|Da Hong Pao|
|Origin||Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province, China|
|Da Hong Pao|
|Literal meaning||Big Red Robe|
Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe, 大紅袍) is a Wuyi rock tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province, China. Da Hong Pao has a unique orchid fragrance and a long-lasting sweet aftertaste. Dry Da Hong Pao has a shape like tightly knotted ropes or slightly twisted strips, and is green and brown in color. After brewing, the tea is orange-yellow, bright and clear. Da Hong Pao can retain its flavor for nine steepings. The tea is often known to be extremely expensive.
A traditional way to brew Da Hong Pao is by using a Purple Clay Teapot and 100 °C (212 °F) water. Purified water is considered by some the best choice to brew Da Hong Pao. After boiling, the water should be immediately used. Boiling the water for a long time or storing it for a long time after boiling will influence the taste of the Da Hong Pao. The third and fourth steeping are considered by some to have the best taste.
There are seven steps needed to make Da Hong Pao.
Da Hong Pao contains caffeine, theophylline, tea polyphenols, and flavonoids. For these reasons and others, a number of health benefits are claimed for the tea. Drinking Da Hong Pao could mitigate weariness and help blood circulation. And it could also treat edema and water retention. Moreover, it helps decrease the bad effects of drinking and smoking. The elements contained in Da Hong Pao could reduce the alcohol and nicotine. Furthermore, it has cosmetic effects. Drinking Da Hong Pao regularly is good for the skin and helps lose weight. Lastly, it helps relieving cough and reducing phlegm.
The best Da Hong Pao are from the mother Da Hong Pao tea trees. Mother Da Hong Pao tea trees have thousand years of history. There are only 6 mother trees remaining on the stiff cliff of Jiulongyu (Wuyi Mountains), which is considered a rare treasure. Because of its scarcity and superior tea quality, Da Hong Pao is known as the "King of Tea”. In 2006, the Wuyi city government insured these 6 mother trees with a value of 100 million RMB. In the same year, the Wuyi city government also decided to prohibit anyone from privately collecting teas from the mother Da Hong Pao tea trees. One of the last batch of Da Hong Pao harvested and made from the mother trees has been collected in the Palace Museum in Beijing. 20g of Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants was sold for ¥208,000 in 2005, it is the highest auction record for Da Hong Pao.
The majority of Da Hong Pao on the market now are from artificially bred through the asexually produced, which maintained the characteristics of the Da Hong Pao. It is much cheaper than Da Hong Pao from the mother tea trees. The price depends heavily on its quality.
There are many stories about the origin of Da Hong Pao's name. The most famous one is that a long time ago, there was a scholar who was very sick on his way to Beijing for an exam. A monk of Tianxin Temple found him and brewed a bowl of tea picked from Wuyi Mountain for the scholar. After drinking the tea, the scholar felt much better and energetic. Few days later, he won the first place in the exam. So he came back to the temple to thank the monk who saved him. Later, he also uses this tea to cure the emperor's illness. The emperor rewarded the scholar with a red robe and asked the scholar to put the red robe on the tea tree. The red robe was considered a high honor at that time. The emperor also gave orders that all officials passing through this place must put their red robes on the tea trees to show the emperor's gratitude for his healing. After that, the tea trees were named Big Red Robe which in Chinese pronunciation is Da Hong Pao.
The first and second flush of the Da Hong Pao, the most powerful and sweetest crops, sell on the private market as the most expensive tea per pound in the world. At several thousands of dollars per ounce, Da Hong Pao is many times more valuable than gold.
2003 年，中国人民保险公司为武夷山“大红袍”母树投保 1 亿元人民币。这是中国人保在全国十大名茶责任保险中投下的最大保额。