Before anything else, it is important to say that this is pure Qi Dan cultivar Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) which is far superior in my mind to the blended Da Hong Pao out there made primarily from Shui Xian and Rou Gui. The Qi Dan variety is one of the original Da Hong Pao mother bush varieties which was propagated throughout Wuyi from the original Da Hong Pao trees in the 1980's. You can learn more about the differences between pure and blended Da Hong Pao by watching this video.
Da Hong Pao is one of China's most revered and highly sought after teas. This tea is grown on Bai Yun Yan mountain in the protected area of Zhengyan in the beautiful Wuyi mountains of Fujian Province, a nine peak mountain with vast rocky fingers pointing to the sky. The mineral rich, fast draining terrain make it the only place to grow true Empress Oolong.
The tea is produced by hand and is then roasted for many hours slowly over real charcoal fires. This adds a warmth, smoothness and nutty depth to the tea. We advise avoiding any of these roasted oolongs for at least 6 months after they have been produced in order to let the 'fire' taste of the charcoal roasting to reduce. This is why we always stock tea picked in the previous year.
Da Hong Pao is often sold at a high price but a bit of a let down because the producers use blends of faster growing and more accessible tea. Once roasted over charcoal it is difficult to assess through observation or the smell of the dry leaf if the tea is high quality. Often the first brews of these lesser quality teas will taste heavy in charcoal but after the second or third infusion the flavour is weak and flat with no depth. So many people out there think that this is what Da Hong Pao should taste like and they stop buying. We strongly advise everyone to find out the cultivar of the Da Hong Pao being sold - it should be a Qi Dan or a Bei Dou (Lost Robe).
This tea may be a little pricier than your average Da Hong Pao but it is the real article - pure Qi Dan from Zhengyan which is truly not easy to find out there!