Jen's favorite teas are often oolongs, so it's a wonder that it's taken us three years to introduce our first oolong! But, we are certain this is worth the wait.
Like many Chinese teas, Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) comes with a delightful legend. It is said that during the Ming dynasty, a scholar was traveling to important exams when he fell ill along the way. A local monk served him a special tea that made him feel better in time to continue his travels and arrive before his exams. When he earned the highest score of his class, he was given an imperial red robe. He was so grateful to the monk that he returned to the site and wrapped his red robe around the tea bush.
Later, it is also said that the emperor's mother was healed with tea from the same bushes. The emperor decreed these tea bushes exclusive for the Imperial family and sent his servants back each year to harvest the tea and drape their red robes on the bushes.
Six of these original trees remain on the Wuyi mountainside. Called the Da Hong Pao Mother Trees, they are no longer allowed to be harvested.
Image from Trip China Guide.
Legendary healing aside, Big Red Robe remains the archetypal tea of the region and is really what first put the Wuyi mountains on the map for tea. Da Hong Pao translates literally as Big Red Robe and the tea is interchangeably referred to with both names.
Our 2022 Big Red Robe was grown within the actual Wuyishan Ecological Preserve on some of the most forested rocky hillsides in the area. The incredibly biodiverse mountainside hosts established old growth tea bushes that grow directly out of the cracks in the rock faces, fed by mountain springs. This tea is hand picked and then hand fired over hardwood embers in bamboo baskets. It's a lot of work making a fabulous Wuyi oolong but the end result speaks for itself. We hope you'll give it a try!