The quality of this sample is very nice overall with no stems or sticks to bulk it up. The leaves are dark brown with half having light brown tips, they are also curled and quite long and thin in shape. The characteristics are mostly down to the production, with this particular tea being highly oxidized and re roasted before being left to mature for years under specific conditions.

In turn it gives Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) smoky yet floral and sweet characteristics that set it aside from many other Oolongs and teas in general. Plus this brews into the most wonderful orange colour that fills you with warmth whilst drinking.

The tea whilst raw smells like musky autumn leaves with notable floral and sweet highlights.

Once the tea has been washed by a 2 second gaiwan infusion it smells much stronger. Almost like roasted flowers and fermented fruit.

Using my gaiwan I will be adding 6g of tea and starting my steeps with 20 second infusions before increasing by adding an extra 10 seconds per subsequent steep. Water is at 95°C.
Steep One – 20 seconds

Orange brown in appearance with a very roasted nutty smell. Floral on the pallet with a hint of sweetness and a little dry. Despite being roasty there is a lightness there which restores balance between strength and freshness. It reminds me of cooked pecans.

Steep Two – 30 seconds

Golden brown in colour (a touch darker than previously). Smoky baked bread aroma and taste with more pecan/chestnut nuttiness but now with more sweetness. Also a little rice like.

Steep Three – 40 seconds

My favourite steep so far. It’s mellow and roasted with more smokiness and a lot more nuttiness.. Definitely roasted chestnuts in flavour with similarities to malted fruit cake.

Steep Four – 50 seconds

Colour has weakened to a light golden brown. Subtle now in taste and much more floral, so much so there is a slight dry perfumey tinge to it.

Steep Five – 60 seconds

My last steep. Only hints of bread and nuts now with no sweetness to speak of.

Overall this tea had roasted charm, sweetness, floralness, nuttiness, dryness, smoothness, freshness and fruitiness. At it’s best it mimicked a malted fruit cake/loaf which I find agreeable with this snowy weather.

Very different to the Teavivre Da Hong Po I had last night.

For pictures visit my blog.

205 °F / 96 °C

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I’m 34 years old from Leicester, England named Kayleigh.

I started off many years ago drinking herbal and fruit teas which over time peaked my interest in trying new types. Eventually I began to import and sample many different teas and cultures which I still do today. My life goal is to try as many teas and ways of having tea as possible.

Tea wise my cravings change constantly from pu erh one month to jasmine green to the next and so on.

I also enjoy watching Japanese Anime and horror films.

I am always up for tea swaps so if you see anything in my virtual cupboard then please contact me.

A short list to help swapping with me easier though honestly I am not fussy and am willing to try anything. Plus the notes below are usually, sometimes I love a tea that has an ingredient I tend to dislike and other times I hate a tea that I thought I would love.

Likes: Any fruit but especially melon and orange, vanilla, all tea types (black, green, white etc), nuts (any), flowers, ginger, chai.

Dislikes: Licorice, aniseed, clove, eucalyptus, lavender.

My rating system
I have my own way of rating teas that makes each one personal. I have different categories, I rate each tea depending on what it is made of. For example: I rate green teas in a different way to black teas or herbal teas. So black, white, green, Pu Erh, Rooibos, Oolong, blends and tisanes all have their own rating system. That way I can compare them with other teas of the same or similar type before for an adequate rating. And when I do give top marks which is very rare I am actually saying that I would love to drink that tea all day, every day if possible. It’s a tea that I would never turn down or not be in the mood for. So while I agree that no tea is 100% perfect (as nothing is) I am saying that it’s as close as it comes to it. After all, in my book the perfect teas (or close to perfect anyway) are ones that I could drink all the time. That is why you will find a high quality black or Oolong will not have as high a score as a cheap flavoured blend, they are simply not being compared in the same category.


Leicester, England, United Kingdom

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