Da Hong Pao is a very important Wuyi Oolong tea. Legend has it that the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that tea originated. Three of these original bushes, growing on a rock on Mount Wuyi and reportedly dating to the Song Dynasty, still survive today and are highly venerated. Less than one kilogram of tea is harvested from these plants each year, of which a portion is retained by the Chinese government. The remainder of this original and real Da Hong Pao is auctioned, with an initial asking price of 4000 RMB/100 g, but often reaching millions of dollars per kilogram. Cuttings taken from the original plants have been used to produce similar grades of tea from genetically identical plants. Taste variations produced by processing, differences in the soil, and location of these later generation plants is used to grade the quality of various Da Hong Pao teas.
It is one of the top ten Chinese teas and was once portrayed as ‘Royal tea’ as a result of its low production and rich flavor. Because it is produced in Wu Yi area’s rocky mountains, it therefore also belongs to a special group of teas called Wu Yi rock Tea. Its brew is lightly reddish brown in color. Terms used to describe its favor include fragrant, roasted, nutty and tenderly sweet, followed by a lingering after taste. A nice cup of Da Hong Pao is pure indulgence. As it’s of very high quality, the Da Hong Pao is usually reserved for honored guests.
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