Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock is a famous rock oolong produced in the mountainous area of the Wuyi Mountains that owes its name to an ancient legend linked to its origins. The story goes that the infusion of the leaves of this oolong cured a serious illness of the emperor’s wife: to honor these plants, the emperor had them covered with a large red robe which, in Chinese, translates to Da Hong Pao.
The cultivar from which this precious oolong is obtained is called Qidan and the original trees of this variety that grow on the famous rocky terrain of the Wuyi mountains are very few. This tea, in fact, is not one of the cheapest on the market but its fame and its flavors still make it very popular, so much so that there are often those who sell rock oolongs calling it Da Hong Pao although it does not come from the famous original plants but is a sort of blend of leaves that recreates the flavor Da Hong Pao.
The minerality typical of this oolong, given the rocky soil on which it grows, is clearly perceptible in the taste of Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock, together with the notes of charcoal and nuts, due to the intense roasting process that the leaves undergo during the last part of processing.
Tasting – Sight and smell
The leaves of Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock are large in size, long and gently rolled up. They have an intense brown color almost black and coppery shades. Once infused, they give off rather intense floral aromas of orchid and white flowers, light notes of charcoal and cocoa and a hint reminiscent of black rye bread. In the cup it has a beautiful amber orange: the body is enveloping and with just a slight hint of astringency on the finish.
GONG FU CHA
The first infusion of Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock is surprisingly floral: a real bouquet of magnolia, orchid and aquatic flowers. There is a good minerality, with the sweet taste initially felt on the tip of the tongue that turns into a pleasant salty flavor. There are also interesting sweet notes reminiscent of tropical fruit suche as mango and papaya. Even with the second infusion the floral notes remain the predominant, accompanied by the sweetness of caramel and hints of lightly toasted almonds. The third infusion and the subsequent ones give increasingly intense sugary notes, so as to recall in the taste a crunchy almond.
The first sip of Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock is an explosion of white flowers and orchid: in a second moment there are notes of sweet cocoa, almost vanilla, and mineral notes of wet rock, although very gentle. There is an underlying fruity sweetness and vague hints of caramelized nuts. The persistence is sweet and floral: only on the finish appears a slight astringency that however does not affect the pleasantness of the tea.
Place of origin
Wuyi Shan, Fujian – China
After harvesting the leaves wither in the sun for some time before moving on to a resting phase on indoor bamboo trays. Here it’s where the oxidation started thanks to a manipulation of the leaves made by the tea master. Once the tea reaches the desired level of oxidation (here there is approximately 75% oxidation) the leaves pass into a charcoal heated kiln where the enzyme activity is stopped. After this phase in the oven, the leaf is given its final shape thanks to a special machine before moving on to the leaf roasting cycles, which allow you to finish drying the product and enhance its flavors.
How to prepare
We strongly recommend infusing Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock tea in the traditional Chinese method (gong fu cha) to better enjoy these leaves. Following this preparation you can use 6 grams of leaves (about 4 teaspoons) in a gaiwan of about 100 ml to obtain more infusions with different flavors. After a quick rinse of the leaves in water at 100°C, an initial infusion of 5 seconds can be made, after which, keeping the water at the same temperature, the time can be increased each time by 10 seconds compared to the previous infusion (5 – 15 – 25 …).
This tea has a longevity of about 7 infusions.
To prepare the tea in the western style we suggest 3 grams of leaves (about 2 teaspoons) in a 150 ml cup with 100°C water for a steeping time of one minute and a half.
The tea can be filtered for greater ease at the moment of tasting, and also the infusion times indicated above are intended to be purely indicative, so you can also adjust according to your personal taste.
It is recommended to store Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock tea in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
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