Brewing hints: Infuse for 2 to 3 minutes in water of about 85 degrees Celsius.
Leaf: Very black hand-rolled large leaves.
Origin: Wuyi Mountains, Nanping, Northern Fujian, China.
Characteristics: A gently smoky aroma with hints of dark chocolate. The flavour is slightly nutty with hints of caramel remember this tea was for dignitaries and royalty.
Serving suggestions: This elegant refined and divine tea requires elegant and refined surroundings. Only to be drunk in a mug if you are alone!
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£18.67 – £38.88
Also known as Red Robe Wuyi Oolong. Da Hong Pao is the most celebrated, expensive and rare oolong tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains in China.
First produced over 400 years ago, the tea bushes are grown on the face of the Wuyi Mountains against the stunning backdrop of the mountains rising out of the water surrounded by verdant plant life. The shadow of the mountains protects the tea from too much direct sunlight ensuring that the buds remain tender and are allowed to develop more slowly, resulting in more complex flavours. After picking the leaves are withered before being turned in a bamboo drum. This bruises the leaves, which aids the oxidation process. After rolling, the tea is fired. Finally, it is dried over warm charcoal fires lending the tea a hint of smokiness. With bold notes of chocolate on the nose and a deep nutty caramel taste, this incredibly smooth, smoky Oolong was traditionally reserved for dignitaries and royalty and is sought after by tea drinkers worldwide.
Red Robe the Legend
The original Red Robe tea bushes were named by a Ming Dynasty Emperor. His mother fell seriously ill while travelling in the Wuyi Mountains. A Buddhist monk living nearby tended to her with tea made with leaves from the four tea trees growing above them and she made a complete recovery. The Emperor was so grateful that he sent his Imperial scarlet robes to be draped over the bushes to preserve them. Three of the original bushes still survive today. At one point less than 1kg of this tea was produced by these bushes and this was auctioned back in 2005, for in excess of £500,000. Today the original tea bushes have been cloned so that, while very little is produced and the new bushes are in the same location, the continued production no longer relies on just the three original tea bushes. The finest Da Hong Pao is one of the most expensive teas in the world.