First Taste: 2009 Imperial Da Hong Pao

This is an attractive tea with greenish black leaves and red-brown stems. It infuses to an orange-red liquor. There's initially a pronounced charcoal aroma, suggesting you want to be sure to rinse the tea well prior to infusing to help balance the flavors.

In the cup it has a sweet, floral aroma with caramelized notes that develop when abundant sap in the leaves is exposed to the direct heat of firing. This is a complex and multidimensional tea that evolves through several infusions, however, the florals never overpower, and the charcoal never totally goes away. The texture in the mouth is substantial without being chewy and the lingering aftertaste is sweet with a just a hint of charcoal.

Da Hong Pao (sometimes known in English as Big Red Robe) is the most famous of all the 100+ yan cha varieties, and we're proud enough of our 2009 selection to give it the coveted Imperial designation. Try it and we think you'll agree, this legendary tea is like a tea tour of Wu Yi Shan in a cup, as you can discover flavors, aroma, and intriguing complexities of many individual yan cha varieties in this single extraordinary tea. It's highly recommended to brew this tea in an yi xing teapot with plenty of leaves, very hot water, and ample steeping time. Now available in our online store; coming to the teahouses by the end of the week.


Jason Witt said...

I have a pouch of Big Red Robe here at home that is waiting to be opened and sampled. I've never tasted it before. It might not be as high-quality as this with the "Imperial" seal of approval. But I do have four of the Yi Xing mugs with the first of the Cha Ching printed on them, and they're reserved for Oolong Tea. This article has me anticipating the experience.

Virginia said...

Sounds like a fun tasting experience coming up, Jason. Come back here to the blog and and let us know how it goes!

One recommendation: almost all Da Hong Pao has been very high fired, Wu Yi style. To improve the taste, even if you brew in a cup rather than a teapot or gaiwan, you want to give the tea a good rinse prior to the first infusion to tone down the charcoal flavor.