A Tea Addict's Journal

Dahongpao, or Big Crimson Robe

June 7, 2009 · 8 Comments

My school’s colour is crimson, which is a kind of red.  Dahongpao, as you probably all know, is a famous tea, and a very good one at that.  So, I thought it fitting, in 2004, to buy a little dahongpao to keep for the occasion of graduation.

You can see a sea of crimson robes out there.  They’re puffy.  I thought it’s fitting.

Unfortunately, I’m not the one graduating, but fortunately, my wife is (or rather, was).  So, it gives me an excuse to break out the box I’ve been saving up.

This is a Best Tea House “1st generation transplanted” dahongpao, which is supposedly from a tree that is only one generation removed from the original three dahongpao plants.  Truthfulness in advertising aside, it’s a good tea.  So, I duly cut opened the seal of the bags (the tea was double bagged).  The bags were not vacuum packed.  Interestingly enough, upon opening the first bag, you can already smell the tea.

Looking like good dahongpao leaves.

I usually brew dahongpao with a heavy hand, but since we had a guest today, I tried it lighter so it wouldn’t be overpowering to the point of discomfort.  The tea is very sweet, and since I haven’t had this tea for years, I forgot that it is actually only medium fired, at most.  The roasting is actually quite well done, without being too heavy but just enough to kill the greenness that you sometimes find in newer yancha.  Also, there’s a hint of fruitiness in the tea that I don’t remember.  Perhaps it’s because I brewed it ligther, or perhaps because after five years of storage, the roasting has dissipated just enough.  There isn’t a whole lot of aged taste yet, confirming my theory that an oolong stored in a sealed environment won’t change much over only a few years — if you want real change, it either has to be stored in a jar with a minimal amount of air exchange, or be stored for a long time.  This is, basically, a slightly aged oolong.

The qi (I noticed I have not mentioned this word on this blog for months…. if not literally years) of this tea is quite decent.  Not a bad tea at all, and certainly didn’t disappoint after all these years.  I rolled up the bags, taped them up, and closed the box again.  Next time I open it, you can call me Dr. MarshalN.

Categories: Old Xanga posts

8 responses so far ↓

  • HobbesOxon // June 7, 2009 at 3:14 am | Reply

    Do you have any in dark blue, perchance? 🙂

  • MarshalN // June 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Reply

    Dark blue? I thought your school does blue mixed in with some red?

  • HobbesOxon // June 8, 2009 at 6:22 am | Reply

    All UK doctoral robes look the same, red-n-blue. They’re a direct result of our medieval Sumptuary Laws, which regulated which social classes could wear which colours. Doctors/clergy got the red-and-blue!

    (Actually, these are our “dress” robes. We usually wear “undress” robes for the usual weekly grind of teaching/dinners/services/etc., which are plain black.)

    I rather like the US system of having your own university’s colours on your doctoral robes, as they can be very pretty. Those shown in your photograph, for example. We recently saw photographs of Pres. Obama giving an address at a large Catholic university with some rather nice black-and-blue robes.

    What do you do on university “Scarlet Days”, though, if your robes are all the colours of the rainbow? 🙂



  • MarshalN // June 8, 2009 at 8:04 am | Reply

    Obama’s robe was for Notre Dame with their colours, since he was getting an honourary doctorate that day. Unfortunately, unlike the universities in the UK, we never wear robes except for events like this. So, it doesn’t actually matter 🙂

  • HobbesOxon // June 8, 2009 at 9:30 am | Reply

    An honourary doctorate sounds much nicer than the kind we’re getting 🙂

  • Anonymous // June 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Reply

    Great post, being of the same crimson university (graduation 1996, but returning for a fellowship in September) I was very moved:) If you are there in the fall when I come would love to meet for tea!

  • MarshalN // June 8, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Reply

    Hi there, I won’t be technically at the school, although I’ll be a two hour drive away teaching at another place. If you’ll be there for any duration, I’m sure we can find a time that’s mutually convenient. Let me know when you get in town 🙂

  • Graduation | A Tea Addict's Journal // May 31, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply

    […] it’s the most fitting tea, in many ways.  I ended up opening the box for MadameN‘s graduation two years ago, but finally, after many years of sweat and toil, I have a reason of my own to do […]

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