Wuyi Rock Tea is a general term for the category of Wuyi Oolong tea produced in the north of Fujian province. It belongs to the kind of semi-fermented tea. It is well known for the unique “charm of rock”, a rock aroma which makes you enjoy a rich and mellow taste along with an endless sweet aftertaste. It combines the delicate fragrance of green tea with the mellow taste of black tea. It is regarded as the best category in Oolong tea and it is a representative of China’s top teas.
Wuyi Rock Tea has a long historical standing. It had been of great reputation in Tang Dynasty and was regarded as a royal tribute in Song Dynasty. The “imperial tea garden” was set up in Wuyi Mountain in Yuan Dynasty. Wuyi Rock Tea is of wild variety, including Dahongpao, Tieluohan, Shuijingui, Baijiguan, Rougui, Shuixian, Bantianyao and so on. Among them, Dahongpao, Tieluohan, Shuijingui, Baijiguan are known as the “Four Famous Firs of Wuyi”.
Dahongpao is not only among the “Four Famous Firs of Wuyi”, but also of the best quality in Wuyi Rock Chinese tea. The tea tree of Dahongpao is the most famous one in Wuyi Mountain, honored as “king of the tea”. It grows on a steep rock in Jiulongke, where sunshine is short and temperature gap between day and night is wide. The summit of the rock is infiltrated by spring all the year round. The unique natural environment makes the distinctiveness that Dahongpao has a long-lasting delicate fragrance and striking “charm of rock”. Dahongpao is very resistant to brew, for it remains fragrant after brewing seven or eight times.
The name “Dahongpao” is based on a touching story. It is said that a high-ranking officer got sick one day. A monk from Tianxin Temple offered him some tea produced from shoots and leaves of tea trees on Jiulongke Rock as medicine. After drinking the tea, he rapidly recovered from his sickness. He was so thankful to the monk that he covered the tea tree with a big red robe which incarnadined it. “Dahongpao” therefore acquires fame.
Tieluohan is originally produced in Ghost Cave (also called Fengke Pit) of Huiyuan Rock in Wuyi Mountain. The tea tree of Tieluohan grows in a long and narrow belt along a brook. The collection and processing techniques for Tieluohan is superb and detailed. Three or four pieces of new shoots are picked in every spring. Then they go through a process of drying, cooling, and manipulating. Tieluohan has an extremely rich and mellow taste. The “charm of rock” is particularly striking. After drinking, an enduring mellow aftertaste can be kept in mouth. It remains fragrant after brewing 9 times.
Shuijingui is produced at the foot of Dugezhai Peak of Niulan Pit in Wuyi Mountain. The leaves are dense, while branches lie across each other and spark in the sunshine. The tree seems like a gold tortoise in appearance. “Shuijingui” therefore acquires fame. The beverage looks orange, clear and bright. It has a fragrance of plum blossom and tastes sweet. A strong Shuijingui tea is without a slight of bitterness.
Baijiguan is produced in Waigui Hole which is at the foot of Flame Peak in Huiyuan Rock and in the back of Gongci Hill of Wuyi Mountain. The leaves are light green with white, while the buds are curve and fuzzy. The tree seems like a comb of Baijin Chicken in appearance. Baijiguan therefore acquires fame. The second or third leaves of tea tree are picked in the last ten-day of May. After brewing, the beverage has an enduring mellow fragrance and a sweet taste. It looks orange and bright.