A Rioja red wine and chocolate Da Hong Pao

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I like a Wuyi oolong because it sparks a bit of a fire in me. A little energy boost. I suspect it’s the mineral ‘rock taste’, a very distinctive taste for Wuyi teas. A late night session with a Mei Leaf’s Da Hong Pao, also called Empress Oolong by this Londen-based teahouse, was a memorable one.

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A little shout out to the leaves to begin with. With some Wuyi teas I find it hard to appreciate the beauty of the dry leaves, but the changing of color to dark brown-green when wet is absolutely beautiful. This tea looked extremely delicious in wet AND dry state, as you see on the picture above. Elegant in a very dark roasty way.

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I had some Wuyi teas before. They were called ‘high quality’, but it was not from sellers that I trust to sell high quality. So trying this Da Hong Pao brought me to a next level of Wuyi tea. There is a hint of charcoal in it but it wasn’t overwhelming. And this was the biggest difference with my previous, less impressing, Wuyi experiences: those teas gave a bit too much of that charcoal profile. One Rou Gui was so bad that I thought it was put on the barbecue for an hour or two before ending up in my gaiwan. Well, you need to have some bad experiences to appreciate quality, I guess.

Next to the ‘mineral’ energy it gave me and the subtle, gentle charcoal hints, this Da Hong Pao offers heavy red fruit notes, like a Rioja red wine, and combines it with very pleasant cacao hints. Red wine and chocolate, perfect! But wait, it’s getting even better with an almond sweetness and peachy aftertaste. Oh yes, this tea just can’t go wrong.

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