Da Hong Pao
Da Hong Pao is possibly the most well known of the Wuyi Yan Cha teas from Fujian, China. The long dark leaves smell of roasted nuts, dark chocolate, and gentle char. This is a deep roasted oolong, but the aroma and taste is not of campfire and smoke, the char being mellow. Tasting the tea, there are notes of grilled plums, walnuts and charred walnut shells, bittersweet chocolate, and a finish of orchids that lasts as a lingering aftertaste. Da Hong Pao is a robust tea, full of nuances and character, each steeping telling its own distinct story.
Wuyi Yan Cha – the tea from the rocks
Wuyi Yan Cha, aka Wuyi Rock Tea or, more properly, Cliff Tea, is an ancient oolong tea (one of the six tea categories, halfway between green and black teas). Rock tea is produced in the northern Fujian province.
Wuyi Yan Cha are complex teas. The typical mineral savor shares the field with the strength from roasting and the delicate floral and fruity hints.
- ORIGIN: Dashuikeng, Wuyishan, Fujian, China
- MEANING: Big Red Robe (da hong pao)
- CULTIVAR: Beidou (first generation from Mother tree)
- HARVEST TIME: May, 5 2017
- TASTE: Char, mineral, faintly floral
- ROASTING: Medium (baked four times)
Authentic Wuyi Yan Cha is produced in the Wuyi Mount region, a UNESCO natural heritage site. The dramatic gorges of the Nine Bend River are surrounded by a largely intact subtropical forest and smooth cliffs of black-brownish rocks. The tea plants grow in narrow valleys, next to the cliffs, in a mineral-rich soil.
Today Wuyi Yan Cha is one of the most valued teas in China. Because it has become a status symbol, many wealthy Chinese are willing to pay a fortune for it without even knowing how a proper Wuyi Yan Cha should taste. The result has been prices inflating to unjustified level and quality often sacrificed for quantity.
Unique to the Wuyi Yan Cha is a mineral savor coming from the soil and the surrounding cliffs. Being the oolong with the highest fire finish, fresh Yan Cha may as a result be strong and pungent. Sharpness and too-prominent astringency subside upon ageing. Premium high-fire Yan Cha tastes better after a few years of storage. Use a Yixing teapot to soften the tea, should it be too astringent for your palate.
The overall tasting profile is rich, complex, and deep. Depending on cultivar and environment, the mineral-roasted flavor is refined by floral, fruity, nutty or woody accents.