7 Facts on the Legend of Da Hong Pao Tea that Will Blow Your Mind

7 Facts on the Legend of Da Hong Pao Tea that Will Blow Your Mind


Did you know that the most expensive tea in the world, Da Hong Pao, can sell for up to $1 million per kilogram?

Apparently, the famous Da Hong Pao tea was given as a welcome gift to President Richard Nixon when he visited China in 1972 which symbolized budding friendship and peace among the two nations. 

These are just a few of the many interesting facts that we will be exploring in our new monthly tea trivia blog.

In this blog post, we will be busting some popular myths and stories related to tea culture and the cultivation of the most expensive tea in the world- Da Hong Pao. 

Our monthly tea trivia is an exciting space for all the tea lovers out there who are curious about the world of teas. We promise to keep you entertained and informed with our dose of fun tea facts.


The Story of Da Hong Pao Tea

The story of Da Hong Pao tea is steeped in legend. According to a local Chinese legend, an emperor’s mother came down with an illness that was only cured after drinking tea made from special tea bushes in the Wuyi Mountains. The other legend goes about a scholar named Ju Zi Ding who had his cold miraculously cured after drinking tea from the same bushes which was served to him by a mysterious monk.

Da Hong Pao tea is considered to be a symbol of wealth, status, and good health in China. It is often used for gifting purposes or served to elite guests. Its uniqueness lies in its abundant flavour. This type of oolong tea is heavily oxidized which means that it has been allowed to ferment for a longer period of time than other oolong teas. This gives the tea its characteristic dark brown colour and strong, roasted flavour. Da Hong Pao is also very smooth and mellow with a woody fragrance and velvety smooth texture with earthy notes that leave a profound lasting effect on the senses.

Apart from its distinctive flavours, Da Hong Pao tea is perhaps the most popular tea in the country of China, which is why there are so many varieties of the tea coming forth that are in fact inferior in quality and are falsely sold as “authentic”. Are you interested to know more about this exotic tea? If so, here are a few more mind-blowing facts about Da Hong Pao tea and its cultivation:

  1. The tea was first auctioned in 2002 when it got world-famous for being sold for $28,000 per 20 grams! It was 30 times the price of gold at that time. The reason behind its sky-high price was its limited rare supply. Only a few leaves from the mother tea tree were left after the auction. This led to a ban on its production by the Chinese government to ensure the preservation of these precious remnants for future generations.
  2. Da Hong Pao is also known as Big Red Robe. The name originated from an imperial decree by the emperor to safeguard the tea bushes by enveloping them in red robes. It aimed to shield the tea from the harsh environment while maintaining its medicinal properties. Of course, this practice is no longer observed today. It is one of the many captivating legends surrounding the Da Hong Pao tea, but it is still quite amusing to imagine a wild tea garden on a mountain adorned in vibrant rich red robes!
  3. In the Qing dynasty (1636- 1912), Da Hong Pao often ranked first in the local tea trade competitions and won the title of “King of the tea”. It is believed that the local people were required to worship the tea using animals, flowers, and fruits before picking the tea leaves every year. 
  4. The Wuyi Mountains are located in the Fujian province which is mostly unknown to international visitors. Its subtropical climate makes it one of the world’s most important tea-producing regions. Apart from the Reb Robe Tea, the mountains grow the highest quality smoky Bohea tea which was perhaps the largest tea import during colonial times. 
  5. Among the six tea bushes that proudly produced Da Hong Pao tea for thousands of centuries. Only 4 original tea bushes are used for production that is considered to be 95% as pure as the other 2 mother bushes that are restricted to be used. The most affordable Da Hong Pao is actually a blend of other Wuyi rock teas with similar flavour characteristics.  
  6. Like many other types of teas, Da Hong Pao contains antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins, and flavonoids, as well as vitamins, minerals, and caffeine. It helps to increase metabolism and burn fat. It can also help soothe eczema and improve skin health. 
  7. There are only 10 skilled tea masters in Wuyishan city who know how to make Big Red Robe tea using the old techniques. These techniques involve meticulously hand-rolling the leaves the form a black dragon-like shape which is then tried. The traditional Da Hong Pao tea is brewed in purified water and used in a purple clay teapot to bring out the most exquisite flavour.

Those lucky enough to get their hands on the original Da Hong Pao tea must be a truly rewarding experience. We hope this article provided you with valuable insights on the most expensive tea in the world. Feel free to share this with fellow tea enthusiasts and spread the love for this extraordinary beverage! 

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