Da Hong Pao
This Da Hong Pao is made from Qi Dan, one of the two famous varietals cut from the original mother trees of Da Hong Pao; the other one is Bei Dou. It was baked three times over wood ashes for a total of 30 hours to give it the classic char aroma and taste indicative of Wuyi Rock Tea. The aroma of this tea with the char in the upfront, also demonstrate strong notes of molasses, raw honey and a dry woody note. Once the tea has been steeped, warm notes of loam, sweet plums, and gentle notes of narcissus join the notes present in the dry leaves. The mouthfeel is bright and a bit brisk, with a clear mineral texture, typical of Yan Cha grown in the Wuyishan protected area.
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: Ban yan, Wuyishan, Fujian, China
- MEANING: Big Red Robe (da hong pao)
- CULTIVAR: Qi Dan
- HARVEST TIME: Spring 2015
- TASTE: Char, mineral, floral
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.