Da Hong Pao Oolong

Authentic Tea House, a brand under Coca Cola Singapore used to sell these cans of Chinese tea (unsweetened) that uses Da Hong Pao tea leaves from Wuyi mountain or so they claimed. Da Hong Pao is itself a very expensive variety of tea and this canned tea was very popular in Singapore for quite some time. My family and I were fans of it.

Recently they changed the tinge of the color of this product. It went from bright red packaging to a little bit darker red. And instead of saying ‘Da Hong Pao’, it was saying ‘Oolong’ though the subtitle still said it was brewed from Da Hong Pao leaves. The taste is distinctly different and I’m not sure if it was a change in formula that demanded that update in marketing and product design.

Either way, my family didn’t like it. And we wonder if it has to do with the cost or the limited supply of the Da Hong Pao tea leaves. It is sad that Coca Cola Singapore decided to introduce an inferior product to replace one that is so popular and widely consumed. But to a large extent, that is the story of industrialism, and also of the worker who have been doing a good job that was previously appreciated by the employer. Sooner or later there’s always a desire to standardise things, make it good enough but not so great that it becomes irreplaceable. But in the process, we lose something.