Here we have an even more unusual tea to continue with our selection of new Taiwanese oolongs. Yes, you read the title correctly--this tea is billed as Taiwanese Big Red Robe. But just how close is this tea to Fujian's most famous rock oolong?
My first question encountering this tea was "Which tea plant cultivar was used?" After all, even in mainland China, there's quite a bit of disagreement as to which plant actually constitutes Da Hong Pao. Our tea source revealed that the Taiwanese farmer who produced this tea actually used Buddha Hand leaves but processed them in the Da Hong Pao style. I'm not exactly sure what this means, since I can't call to mind any other examples of Da Hong Pao coming from Taiwan, so it might be that the producer chose the mother of all marketing buzzwords to get people interested in her experimental tea.
Despite its tenuous claims to the title of "Da Hong Pao" this tea is certainly an exceptional experiment. Though its name conjures ideas of roasted rock oolong, in reality it's closer to the Red Jinxuan we last featured. I'd describe this tea as even closer to a black tea--the liquor is a deep crimson color and the leaves are even darker green with much more red present. Compared with the Jinxuan, the liquor has a more present astringency in the finish, toward the back of the mouth. What really surprised me in comparison with the Jinxuan was this tea's up-front fruity note. Now knowing it's from the Buddha Hand cultivar, it's easier to understand, but even for Buddha Hand this is almost a punch-like fruitiness. Apparently the processing includes organic treatment like our Oriental Beauty and Red Jinxuan, so perhaps there is also some leaf hopper effect happening as well.
This is an extremely interesting tea unlike any I've tasted before--we have a very limited quantity, so please stop by soon if you're interested in trying it out.