Thursday, June 26, 2014

Teavivre: Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong, A Tea Review

On a whim I decided to try something daring! Ben was using the Xbox and I wanted to play Minecraft, so I borrowed his much superior computer to play the demo. It was the most fun I have had in ages, I died so much because I was not used to the controls (also using a laptop mouse instead of a real mouse) but it was a thing of beauty. I might have happy cried a little. The good news is Ben said if I buy myself a new mouse and a PC copy of Minecraft I can borrow his computer while he is at work!

Today's tea is the famous Da Hong Pao Wuyi Rock Oolong from Teavivre. Hailing from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, China, this Rock Oolong (or Yancha) has an interesting legend about it. During the Ming Dynasty, the Emperor's mother took ill, luckily a tea she sipped cured her and in thanks the Emperor sent great red robes to clothe the original bushes that grew the tea, hint the name Big Red Robe. The aroma of this tea is a blend of sweetness and smoke. There are notes of baking bread, honey, tobacco, coal, and a finishing hint of cocoa. It is quite a fascinating aroma that is well balanced.

Into the gaiwan the curly leaves go! After a fairly short steep, the aroma of the wet leaves is as complex as the dry leaves with notes of charcoal, baking bread, honey, and touch of floral. I should note that the floral is like orchids near the end of their life, heady sweet with just the faintest touch of decay. It is not an unpleasant smell, it is just very distinct to flowers which are about to fall off the stem. The poured off liquid is a blend of sweet honey, charcoal, and a finish of tobacco.

The first steep starts out sharply sweet, like honey coated tobacco with a strong note of coal. There is a great blend of pine wood and smoke at the middle of the sip, the titular midtaste, after the initial sharpness fades I realized that the mouthfeel was quite smooth. The finish is sweet with an aftertaste of cherry and the faintest hint of smoke.

For the second steep, the first thing I notice about the aroma is that it is only barely smoky, like a distant fire and not a piece of charcoal, it is more floral and much sweeter, like honey and flower nectar. The taste starts out very sweet and smooth, with strong notes of raw honey and flowers, specifically orchids and a touch of honeysuckle. There is a finish of cherries and smoke, just like the first steep.

Th aroma of the third steep has taken a different route from its previous forms, this time it is faintly fruity sweet with a distinct mineral and spring water aroma. The taste also has a strong mineral presence, it tastes like drinking straight from a spring (having done this many times, I highly recommend it) very clean and very mineraly. This fades to a gentle floral taste and a honey sweetness that lingers.

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