Thursday, August 16, 2007

2006 Wuyi Cha Wang Da Hong Pao

Dry leafClass: Oolong
Origin: Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, China
Year: 2006
Price: $5.90 (15g)
Verdict: 7/10

In an effort to post more often, from now on most of my reviews will be a bit shorter. I may pull out all the stops from time to time, but I'm guessing most of you would rather have more recommendations than details about the particulars of a certain tea's wet leaf composition or infusion times. On to the review:

Dry Leaf:

These leaves are very dark, and definitely look high-fired, as is indicated in this tea's description. The aroma is nice and strong, though not mind-blowing, and it somehow seems to sit in the nose for much longer than one would expect. Though it has nothing to do with the tea itself, the box the packet came in is pretty cool. It features an illustration of the original Da Hong Pao tea bushes, and has a guy wearing—that's right—a big red robe.


4.5g leaf; 100mL gaiwan; boiling tap water; 30+ seconds


The smell cup aroma is amazingly strong— sweet, fruity, and chocolately. As Adrian pointed out, this tea seems young. The liquor has bright but somewhat underwhelming flavors (chocolate/charcoal and light, sweet tropical fruit) and almost no body. Some age might just mellow this tea's charcoal and give it a richer, fuller mouth-feel. Interestingly, this tea is quite easy to brew. I couldn't get that full, velvety body I crave in wuyi yancha, but it was almost impossible to brew an unpalatable infusion.


I look forward to trying this tea after it has had some time to mature. There definitely seems to be potential here— a bright, strong aroma and a strong charcoal note from high-firing. Still, despite it's potential, this tea isn't the best to drink right now. So, it gets a 7/10. The jury is still out on whether it's worthy of the "Cha Wang" ("Tea King") title, not that it really means anything anyway.

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