The unique soil composition found in the rocky crevices and trenches of the mountains imparts a resilient and mellow quality to Da Hong Pao, hailed as the "king of teas." Growing in the Wuyi Mountain range, Da Hong Pao absorbs the natural essence of the mountains and rivers, possessing the charm of "rock bone and flower fragrance." Its infusion is warm and mellow, with a delicate and smooth taste that highlights the rocky essence.
As one of the best loose leaf teas, Da Hong Pao has always enjoyed a stellar reputation. Throughout history, many who have tasted Da Hong Pao have marveled at the exquisite flavor of this historic tea, leaving behind a trove of interesting historical stories.
Legend of Da Hong Pao
There is a legend that one year, a scholar was traveling to Beijing for the imperial examination. When he reached a certain temple, he fell ill with a high fever and was worried about missing the exam. The monks from the temple picked fresh leaves and brewed a tea for him. After consuming the tea, the scholar's illness miraculously disappeared.
In gratitude, the scholar hurriedly proceeded to Beijing and, indeed, achieved the top honors in the examination. Wanting to express his gratitude, he returned to the Tianxin Rock and asked the old monk about the medicine he had been given. The monk pointed to the several Da Hong Pao tea trees and explained that the tea leaves were used to brew the medicine. The scholar was so grateful that he bowed down and even took off his red robe to drape it over the Da Hong Pao bushes.
The Tea Ceremony of Da Hong Pao
Before the Qingming Festival, on the day of Jingzhe, the area beneath the Da Hong Pao trees becomes lively, as the local government holds a grand Da Hong Pao tea ceremony. Respected tea farmers declare the ritual with solemn words: "To the gods, in silent operation, with the Earth's rhythms and qi, the spirit of tea springs forth, especially unique in early spring. The fragrance of rock milk lingers, the dragon-shaped tea clusters delight the palate, offered to the world as an eternal tribute. With your divine power, we present this ceremony." After the ritual, a red robe is reverently draped over the tea trees halfway up the mountainside.
The tradition of this tea ceremony in Wuyi Mountain has ancient roots, with documented records tracing back to the Tang Dynasty. A poet from Fujian named Xu Yin recorded this ceremony in a poem included in the entire Tang poetry collection, titled "In Wuyi, warm spring, the moon beginning to round, picking new buds, presenting to the Earth Immortal." Even in the Tang Dynasty, tea cultivators in Wuyi Mountain believed that tea was a spiritual entity between heaven and earth, and with a sense of gratitude, they would offer the newest tea buds to the Earth Immortal during tea picking.
This illustrates that the unique flavor of Da Hong Pao is closely tied to its distinctive natural environment. The distinct flavors of other famous oolong teas, such as TieGuanyin and Fenghuang Dancong, are similarly related to their places of origin.
The tea ceremony of Da Hong Pao has been passed down through the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, reaching its pinnacle during the Yuan Dynasty. During the Yuan Dynasty, a man named Gaoxing, passing through Wuyi Mountain, purchased several pounds of the renowned rock tea known as "stone milk." After drinking it and feeling invigorated, he presented this tea to the Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan. The emperor, pleased with the tea, rewarded Gaoxing with a higher status, and even Gaoxing's son, Gao Jiuzhu, was appointed as the overseer in Shao Wu Road near Wuyi Mountain.
Gao Jiuzhu, being more intelligent than his father, thought, "My father offered a few pounds of tea and received promotions. Why don't I build an imperial tea garden in Wuyi Mountain?" In the sixth year of the Yuan Dade era, in the year 1302, he constructed the Imperial Tea Garden in the city center of Wuyi Mountain. Every year during tea picking season, officials, tea workers, farmers, and laborers would gather there, beating drums and carrying offerings like mountain deities, fruits, and pig heads. They would chant "Tea buds, sprout!" as part of this elaborate ritual.
Why is Da Hong Pao So Famous?
Da Hong Pao is truly recognized as the "Tea King," and this acknowledgment can be traced back to the Xianfeng era of the Qing Dynasty. During that time, the external tea trade of Wuyi Mountain was already flourishing, and tea competitions were held annually among various tea estates. From these competitions emerged the four great tea categories, and during the Xianfeng era of the Qing Dynasty, Da Hong Pao firmly established its position as the Tea King, a status it has never wavered from since.
In particular, during the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong, after tasting Da Hong Pao, composed two poems. In one, titled "Brewing Tea on a Rainy Night," written when he was still the crown prince, he compared all tribute teas and concluded that "among them, Wuyi tea is the best, with a taste that is clear, harmonious, and penetrating to the bone." Furthermore, after drinking Da Hong Pao, he soaked olives from Fujian with Da Hong Pao, creating olive tea. He remarked, "Wuyi should be delighted to have a new friend; bitterness, as it turns out, is shared among kin."
To experience the classic flavor of the famous loose leaf oolong tea, Da Hong Pao, it is crucial to choose a reliable source. Welcome to purchase Da Hong Pao provided by iTeaworld, sourced from the core production area in Wuyi Mountain, allowing you to savor the authentic taste of Da Hong Pao.
Understanding these intriguing historical stories about Da Hong Pao provides us with a deeper insight into this classic oolong tea. These stories not only represent the experiences and interpretations of ancient people regarding Da Hong Pao but also embody a spirit and aesthetics within Chinese tea culture. They allow us to feel the profound heritage and richness of Chinese tea culture.