Results: A progression of flavors, this is one of those teas that is all about the experience. Transitioning from peaty floral to mineral oaky all with a touch of smoke, YS Da Hong Poa is excellent any time of the day, but I really enjoy it as a digestif.
Vendor:Yunnan Sourcing (use this link for $5.00 off your first order)
Origin: Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province, China
Tasting: 5grams / 190°/ 100ml / R10 – 20 – 25 – 35 – 45 – 50 (seconds)
Gong-Go Gear: Tangpin Ceramic Teapot
Average number of infusions: 5
Every winter whenever I wrap up my tomato plants to thwart a cold night in the desert I’m always reminded of Da Hong Pao or “Big Red Robes” oolong tea. In most cases, Yunnan Sourcing (YS) provides quite a bit of information about their teas, but that was not the case for this selection. Fortunately, there were lots of clues in the name they gave, so I put on research hat on and dove deep into a wealth of information available on the web.
According to legend, an emperor’s mother was cured of an illness by drinking tea from four specific tea bushes. In gratitude, the emperor sent red robes to cover and protect them, giving this tea their name.
For the uninitiated, YS also gave us some other clues as to its origins. The broadest category is found at the end: Wu Yi Shan Rock. Also know as Yancha or “Rock Tea,” Wuyi teas are famous for their special terroir which lends a unique minerality to the flavor profile of tea produced in the region and had developed four very famous teas. Called Si Da Ming Cong or “Four Big Famous Bushes” along with Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robes) they include Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle), Tie Luo Han (Iron Monk/Warrior/Arhat), and Bai Ji Guan (White Cocks Comb).
Due to its increasing popularity in the west, most Da Hong Poa is plucked as three slightly open leaves from Qi Dan and blended with other Wuyi cultivars. I can’t say for sure if this tea is a blend or not, but since YS did not name any particular grower or garden I’m going to assume so.
Probably one of my favorite teas, Da Hong Pao starts off peaty with undertones of smoke, and some floral notes. This is one of those teas that you really notice a progression of flavors as later infusions transitioned to more mineral and oak tones. I absolutely adore it and it’s one of my go-to digestifs. I was very pleased with this offering by Yunnan Sourcing and gave it 5-stars.
Peaty with hints of leather, stone, and wildflowers
Uniform whole leaves
Red gold with a rich aroma of peach cobbler and molasses
Complex transitioning from smokey woodland notes to mineral
Mildly viscous with a refreshing finish
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 1 :
Lovely notes of smokey peat and woodland flowers
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 2 – 3:
A delicious balance of wet stone and smoky oak
Gong-Go Rating Infusion 4 – 5:
Wonderfully mineral and tongue tingling