Classification: Wu Yi Shan "Hua Xiang - Flower aroma" Da Hong Pao - Rock Wulong tea (oolong tea, blue-green tea)
Cultivar: Da Hong Pao, mixed cultivar
Origin: China, Fujian province, Wu Yi Shan, Tong Mu Guan village
Grade: Superior, Exceptional, Grand Cru
Leaf: Dark purply-brown large leaves, lightly rolled and very crunchy on touch! Aroma of cedar wood, dried apricots and pepper rising from the well roasted leaves.
Infused leaf: Greenish-brown hugely open leaves with an aroma of lilies, cedar wood and a bamboo and spice.
Liquor: Magnificent, clear orange cup with round mouth-feel and complex body. Aroma of lilies, bamboo and tobacco. The flavour is dense and diverse, cedar wood, tobacco, dried apricots and dates with a little hint of flint, pepper and bamboo at the end. Outstanding dry astringency.
About: Da Hong Pao is the most famous of the Wulong teas produced in the mountainous area of Wu Yi Shan, Fujian province. It originally grew on heavenly mind cliff, where there was a large monastery. The monks cultivated the tea. Now, there are only about 6 tea bushes left which are in a Unesco protected area which produces Yan Cha “Cliff or Rock tea” teas with no fertilisers, no pesticides and are plucked only once a year!
For many years, the extremely limited harvest plucked from these trees was reserved for China’s most elite tea drinkers, and was even presented to President Nixon when he visited in 1972 and to Dalai Lama.
The rocky, iron-rich soil gives a unique mineral-rich flavour to the tea plants during their growth process. The classic tea is now produced from clones obtained from cuttings of the six surviving parent plants dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
An Imperial favourite during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), Da Hong Pao carries a couple of famous legends.
The Legend of Da Hong Pao:
A scholar on his way to take the civil service exam stopped to brew some leaves plucked from a wild tea tree. He was the only one in his year to pass the rigorous test, and after being awarded his prestigious red robe, returned to the tea bush to drape the robe over it in thanks.
An important Ming official was sent to supervise the picking. He removed his embroidered red robe and hung it on a bush so as not to be hampered while climbing to the lofty branches, thus giving the name big red robe.
Yet another legend states that the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by tea made from these bushes. The Emperor then sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes in order to honour their greatness.
Some stories say that during winter the bushes were clothed in red robes to shield them from the cold.