Panlan Robe Yancha Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Campfire, Caramel, Char, Charcoal, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Mineral, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Toffee, Wet Rocks, Brown Toast, Osmanthus, Wood
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Edit tea info Last updated by Daylon R Thomas
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 14 oz / 414 ml

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From Hugo Tea Company

notes — mineral water | light roast coffee | silken

2021 lot in stock as of 06.10.21. Roasted in mid-May. Expect fresh charcoal and intense minerality.

PANLAN ROBE is a yancha (“rock tea”) from the outer Wuyi mountain range of Fujian province, China. This lot is a Da Hong Pao, or “Big Red Robe” production. Like dancong, most yancha are named per the cultivar used to produce them (the only major processing differences are in oxidation level and roast intensity). But big red robe is a processing style more than anything—typically a blend of rou gui (“cassia”) and shui xian (“water sprite”) cultivars, with a smaller proportion of cultivars tea makers often don’t divulge. This is an artform called “pin pei” ("blend / put together), and is not unlike pu’er blending. Still, we’re not fans of secret recipes in tea—PANLAN ROBE is a blend of rou gui (85%) and shui xian (15%) with an oxidation slightly lower than traditional da hong pao (note the lighter brown vs purple-black of some DHP) and a generous roast (low heat for 10-12 hours in 2 rounds).

Panlan is the name of a remote mountain town outside Yong’an City, on the southern edges of the Wuyi range. Here, Panlan tea garden produces yancha on the rocky slopes of Dafeng Mountain. The garden spans zones at 900-1,200 meters elevation (tea grown in Wuyi park tops out around 800 meters), and is made up of middle-aged tea trees (50-60 years) amongst sparse older trees. Springs flowing on Dafeng mountain irrigate the tea fields, and contribute to this tea’s abundant Yan Yun (“Rock Quality”; a detectable minerality in yancha).

Panlan garden yancha is considered zhoucha, or “island tea”—tea grown on the outskirts of the Wuyi mountain range in all directions. Relative to zhengyan (“proper rock”—tea grown in Wuyi national park) and banyan (“half rock”—tea grown in regions just outside the park) teas, zhoucha is deeply undervalued due to the Chinese penchant for tea with pedigree. For us, that means better tea (without the “brand name” to pull weight, these farmers work harder to produce exceptional tea) at a fairer price (that we pass on to you). There’s also zero chance of counterfeit—banyan teas, for instance, are routinely passed off as zhengyan for astronomical markups.

What makes Panlan special is producer Shan Zhong. Originally from Panlan, Shan returned from Yong’an city twenty years ago to organize his townspeople into yancha makers in response to a surge in popularity of da hong pao. This effort lifted dozens of farming families out of poverty. Today, Shan’s gardens are fully biodynamic, and throughout Panlan all types of yancha (and some black teas) are made using old-world Wuyi techniques to astounding effect. PANLAN ROBE is our homage to this very special place.


(use freshly boiled spring water)

modern, large format
[300 ml+ vessel — BOLI, large teapot]

5 grams — 205°F (96°C) — 2 minutes

traditional, small format
[150 ml- vessel — gaiwan, small teapot]

7 grams — 208°F (98°C) — 10 seconds
(rinse recommended)
+10-15 seconds each additional steep

About Hugo Tea Company View company

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2 Tasting Notes

1670 tasting notes

Surprising new favorite from Hugo. I’ve wanted to try this tea for a few years, but it was sold out frequently or difficult to restock. I already had some high hopes-coffee notes are usually a sign of interest, and I wanted to see if it lived up to the tasting notes.

I am really picky about Yancha, especially any form of Red Robe style kind of tea. I like minerality and rock tea, but I want something more than licking rocks, char, and ash. It was also the kind of tea I tried while I went through a coffee convert stage, even going through one where I was trying more Shu Pu-Erh, but never really stuck. Most of the Red Robes I liked were too expensive for me to buy in more considerable amounts.

This one, however, stands out as being really freaking close to coffee and dessert. It’s heaping with mountainous rock, salt, and roast, but it’s combined with developing and prominent flavor, beginning with the roast, then transitioning into coffee, chocolaty toffee, and then caramel in the finish with some roast sprinkled it. The chocolate notes are bit of an exaggeration, but it’s there in taste in aroma. I brewed it 4 times western. It thinned out by cup five, and the first and second cups were incredibly after 2 and 3 minutes.

I kinda wish I got a little bit more of it. I’m not settled on a rating and need to test it tumbler and gong fu. I am extremely impressed so far, and wish Hugo Tea would have more pictures of what the leaves actually look like because they are artfully made for what yancha can be.

Flavors: Campfire, Caramel, Char, Charcoal, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Mineral, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Toffee, Wet Rocks

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