Da Hong Pao Tea (The King of Wuyi Rock Tea)

Da Hong Pao tea literally called Big Red Robe is a kind of Chinese oolong tea and produced in Wuyi Mountain (Wuyishan), Fujian Province.

The oolong tea produced in the Wuyi Mountain is called Wuyi Rock tea, so Da Hong Pao tea belongs to Wuyi Rock tea and it is the most famous Wuyi Rock tea.

Da Hong Pao tea has a laudatory title of “The King of Wuyi Rock Tea” because of its high quality and unique style. It is also a national geographical indication product of China.

1. Origin of the name of Da Hong Pao

In 1385, a people went to Beijing for an exam. When passing Wuyi Mountain, he suddenly fell ill, abdominal pain unbearable. He met a monk from a famous temple located in Wuyi Mountain, and the monk brewed a cup of tea for him, then soon after he recovered from his illness.

After the people won the Number One Scholar (Zhuangyuan) in the exam, he came to Wuyi Mountain and thanked the monk. The monk told him about the tea and the tea tree. In order to thank the tea tree, the people took off his big red robe and put it on the tea tree. Since then, this kind of tea tree is called Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao in Chinese pinyin).

Later, when the queen was ill and many doctors failed to treat her, the people took out the Da Hong Pao and offered it to the queen. After drinking it, the queen became better and better.

The emperor was very happy and gave him a red rope, sending him to go to the Wuyi Mountain and drape the robe on the tea tree. At the same time, the emperor also sent some people to take care of the tea tree.

Since then, Da Hong Pao had become a tribute tea for the royal family to enjoy, and the reputation of Da Hong Pao had also been spread around the country. It is said that every year the officials sent by the emperor were dressed in red robes and hung them on the tea tree.

2. Extremely precious mother trees of Da Hong Pao

In the whole of China, there are only six Da Hong Pao mother trees growing in the Wuyi Mountain and they have a history of hundreds of years.

In the 1930s, the local government sent troops to guard the Da Hong Pao mother trees. After the founding of New China, the local government still employs some people to take care of it.

In 1998, a rich businessman won 20 grams of Da Hong Pao tea of the mother trees at an auction for a high price of 158,800 yuan (about 23,352 dollars).

In 2000, according to the <Word Natural and Cultural Heritage List of Wuyi Mountain> approved by the United Nations, the mother tree of Da Hong Pao was listed as an ancient and famous tree in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage.

On May 3, 2005, the last picking of 20g of tea leaves of the mother trees was presented to the National Museum of China by the local government.

From 2006, the local government decided to take special care of the mother trees: stop picking the mother trees to ensure their good growth; implement scientific management of the mother trees by tea professionals and technicians, and establish detailed files; strictly protect the ecological environment around the mother trees

Nowadays, the commercial Da Hong Pao tea is made from the tea trees which are propagated by asexual propagation from the mother trees.

3. Characteristics of Da Hong Pao

Da Hong Pao is strong, tidy, and slightly twisty in shape and bright and grayish-brown in color. After brewing, the tea soup is clear, bright, and orange-yellow. It tastes sweet, smooth, meaningful and aftertaste, no bitter.

The most outstanding feature of Da Hong Pao is that it has a strong fragrance of orchid, which is strong and long-lasting. Besides, It is very resistant to brewing, and it still has fragrance after seven or eight times of brewing.

According to its color, shape, and fragrance, Da Hong Pao can be classified into three grades. The higher the grade, the stronger and tidier the shape, the stronger the fragrance, and the brighter and clearer the tea soup.

Besides, according to the classification of it in the tea market, Da Hong Pao can be classified into the following three types:

  • Beidou Da Hong Pao: a variety cultivated by cutting the branches of the Da Hong Pao mother tree is growing in the Beidou Mountain.
  • Qidan Da Hong Pao: a variety cultivated by a tea expert. He named it “Qidan”.
  • Mixed Da Hong Pao: mixed Da Hong Pao with other Wuyi Rock tea.

4. Four meanings of Da Hong Pao

  1. Da Hong Pao is a variety of tea tree.
  2. Da Hong Pao is a commercial tea.
  3. Da Hong Pao is a commercial brand and a public brand of Wuyi Rock tea.
  4. Da Hong Pao is the representative of Wuyi Rock tea.

5. Health benefits of Da Hong Pao tea

Dahongpao has three main beneficial ingredients: tea polyphenols, tea polysaccharides, and theanine. It has good effects such as anti-cancer, blood fat reduction, memory enhancement, and blood pressure lowering.

The tea polyphenols in Da Hong Pao tea are especially abundant, among which the most EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) has an anti-cancer function; the content of tea polysaccharide is 3.1 times than that of black tea and 1.7 times than that of green tea, which can enhance human immunity and reduce blood lipids; the content of theanine, a special amino acid in tea, is 1.1%, which can promote blood circulation in the brain, enhance memory and decrease blood lipids.

Here are the main benefits of Da Hong Pao tea:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-aging
  • Losing weight
  • Diuretic effect
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Antibacterial and bacteriostatic effect
  • Helps reduce fat and promote digestion
  • Protecting tooth and improving eyesight
  • Etc.

6. How to make/brew Da Hong Pao tea

  • Tea set: ceramic teapot is the best. The ceramic teapot can give a full play to the taste of Da Hong Pao tea.
  • The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:20-30. 5g of Da Hong Pao tea leaves need 100-150ml of water.
  • The temperature of the water: 100℃.
  • Brewing time: The first brewing time is 10-15 seconds, and each subsequent brewing time is increased by 5-10 seconds.