Sunday, June 01, 2008

Harney & Sons Da Hong Pao

Class: Oolong
Origin: Wuyi Mountains, China
Year: 2006
Vendor: Harney and Sons (Product page)
Price: $18.00 (2 oz.) / $128 (1 lb.)

Flowers and Bee
Despite the constant danger of bee attacks (see above) and the smell of dog excrement (see below), I braved the outdoors again today. It's so much more enjoyable to take pictures outside! (It was so enjoyable that I completely forgot to take a picture of the dry leaves, but whatever, they weren't anything special.)

Source of the aforementioned dog excrement
This is actually a revisit; I've already reviewed this tea, so it should be interesting to see how the two of us have changed over the last 9-10 months.

Tea liquor
Has this tea changed at all? Not really. It tastes pretty much the same; my notes from this session are remarkably similar to those from my previous review, which I hadn't reread until just now. It's an aromatic tea, but doesn't have much depth of flavor. The smell and flavor are about the same; bright tartness and fruitiness (last time I thought of rhubarb, and I think that's still true), with just a hint of cocoa and hot spice. There is not much charcoal/roast taste, thankfully.

After reading a recent post by MarshalN, I was inspired to brew the crap out of this one. I kept going until my kettle was almost out of water, despite the tea giving up most of its flavor in the first few infusions. Of course, I'm still guilty of not taking notes about the tea after the third infusion, but to my defense this one did die rather suddenly. :) Regardless, it was nice to slow down and enjoy the surroundings (and the company) with the occasional cup of sweet tea water; I think I'll do it again next time.

Another flower, yay
Though the tea hasn't changed much at all, I think my tastes have. If I were to re-adopt my 1-10 scale, it wouldn't score as high as it did then. Perhaps I didn't brew it as well this time, but I think it's more likely that, at the risk of waxing arrogant, my tastes have become slightly more refined since then. Don't get me wrong, this is still a decent tea, I just don't think it's as spectacular as I thought before.

Yet another flower
Did I just have a nostalgic moment? Hmm, I guess I did. Still, I can't help but think it might be nice to forget everything about tea and be amazed by the slightly-above-average stuff again. Wait for it...

Sigh. ;)


MarshalN said...


Having tea outside is nice. I did that today with a few people. We were attacked by lots and lots and lots of flies.... I didn't know Ohio had so many flies until today.

I spied only a little bit of the wet leaves in your pot -- how much did you use? Might want to try more if you want the tea to not die suddenly on you.

Also, was the water kept warm or did it start cooling?

Brent said...


You're right, there's not much leaf there— it was the last I had of it, so I didn't have much to work with.

The water did start to cool down a bit after the 3rd or 4th infusion. This was more of a casual session, so I didn't feel like bringing the kettle in every time to reheat. I'm working on a solution to that problem, though. :)

Thanks for the comment,

Salsero said...

Great photos and commentary. Really enjoyed the post, although the tea does look a little weak for DHP.

Are the flowers camellias? The leaves don't look serrated so I'm thinking they are not roses. Don't you feel a little sadistic boiling tea leaves in front of camellias?

~ Phyll said...

Nice outdoors! The modern solution to the problem may set you back around $20 in the form of a portable stove that uses a butane gas canister.

The less modern solution is to get a charcoal stove made of clay.

Brent said...


My dad says they're roses, but neither of us is an expert. They have thorns, if that helps. But yes, that would be very sadistic. I'll see if we have any camellias around. :)


Yeah, I'll probably end up going with one of the backpacking stoves I already have, but I would like to come up with something a bit more elegant, like a clay charcoal stove. The problem is finding one!

I was thinking maybe I could do something with a terra cotta flower pot, but it doesn't seem like there would be enough airflow. Anyway, I'll figure something out. Thanks for the advice, though!


Bill said...

isn't it funny how your palate and perceptions change over time. Great job on the pics.

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