Da Hong Pao
This Da Hong Pao tea is very special as it is made not with Da Hong Pao, or Qi Dan leaves. Instead, it is made from leaves of Tie Guan Yin tea plants. This yields a very unique flavor profile with notes of chocolate and caramel, alongside a deep minerality, and a long-lasting flavor on your palate. Considered “Yan Cha” or rock tea the high mountain soil where the tea plants grow is very noticeable. This tea was collected by a friend’s family in their high mountain tea gardens oxidized and roasted to perfection. Collected from wild growing tea plants no chemicals or pesticides are used in the production. My favorite aspect of this tea is the “Cha Qi” or “Tea Chi/Tea Energy”. Furthermore, as it reaches your stomach it provides a deep warmth that spreads throughout the body. As a result, you experience deep relaxation and feelings of ease.
Da Hong Pao has a long history in China as one of the most desirable tea and there are many, many legends that speak to how the name came about. However, I will tell you of the two most likely and also the two most commonly accepted stories:
The Sickly Scholar
This legend tells of a scholar named Ju Zi Ding on his way to take an imperial examination in 1385(Ming Dynasty). At the time the imperial examination was the best way to secure a high position. Therefore, as a scholar one of the 4 official categories of people and, the higher your score the more promising your career. While traveling he had suddenly become seriously ill. Luckily for him, he was in Wuyishan near Tian Xin Temple, where some friendly Buddhist monks revived him with some very delicious local tea. In addition, this scholar went on to do very well in his examination, receiving the highest score possible which awarded him an imperial scarlet robe. The scholar then returned to the monks and thanked them by draping the robe over the tea plants in thanks and so you have the name Da Hong Pao!
The Emperor’s Sick Mother
The second most commonly accepted legend tells the story of a Ming Dynasty emperor whos mother became very sick. A scholar of the emperor (possibly the same from the first story but not confirmed) discovering the emperor’s mother was sick he revealed his jar of sacred oolong tea. After drinking the tea the mother’s health rapidly improved. The emperor, upon declaring the tea bushes from which the leaves came exclusively for processing tea for the royal family, annually sent servants to the tea garden the tea was harvested from to pay respects to the tree. It became a customary tradition for these servants to take off their big red imperial robes and drape them over the tea bushes. 
Brewing Da Hong Pao Tea
We highly recommend using the Gong Fu Cha style of tea brewing. This style uses more tea, less water, and much shorter infusions. In doing so, you bring about many suttle nuances otherwise lost to a longer brewing period. The brewing recommendations are as follows:
- 4 grams/ 100ml water
- 195° F or 90°C
- Hot wash poured off quickly
- 1st steep 10-15 seconds
- 2nd steep 15 seconds
- 3rd steep 20 seconds
- adding 5 seconds for any remaining steeps
Check out our White Ceramic Gaiwans if you are looking to try out Gong Fu Cha!