rock tea belongs to the category of Oolong tea,
regarded as semi-fermented green tea. Its green
leaves have reddish edges in an alluring form:
dark orange with yellow brightness; the colour
of the tea liquor is like agate, smooth and mellow
with a delicious smoky fragrance that bring about
a sweet lingering aftertaste. Possessing the mellowness
of red tea as well as the fragrance of green tea,
Wuyi rock tea contains the `vibrancy, sweetness,
clearness and fragrance' of the treasures of tea.
rock tea is only produced in Wuyi mountain, located
in the northern mountainous region of Fujian province.
The valleys are deep with many adjoining peaks
surrounding streams. The weather is moderate,
with warm winters, cool summers and sufficient
rainfall. Such a blessed natural environment has
provided a superior condition for the nurturing
and growth of the extraordinary quality of Wuyi
rock tea. Wuyi mountain's geology is made up of
red rock layers, steep mountain walls and deep
giant valleys, with tea growing on the entire
mountain area. Tea farmers use the gaps in the
rocks and the cracks between the stones, to create
a `bonsai' style tea garden, resulting in a very
are many varieties of Wuyi rock tea. From the
olden days until now, there are about 1,000 more
varieties of rock teas - thus quite complex. Over
time, the types of Wuyi rock tea have been categorized
according to the place of origin, the strain and
quality. The strains are classified into `Mingcong',
`Pinzhong'and `Chizhong'. The top-graded and high-quality
`Mingcong' is the best of rock teas. Within the
`Mingcong' category, are other teas whose names
are derived from their respective unique characteristics.
The top four teas are: `Mingcong', namely DaHongPao
(Emperoro Tea), Baijiguan (White Rooster), Tielohan
(Iron Monk) and Suijingui (Golden Turtle) - all
of which are the finest of Wuyi rock teas.
most well known among them has to be DaHongPao.
DaHongPao originated from Jiulongzai of Wuyi mountain.
According to legend, Qing's Emperor Kangxi fell
ill while making a trip to the South because he
was unaccustomed to the local environment. Unable
to get out of bed, his illness could not be cured
even after ingesting medical prescriptions from
top doctors and physicians. Then, someone gave
a packet of Wuyi mountain's tea leaves to the
emperor. After drinking it, he recovered unexpectedly.
When Emperor Kangxi found out that this tea with
miraculous healing properties came from Wuyi mountain,
he immediately took off his red robe, sent someone
to take the robe to Wuyi mountain and put it on
a tea tree, as a mark of thanks and appreciation.
The name `DaHongPao' (Great Red Robe) thus came
from such. Another legend says that since this
tea plant grows on tall and steep cliffs and could
not be picked, some monks trained monkeys to wear
red robes while harvesting them. The quality of
`DaHongPao' is exceptional - mellow, sweet, clear
and orange in colour - and its leaves can be made
into a bucket of tea liquor. Even after seven
infusions, the tea retains its distinctive fragrance.
No wonder it is shrouded in mystery.
terms of physical outlook, Wuyi rock tea is elongated
in shape. It belongs to the darker fermented type
in the family of semi-fermented tea. The rock
tea tastes mellow and rich. Its outstanding characteristic
is its rock-like floral fragrance. The original
taste of Wuyi rock tea is 'rock-like', while the
smell is like floral fragrance. These characteristics
offer the tea drinker an extraordinarily 'fragrant,
clear, sweet and vivid' experience. Combining
the green tea's 'fresh fragrance' with the 'ripe
fragrance' of red tea, its aroma is rich like
an orchid - fresh, serene and lasting. Its clearness
refers to the deep orange yellow hue of the tea
liquor, bright and transparent. The taste is smooth
and clear, rich and mellow and without any overwhelming
odour. Sweetness refers to the delicious lingering
aftermath; even when the tea liquor is concentrated
it leaves no bitter aftertaste. Vibrancy is the
spiritual connection of drinking Wuyi rock tea.
The ritual stimulates the senses of sight, smell,
taste and touch and stirs the spiritual feelings
of the drinker, a marvelous experience indeed.
rock tea is judged on two factors: fragrance
and taste. Superior rock tea must fulfill
the following criteria:
quality and weighty, the tea leaves must be
average in length and elongated, compact and
must be bright brownish-green in colour, commonly
known as `bao' (treasure) colour. On the veins
of the leaves, there should be small white
spots on the surface; this trait indicates
that the rolled tea leaves will be suitable
Wuyi rock tea is a semi-fermented tea, and
to release a superior aroma, it must possess
the fresh fragrance of green tea as well as
the mature fragrance of red tea. Without this
lasting fragrance, it cannot be considered
a superior product.
liquor colour: Rock tea liquor is usually
deep orange-yellow, clear and bright. Even
after the third and fourth infusion, the colour
of the drink should not fade.
when drunk, the best rock tea should emit
a deep flavour, giving a smooth, vibrant feeling.
Initially it may have the plain tea's bitterness,
but after a while it gives way to a sweet
and delicious taste. The quality of rock tea
depends almost entirely on the fragrance and
the mellowness of its taste.
of infusions: The tea is only considered good
when the fragrance is retained even after
the tea leaves have been steeped five or more
times. With the best tea, the fragrance is
still discernible even after eight infusions.
leaves: Good tea leaves should easily open
up when steeped in boiling water, they should
be soft and the residue should have a tint
of silvery red. The center of the leaf is
green in colour; the leaves are clear light
green, with slight yellowish shade. They are
therefore known as `green leaves with red