I definitely felt undertones of that distinctive, sweetly addictive smell (you are similarly and illogically drawn to eat this). Once steeped, the leaves and liquid remind me of the chocolate of a baked chocolate chip cookie, or of dark brownies.

My first tastes are actually more textures and sensations that flavors. The texture is like that of a smooth metallic sheet which is vibrating. I am reminded also of a river rushing of dark slabs of granite and slate. And yes, I wrote down that thought before I read that in Verdant’s description. Try it for yourself and you’ll see! How else can you describe it?
The taste is of Big Red Robe, definitely, but with more complexity than I’m used to finding. Vegetal, thick in movement, filling the mouth. Darkly floral, along the same unexpected lines I found in the YGB, and the aftertaste has the same mouth-feel of Verdant’s Tieguanyin. There is also something at the very tail end of a sip that reminds me of LaoShan green’s bean-y notes.
The flavors make me want to eat hibiscus chocolate, and the vibrating texture calls to mind granny smith apples. As the tea continues to steep, my notes include a “purple caramel” aftertaste. I know that sounds odd, but I am not sure how else to describe it. Alternatively, I imagine chewing on the skin of a red grape that has been frozen.

I wish that my notes were a little easier to follow, but after a while, I just stopped writing and enjoyed the tea. As I steeped this tea out over an evening, I found myself only writing down the most interesting and unexpected things that this Big Red Robe brought to mind and that I knew I wouldn’t remember clearly or believe when I went to log this properly.

Very fun tea, very good big red robe oolong. I think this will be a very popular tea (especially for the price), and I look forward to hearing what other people think of it. I look forward to drinking this through the fall and Minnesota’s long winter.Somebody bring me a slice of apple pie and we’ll turn on the Christmas carols early.


its so wonderful to read descriptions that draw into it the sensory feel that teas are so often made of that most overlook to talk about….its not just the light in the kitchen or the zen music in the tea shop, its the transformation that happens in the nose and the mouth that electrifies the senses and calls to each person’s unique memories….well done…and funny, I felt the same about the last big red robe I had…

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144 tasting notes

Yay, an oolong to relax with after a busy day…
The dry leaves smell lovely and woody and make me think of opening a really old book.

I did two rinses, then a two-second steep…

1st steep: This tea smells so nice! It’s super dark and almost chocolatey. The taste is the same way. The aftertaste is roasted nuts and campfire.

2nd, 3rd: The same, but a bit lighter.

4th: I think this tea is best hot. I let this steep cool a little too long and the roasted flavour is turning into a sort of cardboardy taste.

5th: I just looked through the other reviews and saw that someone compared it to a genmaicha. I could definitely see that! I don’t actually like genmaicha that much though, haha. I think I prefer a brighter kind of flavour? Maybe I could develop a taste for it. Now that the dark chocolate notes are mostly gone it just seems very toasty.

6th, 7th: There’s a sort of bean taste coming out now. I find it slightly less toasty, and more enjoyable.

8th: Finally I find the fruity notes everyone else is mentioning. There is a really sweet, almost creamy peachyness in the aftertaste. Definitely the best steep yet.

9th: There’s a sugary sweetness right at the front now. Such a change!

10th: Whoa. My first thought was sweet corn. Then after a few seconds a definite sense of burnt sugar comes out. Like, I can smell it and taste it super clearly. Trippy and delicious.

Overall I think this tea definitely got better toward the later steeps. At least, I enjoyed those steeps more. It was really interesting to see it change so much!


I like tea’s that turn my head around (or palate I guess would be a better phrase).

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