Review: Teavivre Da Hong Pao

Oolong Tea, Teavivre, Wu Yi Tea Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This tea is enjoyable, especially where the tart berry notes and the stamina of the leaves are concerned, but somewhat lacking in depth. It strikes me as a good everyday kind of tea for someone who's starting to experiment with roasted oolongs. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 7.2/10
Other Teaviews: Raven gave it 7.8/10, Christopher gave it 4/10
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Teavivre's clear and informative website provides loads of details about this tea and is well worth a visit. This roasted oolong is produced on Wuyi Mountain in the Chinese province of Fujian, the birth place of Da Hong Pao tea. The large, loosely twisted leaves display a lovely maroon hue. Their aroma is rather mild but seesaws interestingly between smoke, toasted grains, honey and peaches.

Teavivre's brewing instructions may seem a little excessive, suggesting to use 3 to 4 teaspoons of leaf in 8 ounces of boiling water for a 1 to 3 minute steep. The leaves are quite large and fluffy, so that amount doesn't seem unreasonable in practice. Since I was using a 6 ounce cup I scaled back to 2 and a half teaspoonfuls and infused them for 3 minutes. The liquor is a beautiful shade of rusty red. The cup is scented with a smokey and slightly sour fruit aroma. The tea feels smooth and relatively light bodied. Toasted bread notes mingle with sweet and tart berry flavours. An elusive resinous element also comes out to play once in a while. A smokey, almost tannic, chocolatey kick joins them for the finish. As it cools a peach and honeysuckle flavour begins to emerge. Unfortunately I'd almost finished my cup at this point, so I didn't get to enjoy it for long. It's a solid, interesting cup, but it's not as spectacular as other Da Hong Paos I've tried.

Following a 4 minute steep, my second cup is milder and more uni-dimensionally sweet, with subtle toffee and sweet potato notes dominating the flavour profile. It goes down easy, with just a hint of tannins to the finish. The tart fruitiness of the initial brew has almost completely disappeared.

I steeped the leaves a third time for 5 minutes. This infusion is smooth and flavourful, with hints of roasted barley, raspberry and sweet potato. There is a touch of smoke while very hot that quickly fades away. This is a thoroughly enjoyable cup – I wouldn't guess that it's the third brew at all.

I brewed the leaves again for a final, 6 minute-long infusion. The cup is remarkably similar to the previous one, only a touch fainter. Instead of becoming bitter or abrasive, these leaves are just progressively becoming more muted.

This tea is enjoyable, especially where the tart berry notes and the stamina of the leaves are concerned, but somewhat lacking in depth. The promised floral notes fall particularly short. It strikes me as a good everyday kind of tea for someone who's starting to experiment with roasted oolongs. It's reasonably priced for the genre and fairly foolproof to prepare, provided that enough leaf is used. I won't be buying it for myself but it is a solid offering.

— To purchase Teavivre Da Hong Pao, 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: Sophie Sophie
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