Exploring Wuyi Yancha

Wuyi Yancha (rock tea) is a famous traditional Chinese tea, and it is an oolong tea with the quality characteristics of rock rhyme. "There is tea in rocks, but there is no tea in non-rocks", hence the name rock tea. It is a semi-fermented tea, featuring green leaves with red edges and rows of rocks, and a bright orange soup with a rocky flavor, famous for its unique rock rhyme of "rock bone flower fragrance“.
The main producing area of Wuyi Yancha is the Wuyishan tea area in Fujian Province of China, that is known as "the most beautiful in the southeast". It is a place where the peaks are connected, the canyons are crisscrossed, and the Jiuqu River lingers in between, with a mild climate, warm winters and cool summers, and abundant rainfall. Wuyishan are characterized by precipitous cliffs, deep pits and huge valleys. Tea farmers use rock hollows, stone gaps, stone cracks, along the edge of the masonry stone shore to grow tea, which is known as "potted" tea gardens.

Wuyi Mountain Area

Wuyishan has 36 peaks, 72 caves, 99 rocks. As a result, there are many varieties of Wuyi Yancha - more than a thousand kinds.The best quality of Wuyi Yancha is "Zheng Yan tea". Zhengyan refers to the mountain rocks with good growing environment in Jiuqu River. The steep cliffs of the valleys within Zhengyan have good shading conditions, and the seepage of water at the bottom of the valley is fine, so the sunshine is short in summer and the cold wind is blocked in winter, so the temperature difference is small. Secondly, the soil of Zhengyan has better permeability, high potassium and manganese content and moderate acidity, thus the rock charm of the tea is obvious.

Histories of Wuyi Yancha

Tea was grown in the Wuyi area during the Northern and Southern Dynasties, and became famous during the Tang Dynasty, with „Wan Gan Hou" being the earliest name for tea in Wuyi. During the Song Dynasty, the tea was considered a tribute, and during the Yuan Dynasty, there were tea gardens dedicated to tribute tea. In the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, the planting became more large-scale. Wuyi Yancha is classified by species, by growing environment, by leaf shape, by early and late germination, and by its aroma.

Types of Wuyi Yancha

Wuyi rock tea is usually divided into five series.
  • Da Hong Pao (大红袍): Perhaps the most famous of the Wuyi Yanchas, Da Hong Pao offers a robust, full-bodied flavor with a sweet, lingering aftertaste.
  • Rou Gui (肉桂): Named for its distinctive spicy aroma and taste that is reminiscent of cassia bark, Rou Gui is a rich and fragrant tea variety.
  • Shui Jin Gui (水金龟): This tea variety has a floral and fruity flavor profile, with a characteristic sweet aroma.
  • Tie Luo Han (铁罗汉): One of the oldest Wuyi Yancha, Tie Luo Han delivers a bold, rich flavor and is celebrated for its enduring finish.
  • Shui Xian (水仙): Another widely produced variety, Shui Xian has a sweet, honey-like taste with a pleasant, long-lasting aftertaste.

    Each type of Wuyi Yancha presents its unique complexities and nuances, making every sip a voyage of discovery into the richness of Chinese tea culture.

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