Bright Red Robe Black Dragon — Organic Grand Cru Wuyi Rock Oolong Da-Hong-Pao
With an astonishing robust aroma, our Bright Red Robe is simultaneously mineral, smoky and woodsy with hints of fruit, flowers and other magical scents of je ne sais quoi, yielding a bright amber tea that is smooth, refreshing and almost perceptibly sweet. An instant pick-me-up, a perfect accompaniment for heavy meals and rich snacks until early evening and a great remedy for overindulgence during festive seasons. Delicious hot or cold.
The Story of Black Dragon Bright Red Robe “Da-Hong-Pao”
Probably the most famous and priciest of all Chinese teas, Da Hong Pao (大红袍) comes from evergreen shrubs (Camellia sinensis) that grow amidst the verdant and mineral-rich karst terrain of Mount Wu Yi, in the southern Chinese province of Fujian. Prized not only by the Chinese, the seeds, seedlings and cultivation methods of the Da Hong Pao - esteemed at that time as the best tea in China by the British - would have somehow made their way to India around 1849, spawning the Indian tea industry (Source). In other words, that makes Da Hong Pao the ancestor of all English black teas from outside of China.
Legend has it that the curative powers of Da Hong Pao first came to the attention of a Ming Dynasty scholar, Ju Zi Ding, who, while on his way to sit for the imperial examinations in the year 1385, recovered from a bad stomach upon drinking a tea offered by a monk from Mount Wuyi and went on to become the top scorer for that year. After getting his head start in officialdom, Ju Zi Ding made his way to Mount Wuyi and found his benefactor, the monk, at the Temple of Celestial Heart and Eternal Joy (Tian Xin Yong Le Temple). Accepting his thanks, the monk pointed out the tea shrubs, whereupon Ju bestowed his bright red imperial robe (called “da hong pao” in Chinese) in gratitude for their timely intervention.
The story continues with Ju Zi Ding returning to the palace and saving the ailing Empress Dowager with his special oolong tea when all the imperial physicians had given up. Since then, the Da Hong Pao shrubs were honoured with annual patronages from the palace, with a ceremony of draping imperial red robes around them, re-enacting Ju Zi Ding’s gesture of gratitude. The palace officials would subsequently return to Beijing with the annual loot, oops… hmm, imperial tribute from Wuyi.