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Da Hong Pao
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The most famous of all cliff oolongs, also known as Great Red Robe, this Wuyi oolong is deeply textured and rich, with a lovely roast that feels ancient.  Clearly a product of artistry.

Notes of chocolate, roasted barley, and old tobacco barn.

The most famous of all cliff oolongs, also known as Great Red Robe, this Wuyi oolong is deeply textured and rich, with a lovely roast that feels ancient.  Clearly a product of artistry and diligent cultivation.

There are only a handful of original Da Hong Pao tea trees in existence, and there has been a long history of cuttings and plantings that have attempted to duplicate the mother trees.  Although the offspring may be genetically identical, there are myriad differences not including age and terroir.  But that this variety of oolong is so revered is fascinating.

The cliff oolongs of China are known for their mineral qualities, and often have a unique bitter impression that is sometimes off-putting to the Western palate.  They are not necessarily astringent, though, and this Da Hong Pao that comes from such a beautiful and resilient cultivar has infusions that are relatively forgiving and not at all bitter.

The medium oxidizing of these large leaves imparts a red fruitiness while the charcoal roast imparts a warmth and caramelization.  The profile is rustic and abundant, like a vast ancient city of wooden buildings, tobacco barns.

Cliff oolongs should be brewed carefully, but because this Da Hong Pao is very sturdy you can extend the brewing times.  To start, though, I recommend 190 degree water with a 15 second first infusion.  To taste the mineral qualities of the tea try subsequent infusions around 30 seconds.  And as always, I encourage you to explore with attention.


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