Wu Yi Mountain, the birthplace of oolong tea, has the famous six bushes, perched on a cliff face inscribed with the characters for Big Red Robe. These bushes are estimated to be more than 300 years old – much older than is common for a tea bush. They are sustained in their uncommon old age by the spring water and rich soil provided by the weathered rock. Researchers say of these five bushes, there are three distinct varieties, one of them is named Qi Dan. Although these famous bushes are no longer actually harvested, cuttings taken from the bushes and propagated in other fields makes it possible for us to still drink these ancient tea varieties.
This varietal, whose name means extreme red, belongs to Da Hong Pao category but made of reproduction of the original bush. It has uniformly twisted thick leaves, which are a rich brown color with a light gray sheen. Since its dry leaves give a distinctive impression of sweet flowers and fruits aroma. After brewing, Qi Dan presents a clear and peach-hued liquor, filling the mouth with a mellow and roasting flavor and lingering sweet end note. A deep fragrance of dried fruit, prunes and apricots is released, pine and spice flavors last through many infusions. The empty cup retains delicious aromas of cherry and honey.
Brewing Guide: Before brewing, hot rinse this tea by pouring boiling water over the leaves and discarding the water. Use two teaspoons of tea per 8-12 oz of water. Steep for 2 minutes with boiling water. If you are interested in a lighter brew try using 1 teaspoon of dry leaves. If you are interested in a stronger brew try steeping for 3 minutes.