The oolong tea known as Wuyi oolong tea, sometimes simply called wuyi tea, is a distinctive, complex wulong tea that comes from the Wuyi Mountains located in the northwest part of the Fujian province of China. Wuyi oolong refers to the Chinese oolong teas grown in this specific area, it is not a single variety.
Growing Wuyi Oolong Tea
The Wuyi Mountains are special because they have a unique blend of climate, altitude and soil conditions that produce wu long teas of exceptional character. The Wuyi Mountains serve as a protective barrier from the cold air coming in from the northwest, while they also retain warm, moist air coming from the sea. The result is a humid climate with a large amount of rainfall. This climate also helps create the common mist or fog that often surrounds the tops of these mountains.
Wuyi tea, otherwise know as Wu yi tea, sprouts and grows in the gaps of the rock in the Wuyi Mountains making the cultivation of these plants both difficult but also spectacular. Wuyi Mountain is a large volcanic mountain that contains a variety of vertical cliffs, gorges and cave systems. Because of the nature of these mountains Wuyi oolong tea is also known as Rock Tea or Yancha (yan translates to crag).
Wu Yi History
A royal tea garden was established in this Wuyi Mountain region in the time around the Yuan Dynasty. At that time the harvest of this wulong tea was offered as tribute tea to the emperor. Wuyi oolong tea has been popular ever since it’s early beginnings. This region’s sought after tea has been exported abroad since the time of the Ming Dynasty and is still in demand. The British royal family are some of the many fans of this Chinese oolong tea.
Wu yi oolong is among those listed as China’s most famous teas; often in the top ten, but it can vary a bit depending on the list you’re referencing. It belongs to a family of tea called Ming Bei Oolong. This family of wulong tea exhibits leaves that are long and curly instead of ball-shaped.
The Flavor Of Wuyi Tea
Wulong teas are complicated and sophisticated containing a variety of flavors, aftertastes and aromas, but the Wuyi Mountain Rock Oolongs are possibly the most complex of Chinese oolong teas. Some of the unique properties of Wuyi Mountain Rock Oolong come from the mineral rich soil of Wu Yi Shan. This Wuyi oolong imparts a roasted mineral flavor, with a sweet aftertaste and no bitterness. The distinct taste has sometimes been described as a crag bone floral fragrance, having a full bodied flavor with an orchid fragrance.
Both Don Cong Oolong and Wu Yi Oolong tea are usually a bit more oxidized with their leaves rolled lengthwise. They are known to be good after a heavy or greasy meal to help soothe the stomach.
For a Wuyi oolong tea an average pick from the camellia sinesis tea bush is one bud with 3 or 4 tea leaves when the top leaves of the bush are half the size of a mature leaf. The leaf selection process is an important factor that will affect the quality of the tea. Harvest can be done 3 times a year, in the autumn, spring and summer.
After leaf selection comes the important process of preparing the tea leaves to make a quality Wuyi oolong tea. These steps include withering the leaves in the sun, lightly bruising the leaves so they can begin oxidizing, pan-frying the leaves to stop the oxidation process, rolling the leaves into the desired form and baking to increase the mellow taste and floral aroma.
The taste and quality of wu yi oolong teas are sound and they can last over two years; if you can actually keep them around that long without drinking them. If you don’t have a specialty tea store in your area you can find a nice selection of wulong tea, including Wuyi oolong tea, from reputable online tea sellers.