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The legend of Da Hong Pao tea

June 24, 2015 4 comments

Da Hong Pao literally means 'Big Red Robe' in English, but when ask serious fans of this famous oolong tea about where the name originates from, it's surprising that the majority doesn't really know. Read about the legend of this famous oolong tea below. It's a enjoyable story to read with a cup of tea.

Zhuan Yuan

On the way to the Imperial Exams

The story starts as follows: In 1385 during the Ming Dynasty, a scholar name Ju Zi Ding was on the way to attend the Imperial exam. This exam was at that time the major path to a career as an official. Unfortunately, on the way to the exams he became ill when he arrived in Wuyishan and wasn't able to continue his journey.

The monk with healing tea

Luckily, a monk from temple name 'Tian Xin Yong Le' passed by and served him a special tea with healing effects. Ju Zi Ding was healed and made it to the exams on time. He eventually passed the exam with the highest score and was awarded an imperial scarlet red robe.

Scholars with the highest scores are called 'Zhuan Yuan' and have a promising career advisng the emperor and taking high officials positions.

The tea honered with an imperial robe

The humble scholar was so grateful that he travelled back to visit the Monk to thank him and ask where he got the tea from that healed him. Once arrived at the tea bushes, Ju Zi Ding took of his red robe and wrapped it 3 circles around the tea bush out of gratitude and carried some Da Hong Pao tea in a jar back to the palace. Since then, the tea is named Da Hong Pao, meaning Big Red Robe in English.

The 'Tian Xin Yong Le' Temple (literally translated in English: Heaven Heart Forever Happiness Temple). The monk that saved the scholar Ju Zi Ting came from this temple.

The emperor's ailing mother

The following part of the story is also often seen as a separate Da Hong Pao story. It's not sure whether the scholar in the next part is the same scholar Ju Zi Ding mentioned above.

One day, a scholar discovered that the Emperor's ailing mother was in a bad health condition. After more than a hundred doctors failed to cure her, the scholar revealed his jar of oolong tea. After the Emperor's mother drank she started to feel better and her health condition gradually improved. The emperor ordered servants to visit the tea bushes from which this tea was from, and made those bushes exclusive for processing tribute tea for the Imperial family. The emperor ordered his servants to visit the same tea business each year while wearing the red robes. It was a traditional that the servants took off the robes and hang it on the tea bushes.

Congrats! You're now a Da Hong Pao expert. We hope that this article will make you enjoy this Wuyi rock tea even more. Feel free to share this story with other Da Hong Pao lovers!

Maddie June 25, 2015 at 1:36 AM
This was really enjoyable to read while I was drinking this tea at the same time.
Mike S. June 25, 2015 at 1:39 AM
Nice read! I am now drinking a Dancong oolong, how is this one different from Dahongpao? The appearance seems pretty much the same.
Teasenz June 25, 2015 at 1:44 AM
The looks of the leaves are indeed quite similar before you steep it. What makes Dahongpao unique is the soil it growns on, contains a lot of minerals due to the erosion of the mountains in Wuyishan. Because if this, it has a unique mineral rich taste.

Dancong like Dahongpao is a more oxidised oolong tea (compared to Tieguanyin). But it's grown in the Phoenix mountain in Guangdong province, where the climate is more tropical. It's made from another Camellia Sinenses type with leaves that are slightly larger.
Wanghua June 25, 2015 at 3:31 AM
I finally know the story behind my favorite tea. Everyone should try this tea! If you didn't like it, you probably didn't try the real stuff