Topic: Da Hong Pao / Xiao Hong Pao - Distinct Cultivars?
I've read in numerous sources the idea that Da Hong Pao refers only to tea produced either from the original Da Hong Pao plants, or cloned plants a finite number of generations away, and that tea produced of the same cultivar but from more distant clones is more properly named Xiao Hong Pao.
However, I recently found Norbu Tea offering Xiao Hong Pao and on their page they say:
Xiao Hong Pao (小红袍, English: Little Red Robe) is a tea varietal which is known as one of the many Ming Cong (名丛, English: Famous Bush) that originally come from the Wuyi tea growing region of NW Fujian Province. Contrary to the common story that keeps getting re-told in Western tea circles, Xiao Hong Pao is actually its own separate varietal, not "Da Hong Pao" varietal plants that are a certain number of generations away from the original DHP bushes. It is entirely possible that some tea wholesalers misleadingly (either intentionally or unintentionally because of lack of knowledge) market some blend of several different Wuyi cultivars as "Xiao Hong Pao," but this just creates huge amounts of confusion with small tea sellers and consumers alike. According to our supplier, this Xiao Hong Pao was produced from Xiao Hong Pao cultivar tea plants only.
Is this correct? This is the first time I've encountered this information or this sort of claim. I'd be interested in sorting this out and clarifying this issue. If it is correct, this would be a pretty major piece of misinformation that is circulating very widely. But I'm cautious here, as this is the first time I've encountered the idea that Xiao Hong Pao is really a distinct cultivar.
A thread on TeaChat also brings this up (I found this after searching) and several people whose knowledge I trust, including Ginkgo Seto of Life in Teacup, verify that this is actually a distinct cultivar. I currently am unable to find anything that I would consider a reliable published source stating either way. However, in the absence of clear sources either way, I'd be inclined to trust Gingko Seto and Norbu Tea.