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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Unique Tea: Dà Hóng Páo

The most famous tea trees in China
Image from Postcard Teas

Dà Hóng Páo - real Dà Hóng Páo - is a unique and legendary tea made from 350-year-old tea bushes. It is called the King of Teas in China and was the tea that Mao gave Nixon when he visited China. In 2006, this tea sold for over $30,000 for 20 grams.

From Wiki:
Dà Hóng Páo (大红袍) is a very important Wuyi Oolong tea. Legend has it that the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that tea originated. Three of these original bushes, growing on a rock on Mount Wuyi (see photo above) and reportedly dating to the Song Dynasty, still survive today and are highly venerated.

Less than one kilogram of tea is harvested from these plants each year, of which a portion is retained by the Chinese government. The remainder of this original and real Dà Hóng Páo is auctioned, with an initial asking price of 4000 RMB/100g, but often reaching millions of dollars per kilogram.

Cuttings taken from the original plants have been used to produce similar grades of tea from genetically identical plants.

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