Da Hong Pao Red Robe #55 Oolong Tea from Steepster

RedRobeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Steepster Select

Tea Description:

A gorgeous Wuyi Oolong with a deep rich liquor, big aroma, and a complex flavor that lasts steep after steep.

Read other Steepster thoughts on this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hooray!  This month’s Steepster Select box has arrived!  Five more amazing teas to sample is always something that will bring a smile to my face.

The aroma of the dry leaf of this Da Hong Pao Red Robe #55 Oolong Tea from Steepster reminds me of the smell of early evening air in autumn here in the Pacific Northwest.  You step outside and you can smell the smoke rising out of the chimneys, and it smells rustic:  like smoke and wood and the crisp, cool, clean air.  I love the smell!  It’s not overly smoky which I often find off-putting; it’s a gentle smoke scent.

After a quick 15-second re-awakening of the leaves, I steeped my first two infusions of the leaves and combined them into one cup.  One of the other members of Steepster mentioned that this has a burnt hazelnut caramel sort of flavor, and I’d agree with that.  There is a deep, nutty flavor to this that I find compelling, and a delightfully sweet caramel-y undertone (think dark, rich caramel!) that is keeping me sipping.

Pleasant smoky notes are in the foreground but they aren’t overpowering.  A woody mid-note that plays to that rustic sort of feeling that I usually experience with a Big Red Robe Oolong.  A deliciously complex cup.  One thing that I’m noticing with this particular Da Hong Pao is that the finish is cleaner.  It has an astringency to it that cleanses the palate, so I feel less of a heavy aftertaste.  I don’t taste a “coating” of smoke that I sometimes experience from this type of Oolong.  Nice!

The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) brought out new flavors to explore.  I still enjoyed notes of smoke and wood, however, these tones were softer than they were in the first cup.  Now, I’m noticing a sweet-tart fruit-like note in the distance.  It isn’t a clear or distinct flavor, but, it’s back there, waiting for me.  It is as if it beckons me to brew the third cup to taste more.  The nutty tones were a little clearer this time, but there is a little less of a heavy caramelized flavor.  Still sweet … but more like a honeyed sweetness rather than caramel.

The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) was incredibly smooth.  Similar to the first two cups – I could still taste notes of smoke and wood, and the honeyed note became more distinct while the caramel notes diminished slightly.  The fruit note emerged a little this time … tasting a bit like a cross between a nectarine and a plum.  Notes of tart, but mostly it’s sweet.

A really enjoyable tea.  One of the nicest Red Robe teas I’ve tried.

Organic Big Red Robe Oolong from Boutique Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Boutique Teas

Tea Description:

Legend says this tea restored the health of a Ming dynasty official, who in gratitude honored the tea bushes by leaving his red cape behind as protection. Produced in the famous Fujian province, Big Red Robe grows on the rocky cliffs in Fujian, China. This rare oolong tea brews a unique woodsy character with fruity muscatel notes that can be steeped multiple times.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oolong is one of my favorite types of tea (second only to yellow tea), although, as I’m sure most of you are already aware, not all Oolong teas are created equal, so it is perhaps needless to say that I like some Oolong teas better than others.

Big Red Robe Oolong teas are not my favorite, but I’ve grown to appreciate them more than I once did.  This Organic Big Red Robe Oolong form Boutique Teas is one of the nicest that I’ve tried … I think that had I tried this Da Hong Pao Oolong the first time I tried one, I probably would have embraced it immediately!  This is really good!

There are hints of fruit notes in this tea that are reminiscent of plum and peach and grape which give the cup a pleasing sweetness.  I can even taste the faintest hints of muscatel which took me totally by surprise!   These fruit notes mingle with a strong woodsy tone that is slightly smoky, but what I like about this particular Big Red Robe Oolong is that the smoky note is on the subtle side, tasting slightly more like charcoal than smoke.

There is a mineral-y like taste that arrives on the palate toward the finish.  This is definitely what I’d call a masculine tea, but it has a smoothness to it … like a sophisticated, charming gentleman.

This is the kind of tea that you want to infuse multiple times, and just sit back and relax as you allow the flavors to play upon your palate.  I find that the flavor becomes even more enjoyable with the subsequent infusions … my favorite were the fifth and sixth infusions, which I combined into one cup.  The flavor was sweeter, and possessed less of the smoky earthiness of the earlier infusions.  Those first infusions were good … but the subsequent infusions were great!

Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong from Teavivre

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

This wuyi Da Hong Pao Teavivre provides will be a perfect choice for people who want to discover Wuyi Rock Da Hong Pao teas or for oolong lovers that want to find a Da Hong Pao for their daily teas.  The tea presents characteristic such as its high and long lasted floral fragrance, smooth, rich, sweet and refreshing aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is such a lovely tea to be sipping right now:  It is so cold and wet outside, the kind of cold that gets into your bones and hangs in there, and it seems no matter what you do you just can’t get rid of that cold feeling!

Tea to the rescue!  This Wuyi Da Hong Pao Oolong to be specific.  The flavor is so warm with its toasty character that it seems to get right to that chill and warms me up.

The first couple of sips, I noticed a distinct mineral-y kind of tone, together with the warm, toasty, almost charcoal-y kind of flavor.  The mineral note and the charcoal note seem to go together seamlessly.  There is an undertone of sweetness that is honey-esque, but it is quite delicate, especially in these first two infusions.  There are also intriguing floral tones that almost seem like they don’t belong there, given the sort of rugged, roasty-toasty, mineral-y kind of flavors that met me at the introduction.  But these floral notes are so delightful, you want them at the party, even if they don’t seem to fit in quite so well at the beginning.

In subsequent infusions, I found that the mineral/charcoal tones seemed to soften as the floral notes began to emerge, and the honey-esque tone united with the flowery flavors so deliciously.   I found that with each new cup of this tea, new flavors were just waiting to be discovered.  As the mineral-y notes began to wane, I found that the background notes began to take on a more “woodsy” kind of flavor, deep and oaken, and this note seemed to add to the overall warmth of the cup.  I love that this tea stood up for a good eight infusions, making this a lovely cold autumn’s evening tea for me.

But then, Teavivre has never failed to provide me with just what I need when it comes to incredible flavor and quality.  They are one of the best, in my opinion!