Updated: Feb 21, 2020
This is a top-notch oolong tea that comes from the Wuyi Rock in Fujian and I feel so lucky having tried it. This oolong tea is also named as Rock Tea (Yancha) and dahongapo is known as the best Wuyi Yancha. The buds of dahongpao are purple and from distance, the tea trees appear to be covered by a red gown. This hopefully explains the name.
What explains the astronomical prices this tea can fetch? Well, six original dahongpao plants have 300 years’ history and they altogether produce less than 1 kg per year. At the 2005 Wuyi Rock auction, 20g of authentic dahongpao was sold for 208,000 RMB (around 33,000 USD) which makes it more than 30 times as expensive as its weight in gold. In 2006 the local government announced their protection policy for the original dahongpao trees and banned plucking from them.
Nowadays, dahongpao is asexually cultivated from tea plants. Despite their much affordable prices nowadays, they still offer more exquisite taste compared to other Wuyi Yanchas.
Origin: Wuyi, Fujian province
Harvest time: Spring 2019
Leave colour: Dark green and brown (green with red edges when infused)
Liquor colour: Clear, dark yellow
Tea aroma: Floral and woody with a hint of smokiness
Tea taste: Mellow and sweet
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90-100°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 24 months (refrigerate in an air-tight container to improve the shelf-life)