Da Hong Pao is a Chinese tea that I had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s unusual for me to review a tea that’s neither Japanese or green, but my appreciation for Da Hong Pao is too great to pass up this opportunity.

Also, for added expertise on Chinese tea, I am joined today by Yuting of Strawberry Vibe. 🙂

yuting of strawberry vibe

 

Background

Da Hong Pao is a high quality oolong from the Wuyi mountains. The name literally means Big Red Robe. According to tradition, this is because a Ming dynasty emperor’s mother was cured of an illness after drinking this tea. In return, the emperor sent large red robes to clothe the bushes from where the tea originated.

The leaves are a dark brown, and fairly large compared to Japanese tea.

da hong pao leaves

Brewing

Da Hong Pao is brewed in a radically different way to Japanese green tea, but it is easy enough still. To begin, you will need to rinse the leaves. Place the leaves in your teapot and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to soak for a few seconds, and then drain the water. This wakes up the leaves, as well as rinses off some charcoal residue from the roasting process.

Leaf: 6g/125ml
Temp: 95C(205F)
Time: 0:15 sec
Unlike Japanese green tea, Da Hong Pao is brewed at a near boiling temperature.

Also, the infusion time is only 15 seconds for the first steep. Beyond that, increase the brew time by 5 seconds, and keep the temperature consistent. It should be possible to get 5 or 6 infusions out of this tea.

cup of da hong pao
yuting pouring chinese tea

 

Thoughts on Da Hong Pao

As far as Chinese tea goes, Da Hong Pao has a strong flavour. The amber liquid gives off sweet aromas with a woody flair. The taste is smokey, yet smooth. Hints of a honey flavour are also present.

Interestingly, if you inhale after taking a sip, you will notice a subtle, sweet flavour still on your tongue.

Drinking Da Hong Pao will give you a warm feeling inside, and a strong desire to brew up another cup. Although it is on the expensive side, it’s definitely a tea worth trying.

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

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