Da Hong Pao is the most famous tea from China. The tea is a bright auburn colour and generally offers more robust impression aroma and taste compared to other oolong teas. A Wuyi rock tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province, China. This tea is often known to be extremely expensive, but absolutely worth it!
There are many stories about the origin of the name. The most famous one is that a long time ago, there was a scholar who was walking to Beijing for an exam but he became very sick on the journey. A monk of Tianxin Temple found him and brewed a bowl of tea picked from Wuyi Mountain. The tea restored the scholar and, feeling full of energy, he was able to continue his journey. He went on to win first place in the exam. Years later the same scholar used the tea to cure an emperor. The emperor rewarded the scholar with a red robe and asked the scholar to put the red robe on the tea tree. After that, the tea trees were named Big Red Robe which in Chinese pronunciation is Da Hong Pao.
Appearance: Dry Da Hong Pao has a shape like tightly knotted ropes or slightly twisted strips, and is green and brown in color.
After brewing, the tea is orange-yellow, bright and clear.
Taste: The tea has a unique orchid fragrance and a long-lasting sweet aftertaste.
Brewing: A traditional way to brew Da Hong Pao is by using a clay teapot. and 100 °C (212 °F) water (purified water is considered by some as the best choice to brew Da Hong Pao). Use 2.5g of tea in 250ml water and steep for 3-4 minutes. The third and fourth steeping are considered by some to have the best taste. Da Hong Pao can retain its flavor for nine steepings.
Health Benefits: Rich in vitamins and minerals it is mainly used to boost metabolism and reduce stress. Da Hong Pao contains caffeine, theophylline, tea polyphenols, and flavonoids. For these reasons and others, a number of health benefits are claimed for the tea. Drinking Da Hong Pao could mitigate weariness and help blood circulation, and it could also treat edema and water retention. Furthermore, it has cosmetic effects. Drinking Da Hong Pao regularly is good for the skin and helps lose weight. Lastly, it helps with relieving a cough. So all round great!
Some Fun Trivia:
- In the Qing dynasty, Da Hong Pao often ranked first in the local tea trade competitions and won the title of "King of the tea." Local people were required to worship Da Hong Pao using animals, flowers and fruits before picking the tea leaves every year.
- During the Republic of China, the price of a pound of Da Hong Pao could buy 5000 pounds of rice or ten buffaloes.
- After the People's Republic of China was established, the procedures of making Da Hong Pao were especially strict. Every worker involved in picking or making the tea went through political vetting. After checking and ensuring the quality, the Da Hong Pao was sent to Beijing and received by Mao Zedong.
- When President of the United States Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, Mao Zedong gifted him 200g of Da Hong Pao, which represented peace and friendship between China and the United States.