The introduction of Da Hong Pao
In recent years, a number of companies have invested in preserving the interest in this tea and other so-called "artisan" teas, which typically are of very high quality and have rich histories as is true with Da Hong Pao. These have an initially high cost of production and typically are only considered authentic when grown in their place of origin, but, as they have quickly become popular in Western countries, prized selections of the tea are available each year, with quality being consistent due to the increased popularity of tea.
Cuttings taken from the original plants have been used to produce similar grades of tea from genetically identical plants. Taste variations produced by processing, differences in the soil, and location of these later generation plants is used to grade the quality of various Da Hong Pao teas. Some online tea shops have marketed Da Hong Pao as an oolong—it is unclear whether their varieties are not fully fermented as traditional Da Hong Pao tea is or they have errors on their sites.
Xiao Hong Pao, or Small Red Robe refers to Da Hong Pao grown from plants of fourth or greater generation, but the term is rarely used. In some cases Xiao Hong Pao is simply sold as Hong Pao, presumably for marketing purposes.
Due to its high quality, Da Hong Pao tea is usually reserved for honored guests in China.
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