Updated: Feb 15, 2021
The final oolong of this challenge. It’s an award-winning Da Hong Pao. I have reviewed a few Da Hong Paos and to be perfectly honest, I do not anymore get excited about them. There are many brilliant teas from Wuyishan, and I am not sure why DHP is so popular. It was a tea that had a big name before, and today only a few of the mother trees (in Jiulongchao) left from the original Da Hong Pao cultivars. Teas that are called Da Hong Pao today are usually a blend coming from different cultivars or from plants grafted from the mother trees.
What characterizes Da Hong Pao is the amount of oxidation around 80%, one of the highest amongst all oolongs. Today Da Hong Pao’s are less oxidized to give a more floral aroma and flavour as Joseph Wesley describes.
This tea won the grand prize at the competition last year organized by Wuyishan Tea Bureau. The vendor was given a number for this award which authenticates the award. The price is about 500 USD per 1 kg. It is not unusual for Da Hong Pao, which is known /or used to be known as the most expensive tea. My experience was that the tea started smooth and delivered delicate notes of flowers, fruits and smokiness and ended with a slightly astringent and lingering finish. I had punchier Da Hong Paos before, and for this award-winning tea, I can say that it was balanced and offered delicate and elegant notes.
Probably, a year ago, when I started this challenge, a charcoal roasted oolong would have been my favourite tea. After trying some hundreds of teas, I still enjoy it but not as much to place it at the top of my list.
Source: Joseph Wesley Uhl. “The Art and Craft of Tea.”
Origin: Wuyi Shan, Fujian
Harvest time: Spring 2020
Leaf colour: Dark brown/black
Liquor colour: Golden
Tea Aroma: Floral and burnt notes
Tea taste: Mellow and elegant mineral yancha flavour with a hint of astringent finish
1. Place 6 g of this tea in a porcelain gaiwan or teapot and add about 100 ml water at around 100°C.
2. Rinse after 5 sec.
3. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10. You can re-steep this tea about eight times.