Da Hong Pao

Easily the most famous wulong tea in China, what we know by the name, “Da Hong Pao,” is the product of three hundred years of innovation, studious agriculture, and fantastical lore.  Modern Da Hong Pao is a tea maker’s blend of leaves from bushes local to Wuyi Mountain, where wulong tea was first invented in the 16th century.Easily the most famous wulong tea in China, what we know by the name, “Da Hong Pao,” is the product of three hundred years of innovation, studious agriculture, and fantastical lore.  Modern Da Hong Pao is a tea maker’s blend of leaves from bushes local to Wuyi Mountain, where wulong tea was first invented in the 16th century.

 

The name “Da Hong Pao” (or “Big Red Robe” in English) is alleged to have come from a few different stories; some stories that say its tea bushes were so revered that they were cloaked in red robes by imperial officials, while others simply claim the name was a poetic description for the color of local tea bushes when dusk light is cast through their newly grown leaves.
Whatever the case, for at least the last century, the characters “Da Hong Pao” have been carved in rock beside a cliff perched garden in Wuyi Mountain. The few bushes in this tiny garden are the ancestral material for the modern Da Hong Pao. Through the careful reproduction, the most hearty and flavorful of these bushes, known as “Qi Dan,” began to be used as the basis for the blend that is known as commodity Da Hong Pao, starting in 1985. The yield of this bush is low, however, and it is now common for commodity Da Hong Pao to be a blend of Qi Dan and other Wuyi cultivars. It is judged that a Da Hong Pao blend should be greater than the sum of its parts, exhibiting no single character for any one bush, but rather layers of complex and pleasing flavors.