Many tea enthusiasts are particularly fond of Da Hong Pao. In leisure moments, after work, appreciating the unique Wuyi rock tea charm of Da Hong Pao and experiencing the mellow tea fragrance of top-notch high-end oolong tea is truly a delightful aspect of life. So, what exactly is the "Yanyun" of Da Hong Pao? The following will take you to understand in detail.
What is the "Yanyun" of Da Hong Pao?
The typical characteristic of Wuyi Mountain Da Hong Pao rock tea can be summarized by the two words "Yanyun," which can be understood but not easily conveyed. Many tea enthusiasts who love Da Hong Pao rock tea are actually attracted by the essence of "Yanyun" in Da Hong Pao.
Speaking of "Yanyun," we should trace it back to a day over two hundred years ago when Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, after handling the memorials on his desk, tasted the just-contributed Da Hong Pao from Wuyi Mountain. The taste impressed him, and he wrote down, "Among the Wuyi teas, the best in quality, with a clear and harmonious aroma combined with a robust backbone." In just a few strokes, he accurately described the subtlety of Wuyi Mountain Da Hong Pao. The "robust backbone" here refers to "Yanyun." Qianlong became the first person to appreciate the "Yanyun" of Da Hong Pao, and he was also the first to explicitly state that Da Hong Pao has "Yanyun." Wuyi Mountain, with its clear waters and red mountains, deep ravines with sulfur winds, lush rocks and soils, misty rain, and frequent cloudy mornings, bestows the unique "rock-structured floral fragrance" of Da Hong Pao rock tea as a gift to people.
"The elite beauty admired by the essence of mountains and rivers, possessing the victory of rock-structured floral fragrance," this magical quality of "Yanyun" is unique to rock tea and Da Hong Pao, making it one of the most exceptional qualities of best loose leaf tea. Its concentrated expression of "Yanyun" includes: a unique natural floral fragrance and a natural authentic taste. The aroma is thick, lasting, and clear, with a rich floral and fruity fragrance. The taste is mellow and thick, resembling the heaviness of rock structure. After drinking, the tongue experiences a returning sweetness, and the texture is smooth and refreshing. The soup color is orange-yellow (amber), with green leaves and red edges, and the fragrance lingers even after seven infusions.
Specific Characteristics of Da Hong Pao Rock Tea
The tea soup of Wuyi Mountain Da Hong Pao rock tea is generally sweet, mellow, fresh, and smooth, showcasing the elegant flavor of loose leaf oolong tea. However, upon closer examination, Da Hong Pao rock tea has many specific characteristics.
The color of the rock tea soup is usually golden or orange-yellow, with a slight red hue, clear and bright. This characteristic makes it easily distinguishable from other types of tea. The degree of fermentation of tea leaves and the level of roasting contribute to variations in the soup color. Generally, heavily fermented and high-fired Da Hong Pao rock tea tends to have a darker and redder color, while lightly fermented and low-fired tea exhibits a lighter and more yellowish hue.
Referring to the fragrance of the tea, the Ming Dynasty scholar Zhang Yuan (1595 AD) stated in "Tea Records": "Fragrance includes true fragrance, orchid fragrance, clear fragrance, and pure fragrance. If the inside and outside match, it is called pure fragrance. Green fragrance is achieved with proper roasting. Orchid fragrance is bestowed by pre-rain divine conditions, true fragrance is more profound. There are also lingering fragrance, leaking fragrance, floating fragrance, and stuffy fragrance, all of which are non-authentic aromas." This passage provides insightful guidance. Tea aroma comes in various types, including variety-specific aroma, production-induced aroma, added aroma (as in jasmine tea), and comprehensive aroma. Da Hong Pao rock tea encompasses both variety and production-induced comprehensive aroma. Regardless of the type of aroma, the most fundamental is the natural aroma of the tea leaves themselves, with other aromas being secondary. The aroma of Da Hong Pao rock tea carries a robust essence, sometimes described as "domineering." This fragrance seems to penetrate the cup lid, giving a powerful impression. Moreover, the fragrance does not dissipate; it presents itself as a cohesive "mass." The most satisfying sensation is the lingering fragrance at the bottom of the cup, referred to as "cup-bottom fragrance" or "cold fragrance." After the tea soup cools down, smelling the bottom of the cup provides an exquisite experience.
There are two types of sweetness. First is the immediate sweetness upon tasting. For good Da Hong Pao rock tea, there is a sweet and refreshing taste upon entry. However, it is not the cloying sweetness found in some Pu-erh teas. The aftertaste of Da Hong Pao rock tea is diffusive, expanding directly through your throat, providing a cool and expansive sensation. It might not feel like an aftertaste at first, but after drinking Da Hong Pao rock tea, you'll experience a refreshing sensation in your mouth and throat, a comfortable and pleasant feeling.
Refers to the richness of the tea taste and the thickness of the tea soup. Tea taste is a unique flavor reminiscent of Chinese herbal medicine that can be distinctly sensed in any tea soup. The tea taste of Yan tea is lighter than loose leaf green tea but denser than loose leaf black and loose leaf dark teas. The tea soup is thicker than green tea but not as thick as Pu-erh black tea, giving it a clear and light appearance. When compared to TieGuanyin, another type of oolong tea, the tea soup of Yan tea is thicker, and the tea taste is more robust. Therefore, in the Fujian tea industry, there is a comparison between Yan tea and TieGuanyin, described as the "southern fragrance and northern water."
The tea soup is refreshing and delicious, akin to chicken soup. The reason for this freshness is that the amino acid content is more than twice that of typical green tea.
Smoothness is in contrast to astringency. After the tea soup enters the mouth, there is a sensation of tea on the tip of the tongue. As it progresses, the back half of the tongue seems to lose sensation, and without the need to swallow, the tea soup has already "slipped" or "melted" into the throat and stomach. Of course, good tea is generally smooth upon entry, but due to the denseness of Yan tea soup, smoothness or melting becomes particularly precious.
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In China, drinking tea brings a sense of pure joy. This simple happiness, arising from a level of understanding, resonates differently for each individual. For Da Hong Pao, this mysterious and charming quality is none other than the Yanyun.