Big Red Robe | Oolong Tea
Description: A hybrid of North and South Fujian teas, this roasted oolong is a blend of 5 cultivars. The sweet sesame oil and charred chocolate flavor sharpens into a charcoal-like, mineral mouthfeel.
This tea was made by Mr. Tang Shuang Jiang and is a blend of teas from Jian Ou County (Jian Ou is next to Wuyi, a traditional rock oolong area) and Anxi County. Mr. Tang has a classmate in Jin Ou who makes Shui Xian, Mei Zan, Qi Lan, and Rou Gui teas. He took all four of these finished teas back to Anxi to blend with Ti Kwan Yin. He then roasted the leaves to create this traditional Big Red Robe flavor profile.
Big Red Robe or “Da Hong Pao” is the signature tea of the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province, China. This tea is also known as “Rock Tea” or “Rock Oolong”, which can become confusing. It’s defining features are long, dark, twisted leaves that have been partially oxidized (like black tea) and baked (sometimes referred to as “roasted”). The flavors range widely from toasty and spicy to citrus and sweet.
Big Red Robe is said to have originated as two plants in the Tian Xin temple in Wuyi. The monks there spent a great amount of time and resources on these plants and the outcome was the now famous Big Red Robe. Though the plants do not exist in the temple anymore, it is believed to be the same plant that is growing out the side of a rock face nearby that is considered the official mother bush “Da Hong Pao” plant (Qi Dan cultivar). As to be expected, there is not 100% agreement on this as fact.
Though Big Red Robe is the source of many old and fantastic stories, a comprehensive written record of its production doesn’t appear until 1943. In 1949 the Chinese government took ownership of the original plants and placed strict protections over them, but in China’s reform era of the 1980’s the practice of using other cultivars to make Big Red Robe became routine. Now “Big Red Robe”, “Wuyi Rock Tea”, and “Rock Oolong” are all synonymous.
Suggested Steeping Instructions:
3 grams | 8 oz water | 195°F | Steep 3 min.
Traditional Steeping Instructions:
Number of Cups:
2 oz makes 19 cups, 4 oz makes 38 cups, 1 lb makes 151 cups