Big Red Robe Tea (Da Hong Pao)
- Big Red Robe Tea
- Scarlet Robe Tea
Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) is regarded as one of the greatest of China’s Oolongs. From the famous Wuyi mountain area on the borders of Jiangxi and Fujian Provinces, Big Red Robe is a highly oxidised Oolong, featuring twisted green-brown leaves. It produces a distinctive burnt orange coloured liquor with a rich fragrance and deep flavours that include notes of cocoa and flowers.Buy Big Red Robe Tea
Wuyi, Fujian/Jiangxi, generally regarded as the birthplace of Oolong.
Varietal: Da Hong Pao
Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) has been made in Wuyi since the beginning of the 18th Century and the production methods have remained more or less the same to this day: Picking takes place in the late Spring with a smaller harvest in the Autumn. Pickers select three or four mature leaves and the bud. Withering takes place under cover although sometimes the leaves are moved out into the sun to speed up the drying process.
The Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) leaves are then spread out on bamboo tables and turned over by hand before being shaken gently and finally pressed by hand. These processes are repeated until the desired amount of bruising of the leaves is achieved. By this time the moisture in the stems is driven into to the leaves and the tea is ‘fixed’ by firing to stop any further oxidation. Finally the tea is rolled and twisted and heated several times until it achieves the classic Da Hong Pao shape and flavour. Da Hong Pao is often kept and re-baked for ageing over many years.
Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) is known as the Emperor of Tea because of the complexity and depth of its flavours. Sweet, smoky, dried fruit and cocoa aromas predominate. The long, twisted, black leaves unfurl and turn dark green, yielding a clear orangey-caramel infusion. The flavours of brown sugar, chocolate and peach crumble, explode on the palate, becoming sweeter with every infusion.
Pour filtered or spring water at around 90 - 95°C in a Gaiwan or Yixing tea pot to brew Da Hong Pao in the Gongfu style. Use a good amount of tea, about a quarter to a third of the size of the infusing vessel. In China, a first quick infusion, known as a ‘wash’, is made to awaken the flavours of the leaves, and then discarded. Brew the tea rapidly: 30 seconds to a minute for the first infusions, gradually lengthening the time for the later infusions. Experiment with different amounts of tea, water temperatures and infusion times to find the way that works best for you. Always empty the Gaiwan or teapot of each infusion into cups or a serving jug to preserve the leaves for the next brew.