Dark amber in colour with a deep flavour. Notes of nutty chocolate, and a rounded, biscuity aroma like a vintage champagne.
A gaiwan is the ultimate way to enjoy your oolong tea. Used in China since the Ming dynasty (over 900 years ago), gaiwans are unassuming but beautifully functional teapots that can be used to explore tea to its fullest – the following method can be used to make up to six infusions.
Start with 4-6g of oolong tea and pop it in the gaiwan teapot. Boil a kettle to 212°F/100°C, then pour an inch of the water on the leaf for a few seconds, and discard this liquid. This "wash" softens the rolled leaf and allows the water to penetrate.
Fill the gaiwan with the hot water to just below the rim, infuse for 5-10 seconds and strain completely into your cup or a jug. There's no need to reheat the water as you go, because the softened leaves will require lower temperatures to release their flavours - but you will need to extend the time to 10-20 seconds for later steeps. We recommend at least six infusions to allow the leaf to completely open out and reveal all its beauty.
For a more comprehensive guide to using a gaiwan see our full guide here.
Here is a short video demonstrating how to get the most out of your precious oolong leaves with a gaiwan:
Da Hong Pao
This is an extremely rare and special tea, perhaps the finest oolong in China.
Grown from a unique and ancient cultivar in the Wuyishan reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site in the Wuyi Mountains. The terroir is extremely special, and this Da Hong Pao is also known as a "rock tea", because of the high mountain rock below the soil that enriches the leaves.
The legend of Da Hong Pao
Legends are all that survive as to why it is called the Big Red Robe...
It is said that the tea was so beloved by an Emperor - after it cured his mother of a life threatening illness - that he draped the base of the bushes in luxurious red robes to protect the soil in which they grew in the rocky ground.
It is still incredibly beloved across China (and now the world) and worthy of our most tender treatment.
Hand roasted over charcoal
The leaves are roasted over charcoal, allowing a deeper oxidisation and toastier flavour than Tie Guan Yin.
It is of such a high quality, that in even in China, this Da Hong Pao is extremely hard to find. Just a few kilos are handcrafted each year and it is necessary to visit the Wuyishan to purchase it. Thankfully Henrietta, the Tea Lady, has done that for us.