Review of Da Hong Pao Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
6 of 104 of 53 of 563 of 100
GoodGoodReasonable

The tea that I got is packaged in individual packets, each containing six grams (about three US tea bags worth) of relatively large, but broken pieces of tea leaf. It doesn't smell as strongly as most roasted oolongs, but it also doesn't smell overly roasted as inexpensive oolongs often do. Adding water brings out a bit more aroma, but not much. It still smells like a rather mediocre roasted oolong.

The flavor is both surprising and interesting. It's much stronger than I would have guessed from the nose. The initial flavor is of dark, bitter caramel and the sweetness evolves in the finish to tobacco smoke. I don't mean "ash tray", but like the aftertaste of a quality cigar. In subsequent sips, I taste bitter cocoa and nuts. Basically, the flavor is dominated by a mellow, warm bitterness with a mild astringency. Sweetness is fleeting, but it rounds out the flavor. As I reach the end of the cup, I can taste more of the tea through the roast. I'm getting the earthy, tannic flavors that are present in certain Chinese black and cooked pu erh teas. The smokiness, though mild, has become a bit distracting by this point, but that's one of the reasons that I don't in general like roasted oolongs as much as other teas.

I had a look at the spent tea leaves and didn't see any twigs or old leaves, but I also didn't see any small tips like one would expect from high quality tea. I paid $10 for 120g/4oz, so the price is about in line with the quality of the tea.

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