Dahongpao Tea (Big Red Robe)
King of Oolong Rediscovered

What does Dahongpao tea means to ordinary people like you and me? An excellent AAA grade harvested from the Big Rock in June 2009.

dahongpao tea

Among all the Chinese oolong teas that exist, none is so hyped up as this King of Oolong.

What's the story behind this legendary tea? How can we, as 21st century tea drinker, repair our connection with the him?

The Origin

The word Dahongpao means Big Red Robe. The original tea plant is found in the Nine Dragon Cave, where the Six Tea Bushes reside today.

He is prized for its health-enhancing property.

According to a legend, a scholar fell ill on-route to Beijing to take the Imperial Examination. A monk cured him using the tea leaves plucked from the Six Tea Bushes.

When he returned later, having passed his the Examination with flying colors, he offered a Red Robe as a gesture of gratitude.

The Legends

dahongpaoPerched on a cliff, the Six Tea Bushes have lived for more than six hundreds years.

It is said that during the Cultural Revolution, policy guards kept watch 24/7, to safeguard them from the marauding revolutionaries.

When President Nixon visited, Chairman Mao presented him with 100 grams of tea leaves. When Nixon alluded to Mao's "stinginess", Premier Zhou explained such tiny quantity is worth half of Chinese Empire.

Today, the Six Tea Bushes produce less than 100 grams of leaves each year, all of which is retained by the State government. Only a precious little is seen or heard in the real world.

The first medallist of the Beijing Olympic 2008 was awarded Dahongpao. A 2002 State auction saw 20 grams sold for more than 30 thousands dollars to a restaurant in Guangzhou.

AAA Grade

dahongpaoBeing the most famous tea of Wuyi Mountain has many drawbacks, attracting not only a price premium, but also cheap imitators. I have found Dahongpao to be the most difficult Wuyi tea to source.

This AAA grade is the best high grade I have ever tasted. Grown in the Authentic Source, he is a second/third generation Dahongtea cultivated using the asexual method from the Six Tea Bushes.

First, rinse in hot water to remove the "fire".

The first brew yields a dark amber that glows with a luster. Take a sniff, experience the unique fragrance radiating out.

Take a sip, feel the smooth liquor passing through, with remarkably little or no astringency.

Feel the pleasant bitter aftertaste, which soon turns sweet and silky. Observe the charcoal fire around your tongue, and the lingering fragrance of Osmanthus higher up.

Imagine the feeling of yanyun - described in China as Crag Bone and Floral Fragrance.

The blend peaks at around the fifth infusions, with later infusions being more floral and less charcoal.

Test the limit of his endurance. It is said that at high concentration (20 milliliter per gram, or 6 grams/5 ounces cup) a Dahongpao tea can stretch up to 9 infusions.

When you are done, pour out and admire its wholesome leaves. Observe the colors and texture.

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