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Da Hong Pao among the mists

May 31, 2011

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Sometimes teas seem to come to me thematically, with several examples from a certain category from different sources all ariving in sequence. One example of this is that over the past couple of months I have had at least six different batches of Da Hong Pao, all from different vendors, which is something of an embarrassment of riches, but has led to an even deeper appreciation of this fantastically elegant tea and how much it varies.

In my opinion, such a reputable tea needs to be accompanied by preparation vessels and tools that match up with its elegance, so a few weeks ago I acquired the teapot in the accompanying photographs below for the explicit purpose of using it only for Da Hong Pao. I have a different Yixing Gongfu set that I had been using for all types of WuYi Oolongs, but I decided that Da Hong Pao needed its own teapot, and that it ought to be one that was more regal in appearance.

I looked at several teapots, but this was the one that I really liked the look of much better than any of the others. It was also the one that felt the best in my hand. I was told that Da Hong Pao would need a teapot with a broad surface area, and the shape of this one is ideal.

I seasoned the vessel with a small amount of one of the slightly lower grade Da Hong Pao teas that I had, and a few days later the teapot was performing perfectly on the tea table, brewing really well, and looking quite wonderful, especially when the tea was drying rapidly on its surface as it steeped the tea.

As an aside, I don’t know if it’s the time of day or the change in the atmospheric conditions due to the onset of Spring, or perhaps even the shape of the teapot, but the most recent tea session of Da Hong Pao (a very lovely example from Canton Tea Company) resulted in a very impressive display of steam in and around all of the tea objects. Of course, it would not be out of the question that I simply became fixated on steam for a time and thus paid more than the usual amount of attention to it.

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