Authentique Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea

(1 customer review)


Authentic Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea from direct descendants of the Da Hong Pao motherbushes. The tea plants thrive in a tea garden of the Chen family in Wuyishan’s zhengyang area, the core area for the cultivation of genuine Wuyi Yancha / rock oolong teas. Steintees. Finest leaf quality and picking standard; medium  roast and degree of oxidation; open rolled leaf; taste: mineral-earthy base note, dominated by sweet harmoniously composed and embedded dried fruit notes.

For more detailed information and illustrations, please refer to the product description below.


What is Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea?

Da Hong Pao (“Big Red Robe”) is one of the best-known varieties of Wuyi “Yan Cha” or “rock oolong” tea. As the name already tells, these ar native to Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Province, China. According to legend, it once happened in the days of the Ming Dynasty that the mother of a Chinese emperor recovered from a serious illness thanks to the enjoyment of a particular tea. Thereupon, the emperor had the five tea bushes, from which the tea had come, clad in in imperial red robes.

4 remaining Da Hong Pao motherbushes in Zhengyan, Wuyishan, Fujian, China

Da Hong Pao Motherbushes in Wuyishan

Well, there must be a true core to that story at least. As the four Da Hong Pao “mother bushes” remaining today have been in the limelight ever since. Back in the old days, the few hundred grams of the tea  bushes’ annual yield were reserved exclusively for the imperial court. In more recent times, however, rather than serving consumption, the mother bushes have been subject to extended scientic studies.

One result of these studies was the realization that the 4 shrubs are not of the same tea plant variety. Instead, 2 of the 4 bushes each belong to the individual varieties “Qidan” and “Beidou”. Accordingly, there are TWO types of Authentic Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea. These are Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea and Bei Dou Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea. However, distinguishing the tea from both bush types, however, is quite a challenge even for well-practiced tea sommeliers. Both leaves (dry as wet) and infusion show a similar visual appearance. And in terms of taste, the differences between both varieties consist in no more than finest nuances. Nevertheless, we felt a strong urge towards offering both varieties in their pure form at Siam Tea Shop.

Wuyi Qidan Da Hong Pao Tea Bush

Qidan Da Hong Pao Tea Bush

Spread of the Motherbushes’ First Generation Cutoffs

Towards the end of the 1980s, scientists finally managed to raise genetically identical tea plants from cutoffs of the mother bushes. Then they distributed specimen of both varieties of these “first generation cutoffs” among Wuyi tea farmers. Only this way, Da Hong Pao Oolong tea could become available to tea lovers across the world. Nevertheless, most teas on the western retailing market bearing the label “Da Hong Pao” will still be fakes. That is, to some degree… After all, authentic Da Hong Pao Oolong tea must meet the following two conditions:

  • The tea leaves must come from direct descendants of the mother bushes (whether qidan or beidou)
  • The tea bushes must grow within “zhengyan”, Wuyishan’s core area for the cultavation of authentic Wuyi rock teas

Cindy Chen - Wuyi Rock Tea Bushes

Our Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea

One of the tea grower families who received specimen of the first generation cutoffs from the Da Hong Pao mother bushes was the Chen family. Today, it is their daughter Cindy who continues the family’s tradition of cultivating and processing tea. And it is thanks to Cindy Chen, our producer partner in Wuyishan, that we can now enjoy authentic Da Hong Pao Oolong tea of both varieties at Siam Tea Shop!

Authentic Beidou and Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Teas from the first generation cutoffs of the motherbushes in Zhengyan, Wuyishan


In processing, Da Hong Pao Oolong tea can be roasted and oxidized to different degrees. Characteristic, however, are the medium roasting and degree of oxidation and the open rolling of the leaf as present here. The superior picking standard, excellent leaf quality and respectful manual processing of our Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong tea become obvious at the sight of the wet tea leaves after infusion.

Taste and Appearance

Wuyi rock teas are generally characterized by a special mineral taste. This is due to the special, high in minerals soil of Wuyishan’s zhengyan area. To these add a characteristic roast/smoke note, coming from the manual roasting over charcoal fire, and a pronounced sweetness . The latter again embeds a number of complex fruity notes, the presence of which may vary considerably depending on picking standard, processing and preparation.

Authentic Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea from the first generation cutoffs of the motherbushes, by Cindy Chen, Zhengyan, Wuyishan

The dried tea leaves of our Qidan Da Hong Pao are of slender, elongated shape and dark reddish-brown to black color, pleasing with a soft nose of ripe fruit. This again finds reflection in the infusion’s fragrance and also dominates the liquor’s taste. At this, the fruity notes are well grounded, combining with the soft sweetness of dried fruit to impeccable harmony in the overall picture. The clear infusion color changes from golden yellow to amber to reddish brown, depending on infusion period.

Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea from the first generation cutoffs of the motherbushes, by Cindy Chen, Zhengyan, Wuyishan


Basically, there are two ways of preparing an oolong tea such as our Qidan Da Hong Pao. The first of these  would be the explorative approach of preparing your tea through a series of multiple infusions, each of which with a short infusion period only. For this form of exploration of individual flavor nuances of an oolong tea stands the Chinese “Gong Fu Cha” or tea ceremony. This approach usually uses high dosages and brewing periods of less than a minute. Then, in western tea culture, tea drinkers tend to “combine” the enjoyment potential of a tea in one or two infusions. These usually have a comparatively low dosage and infuse up to 5 minutes per steep.

Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea from the first generation cutoffs of the motherbushes, by Cindy Chen, Zhengyan, Wuyishan

Now, there’s not always enough time for the ritual celebration of our tea. On the other hand, the second approach doesn’t live up to preparing an oolong tea. And this applies in particular to a rare and precious oolong tea such as our Qidan Da Hong Pao. For “home use”, we therefore suggest a mixed form of preparation, combining the best of both worlds.

Dosage: As a starting dosage we always recommend 200ml of water on 4 grams of tea leaves. This parameter can be adjusted for further exploration as well as according to individual preferences.

Water temperature: To infuse an oolong tea of higher oxidation degree, first heat the water to boiling level. Then allow it to cool down to about 85-90 ° C.

Infusion period: Initially, apply an infusion period of 2-3 minutes to the first steep.  Then, for a second infusion, reduce the steeping time to 1-2 minutes only. Finally add brewing time again to further infusions (3/4/5 minutes). This way, our Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong tea will produce a series of full value infusions … And surprise with always new taste profiles!

Authentischer Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tee von der 1. Ablegergeneration der Mutterbüsche; von Cindy Chen, Zhengyan, Wuyishan

More about Wuyishan and Yancha Oolong Teas

There’s more information about Wuyishan, Wuyi teas and our Wuyi producer partner in our pertaining Siam Tea Blog articles

Wuyi Mountains – Home of Rock Tea


The Chen Family, Wuyishan – Yancha and Bohea Tea Cultivation in 3rd Generation

More Wuyi Yan Cha (Wuyi Rock Oolong Teas) at Siam Tea Shop:

Additional information

Weight N/A

25g, 50g, 100g

1 review for Authentique Qidan Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea

  1. Teresa

    It takes gut to review the Emperor of Wuyi Zhengyan tea. Let me venture out and be the first.

    The fame and Da Hong Pao needs no further mention. When I was brewing this tea, I thought to myself: If I am an Imperial Empress in China, would I be happy with this brew?

    Then my thought turns to the Imperial kitchen and the poor Eunuch: “If I make the slightest mishap with the Steeping, would my head get chopped off and my extended family killed? How would I serve this tea so to make sure I survive another day?”

    I think the head of the Imperial Kitchen and the attending Eunuch would be quite safe, if it was Thomas and Cindy Chen’s family bushes. A terrible Da Hong Pao would be an unlikely cause of their premature demise.

    Personally, I would serve this tea to the Empress in almost all occasion, but especially during leisure when she is having fun chatting with her fellow Concubine sisters, or playing chess. Or when she feels like something to drink very slowly for a very long time. It is a slender, lively tea with the primary note as Zhengshan Oolong, and a very exceptional bright, magnanimous, also a smoked caramel like second equally predominant note. The body is quite smooth and a great after taste and sustain. It also allows for a slight hiccup and the occasional over over-brewing – as within 10-15 minutes there will be no release of tannin (!)

    If I have to sum up this Dao Hong Pao in one sentence, it will be “You can’t go wrong.” You don’t need super refined water quality, solid tea experience or due diligence to appreciate the descendent of this Imperial offering. Highly recommend for … well, anyone really. 🙂

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