I am excited today to be reviewing the Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong tea from TeaVivre. It has been some time since sampling a better quality Da Hong Pao, and the two other reviews on TeaVivre’s products have been quite positive, so I am expecting to enjoy this review. Take a moment to learn more about the Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock Oolong on TeaVivre’s website by clicking here.
Generally speaking, authentic Da Hong Pao rock wulongs come from tea bushes that all have the same genetic material, and are grown and produced in the Wuyi Mountains in the Fujian Province of southeast China. This style of wulong leans on the heavier side of the oxidation scale. The leaves are also roasted for a longer period than many other styles of wulong.
Upon opening the sample packet, the familiar roasty scent of Da Hong Pao has hit my olfactory glands. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves of the Da Hong Pao are a uniform hazy black color, with few lighter brown stems. The leaves are fairly long and twisted. Some leaves are attached to the stem, but most are detached. There appears to be a generous amount of unbroken leaves, but some appear to be large fragments. The leaves feel very dry and crispy, results of the increased roasting period. The aroma consists of roasted chestnuts, leather, wood, caramelized sugar, and a slight earthy, undergrowth scent.
Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in a seventeen ounce (500 ml) cast-iron tetsubin. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). Leaves were infused for three minutes.
The first infusion had a golden-yellow color with an orange tint. The infusion was clear and transparent. The aroma had a roasty character, with scents of wood, flowers, and caramelized sugar. The body is medium, with a nicely balanced feel. The taste had notes of roasted chestnuts, flowers, and wet stones. There was a slight astringency to the infusion. One unusual and interested effect of this infusion was the mineral feel that remains on the tongue. The aftertaste has a great floral essence to it, but the mineral is more of an effect than a taste.
The second infusion has a lighter shade of golden-yellow, with less of an orange tint. The aroma remains roasty, but the floral scents have become more apparent. The taste has changed some, with the floral, mineral, and wet stones becoming more apparent, while maintaining a lighter note of roasted chestnuts and wood. The sweetness seems to be more fruity than sugary with this infusion. The aftertaste maintains the nice flowery essence.
The third infusion again lightened in color to a light golden-yellow, with no orange tint. The aroma remains largely the same as the second infusion, with a slight lightening of the roasted scent, and the floral and mineral scents remaining prominent. The body has lightened some. The taste again has lightened on the roasted chestnuts, and retains the floral, mineral, and wet stones notes. A slight sweetness remains also.
The infused leaves display two colors, dark green and a purplish brown. The leaves vary in size. There are many unbroken leaves, and some large fragments. The leaves have a wet and soft leather feel to them. The durability of the leaves suggests that additional infusions can produce an acceptable infusion. The scent of the leaves is very floral and somewhat fruity, with a slight woodsy undergrowth scent, similar to wet stones. I will be infusing these leaves at least one more time.
This Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock Oolong from TeaVivre had everything that I look for in a rock wulong. The roasty character, strong floral essence, and perfect balance of floral, mineral, and sweet tastes make for a very pleasant review for me. Although I cannot say that this is the very best Wuyi Rock wulong that I have had, I can say that for the price that TeaVivre charges, it gives most of the important features with a more affordable price tag than the other that I speak of, which was quite expensive. This tea lasted four infusions using the steeping method specified above, with each infusion having slightly different and enjoyable characteristics.
Thank you, TeaVivre, for giving me the opportunity to review your Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea.