Lately I’ve been reaching for the oolong in the afternoons.

Oolong Big Red Robe

Specifically today it’s Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) from TaoTeaLeaf.  By no coincidence it was with Tao that I went to the Wuyi mountains in China a couple of years ago to see and taste this wonderful tea.  It felt a bit ridiculous to have accreditation as a Tea Sommelier without ever having seen a living breathing tea plant, and being on a ‘tea tour’ was a wonderful agricultural avenue into contemporary Chinese culture.

Oolong Da Hong Pao

How about this for a mini, MacGyvered tea tray drain board?  (It’s a steamer in a cake pan.)  I got the little teapot on the same trip while in Yixing and seasoned it when I got back home.

Wuyi Shan Da Hong Pao garden

The Wuyi mountains are famous for their oolongs and especially Da Hong Pao.  Oh yes, and they’re gorgeous.

Wuyi Big Red Robe Garden sign

Da Hong Pao is an almost fully oxidised oolong, and this one has a beautiful warm aroma of fire and baked yam on the leaves and a typical stonefruit note of bitter-sweet apricot.  It’s medium bodied and perfectly refreshing on this hot summer afternoon.