Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea (Big Red Robe): Everything You Need to Know (And How to Make it Properly)

red robe tea leaves

Quick Look:

  • ORIGIN: China
  • TASTING NOTES: robust, sweet, floral, fruity
  • STEEP TIME: 1 minute
  • CAFFEINE METER: Moderate

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What is Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea?

Da Hong Pao is a variety of Oolong and is one of the most famous and expensive teas in the world. Found in the Wuyi Mountains of the Fujian Province, Da Hong Pao is quite rare, as only a few of the original plants still exist. 

Da Hong Pao is also known as “Big Red Robe” tea. Legend has it that the tea made from these particular bushes on the Wuyi mountain cured the emperor’s ailing mother. As a gesture of thanks, the emperor sent red robes, a high honor, to cover the bushes. 

How do you pronounce Da Hong Pao?

The proper way to pronounce da hong pao is “dah hong pow”.

What do you need to make Da Hong Pao Oolong tea?

Tea Scoop

This is the perfect tool to help you get the perfectly measured scoop of tea leaves every single time. You won’t regret adding this to your tea arsenal!

Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is a must-have brew gadget for tea drinkers! You can set the temperature to the degree for the perfect brew every time. This kettle is a favorite of ours. Or you can check out our full post on the best electric tea kettles.

Spring Water or Filtered Water

To get the best flavors from your tea, use high-quality water. Don’t use tap water or distilled water!

Tea Pot

Big Red Robe Oolong tea is traditionally brewed in a Yixing teapot made from purple clay. 
It can also be brewed in a porcelain vessel, such as a gaiwan

Loose Big Red Robe Tea Leaves

Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas.

Tea Cup

This one is up to you! Use whatever cup makes you happy! If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite drinkware.

How do you make Da Hong Pao Oolong tea properly?

To make the perfect cup of Big Red Robe Oolong tea, you will want to use 2 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.

Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.

Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.

Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Make sure to pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.

Step 2: Boil your water.

For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 200°F. This is important, as the flavors will not fully develop if the water does not get hot enough, but if it is too hot you risk scorching the tea leaves. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, bring your kettle to a full boil, then remove it from the heat for a couple of minutes and pour.

Step 3: Warm up your teapot (or steeping vessel).

First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink. 

Step 4: Rinse the tea leaves.

Before steeping, you will want to rinse and awaken your tea with hot water in order to open the leaves. Put your tea in the teapot or steeping vessel, then add a small amount of boiling water. It should be just enough to cover the tea leaves. Once all of the tea leaves are covered, swirl around for about three seconds and then dump out the water, leaving the wet tea leaves in the pot.

Step 5: Add more boiling water and steep the tea leaves.

If you are brewing in a teapot, allow your tea leaves to steep for about 1 minute.

Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.

You can also save your tea leaves for additional steeps. You will be able to get 4-5 infusions out of most Big Red Robe Oolong teas. Don’t forget to increase your steeping time by 30 seconds for each subsequent infusion.

Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup, add sweeteners to taste, and enjoy!

What does Da Hong Pao Oolong tea taste like?

Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) is a robust oolong tea with sweet, floral, and fruity notes. Generally, it does not have any bitterness.

How much caffeine is in Da Hong Pao Oolong tea?

On average, a cup of Big Red Robe tea can have between 50-75 mg of caffeine per cup.

Oolong tea has a bit more caffeine than green tea, but a bit less than black tea, since they are semi-oxidized. 

It is also important to remember that caffeine content will vary depending on steep times and the number of infusions. The longer you steep your tea leaves, the more caffeine you will have. However, each time you re-steep the leaves, the amount of caffeine dwindles. 

What are some health benefits of drinking Da Hong Pao Oolong tea?

Some benefits of drinking Da Hong Pao include: antioxidants, blood sugar control, heart health, and oral health!

For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of Oolong tea.

What is the best way to store Da Hong Pao Oolong tea?

When it comes to storing Big Red Robe tea, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are: air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your Da Hong Pao tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats. 

The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

Here are some good options for storing your Big Red Robe tea:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!

We hope this guide helped you learn everything you need to know about Da Hong Pao Oolong tea and how to make it at home!

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