Review: Canton Tea Co. Big Red Robe Oolong

Canton Tea Co., Oolong Tea, Wu Yi Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"on taste, that smoke transitioned to something with a fruit-floral center more in line with a high altitude oolong."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.3/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7.5/10, Shaiha gave it 5.5/10, Samantha gave it 8.0/10
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cantonbigredrobeoolongI read a tea article recently that complained about the "trendiness" of tea companies having a Silver Needle white tea on their roster. The trend can be compared to the unwritten rule that every company - even those that don't specialize in British tea blends - have an Earl Grey of some sort. It's as if they're not worth their weight in leaves if they don't have either; like a dictionary without the word "etymology", or a Bible without "the Nephilim". (Too obscure?) But neither Earl Grey or Silver Needle - in my opinion - hold a candle to the recent surge of Da Hong Pao (or Big Red Robe) oolongs that've hit the market. A year ago, I didn't even know what it was, but now? This will be my fourth.

Canton Tea Co.,however, deserves credit. Their offering smelled awesome. The burnt, twisty leaves gave off a succulent sweet rice aroma with a spicy tickle. It almost reminded me of basmati lathered in gulab jamun sauce. (Still too obscure?) In essence, for a non-flavored tea, it smelled like dessert. But a foreign dessert.

Brewing instructions called for "1 tbs per cup (200ml); water temperature: 100°C (212°F) infused three minutes". I didn't deviate from that too much, except raising the "cup" size to 8oz.

The roasted leaves infused the hot water from clear to bronze-brown. The aromatic steam reminded me of a Keemun black tea, more smoky than anything but not quite on the level of Lapsang Souchong. However, on taste, that smoke transitioned to something with a fruit-floral center more in line with a high altitude oolong. To my relieve, also, the usual oolong astringency was lacking. It was a roasty cup but with an added apple note that made for an additional dazzle.

I've liked the Da Hong Paos I've tried but never loved them. This made me see why some of these can go for $20,000 an ounce. If only for a split second.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Big Red Robe Oolong, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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