Da Hong Pao Oolong: Famous “Rock Tea” of Wyui Mountains

Last updated: August 24, 2020 at 0:23 am

Da Hong Pao aka Big Red Robe Oolong is one of the most famous and expensive teas on the market.  This spring-harvested Wuyi Mountain oolong is popularly regarded as the ‘King of Tea’. Its characteristic combination of one bud and three leaves is charcoal roasted and oxidized for a unique balance of flavors.

The birthplace 

The Wuyi Mountain region in the northern part of China’s Fujian Province holds a special place in the hearts of tea drinkers worldwide. This is where the Da Hong Pao Wuyi Mountain oolongs are produced. These darker Chinese oolongs are grown in very limited quantities on rocky, mineral-rich terrain, thus acquiring the name rock tea (yan cha). Wuyi oolongs are traditionally well-oxidized and charcoal fire-finished.

Why is Da Hong Pao tea so expensive?

Da Hong Pao and other Wuyi Oolongs are often listed among the most expensive teas on the market. But while it’s true that the finest Da Hong Pao teas can cost thousands of dollars a pot, there are plenty of affordable variants that you can find online. Decent Wuyi oolongs can be purchased for around $50 a pound. If you’re wondering what the hype around these teas is all about, the answer lies in their source. The karst landscapes of Wuyi Shan are replete with minerals, which in turn are delivered to the soil by a range of mountain streams and waterfalls. These minerals impart a distinctive, hearty flavor to Wuyi oolongs – a flavor that only gets better with time. Antique Da Hong Pao teas are extremely rare and essentially priceless today, because there are hardly original tea trees left.

Tasting notes in reviews

Da Hong Pao oolong is heavily fired, rich, full-bodied, honeyed, with mineral notes and light smoke undertones. Its texture is interesting, “prickly and roasty on the tip and sides of the tongue” and “sweet and smooth at the back of the sip”. Its aroma “starts out earthy and musky”, slowly softens to a “dark fruit/malt flavor”, and “develops a taste of nori” by the third or fourth steeping. Many Da Hong Pao drinkers identify “bitter chocolate and seaweed” in its initial fragrance, which slowly mellows into a “fruity aroma like grape or plum”.

Tea tips

Like other premium Wuyi Mountain oolongs, the fragrance and flavor of good quality Da Hong Pao will be smooth and gentle – never too strong, sharp or burnt. This serves as evidence that the tea has been correctly baked or charcoal-fired. For the same reason, the tea leaves shouldn’t be too green (which suggests inadequate oxidization). The dry tea leaves should also be free from any unpleasant moldy smells. Another characterizing feature of premium Da Hong Pao is its ability to last through many infusions, gradually evolving in flavor and aroma. If what you smell and taste is weak, flat and unchanging, it’s probably not the real thing.

Try other Chinese oolongs. Phoenix Dan Cong and Ti Kuan Yin are some of the most famous.

Organic Big Red Robe

Organic Big Red Robe

Organic Big Red Robe oolong tea, also known as Da Hong Pao, is the artisan Oolong of California Tea House's Oolong collection. It is the finest grade of Chinese Oolong anywhere, hand picked for perfect color modeling and complexion. If you are familiar with Oolong, once you have tried Big Red Robe loose leaf tea, we are convinced you will recognize the difference in quality, taste and aroma to any other. Our Organic Big Red Robe Oolong is so rich, it can be infused (or steeped) a handful of times. Like having wine from different levels of the same barrel, each new cup reveals a new layer of this tea's complexity. Most of our customers have said they believe the 2nd round of infusion on the same leaves bring out the best flavor.
Da Hong Pao Oolong O.P. Tea Organic

Da Hong Pao Oolong O.P. Tea Organic

Da Hong Pao is one of the most famous oolong teas in the world. It comes from the famous Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of China. It is one of 5 ‘Rock Teas’, meaning the teas are grown in more rocky areas making the mineral content in the soil much denser. This is what gives the 5 rock teas their signature flavors. This very full bodied tea has a roasted flavor with a very particular sweetness to it and is reminiscent of baked goods or molasses.
Huang Guanyin (Yellow Goddess) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea

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Huang Guanyin “Yellow Goddess” rock oolong tea, also known as “105” tea, is a relatively small minority when it comes to rock teas. It possess traits of both “Iron Goddess” Tie Guan Yin as well as the aroma of Golden Osmanthus oolong, giving it a very rich and long-lasting fragrance. As a result, this tea is an excellent introduction to rock oolongs. After being lightly roasted on a charcoal fire five times over, this Huang Guanyin takes on a rich, fragrant aroma and gives a bright amber liquid, mellow and floral in taste. There is just a hint of bitterness within the first few steeps, but this quickly gives way to a sweet aftertaste that lingers in later steeps even with the dying taste of the tea. This tea’s magic lies in its unique aroma, different every time you brew it: sometimes it takes on floral notes, sometimes it becomes sweeter like milk, and sometimes it is even reminiscent of wine. For Huang Guanyin, tasting the fragrance is just as important as tasting the liquid itself.
Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea Fujian

Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea Fujian

This Wuyi Da Hong Pao provided by TeaVivre is a perfect choice for people who want to discover Wuyi rock oolong teas, or for oolong lovers that want a Da Hong Pao for daily drinking. This tea presents unique characteristics such as its rich, long-lasting floral fragrance and its smooth, sweet, refreshing aftertaste. Wuyi oolong tea, also known as ‘rock oolong’ or “yancha”, is produced in northern Fujian. The tea leaves in this family are long and curly rather than ball-shaped, and are more oxidized and more heavier roasted than their southern cousin of Tie Guan Yin. Wuyi tea is not a single tea variety; rather, it refers to all teas that are grown on Wuyi Mountain.
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Organic Oolong Tea. Long, beautiful leaves unwind and unfurl when steeped to release a smooth, rich flavor. A wonderful choice for educating the palate to the time-tested taste profiles that make our Wuyi Mountain Oolong tea so unique and refreshing. Our Wuyi Oolong is 60-80% oxidized, and steeps a deep golden hue with crisp and earthy tones and a slightly peppery..

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