Oolong Tea Talk
Oolong Tea has long been Chinese tea drinkers' favorate. From the traditional heavily roasted types to modern lightly roasted types, there is always one that suites your taste buds. Chinese Oolong can be classified into four categories based on production regions: FuJian AnXi Oolong (famous for Tie Guan Yin), FuJian WuYi Oolong (famous for Da Hong Pao), Guang Dong Oolong (famous for Feng Huang Dan Cong), and Taiwan Oolong.
WuYi rock oolong tea is the name of a wide selection of Oolong from WuYi Mountain area. As the name suggests, WuYi rock tea grows on cliffs, which give WuYi rock oolong its special Yan Yun (characters of rock tea). The 70 square km centeral WuYi rock area is Ming Yan (famous rock) area. Rock teas from this area have the best Yan Yun. The rest of WuYi rock tea area is called Dan Yan area. Only teas from WuYi rock area has the unique Yan Yun that WuYi rock teas are famous for.
The most famous WuYi rock oolong tea is Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe). According to WuYi Rock Tea National Standard, WuYi rock tea can be further classified into Shui Xian, Rou Gui, Da Hong Pao, Ming Cong, and Qi Zhong. Da Hong Pao was originally listed under Ming Cong. Other than Da Hong Pao, Ming Cong (famous bush) are the most precious among WuYi rock teas.
Traditional Four famous WuYi Ming Cong rock oolong are:
Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Rock Oolong Tea - The most famous WuYi rock oolong, also considered king of all Oolong tea, Da Hong Pao has long lasting osmanthus aroma, thick, heavy mouth feel, and mellow taste. It has the strongest Yan Yun among all WuYi rock teas.
Tie Luo Han Rock Oolong Tea - The oldest WuYi Ming Cong rock oolong. It has natural long lasting floral aroma, heavy mouth feel, strong Yan Yun, and mellow taste.
Bai Ji Guan Rock Oolong Tea - The second oldest WuYi Ming Cong rock oolong. Bai Ji Guan is hard to grow. Its low production makes it rare to be found. Unlike other WuYi Ming Cong, Bai Ji Guan is light and refreshing.
Shui Jin Gui Rock Oolong Tea - Its shiny leaves have a look of golden turtle, which gives it Golden Turtle, or Jin Gui, name. It has a light but long lasting plum blossom aroma, and soft, smooth, and mellow taste.
Tie Guan Yin is a type of Oolong tea. Like other Oolong teas, traditional Tie Guan Yin is semi-fermented. Tie Guan Yin was originated from AnXi, Fujian. AnXi is further divided into Inner AnXi and Outer AnXi. Inner AnXi has higher mountains and produces the best Tie Guan Yin. XiPing town in Inner AnXi is believed to be the origin of Tie Guan Yin oolong.. Other famous Tie Guan Yin production towns are XiangHua and GanDe. Tie Guan Yin from different towns have their own characteristics.
Tie Guan Yin oolong tea has five harvest seasons: Spring (late April to early May), Summer (late June to early July), Late Summer (August), Fall (late September to early October, and rarely, Winter (late November to late December). Although Fall Tie Guan Yin has the best aroma, Spring Tie Guan Yin has the best overall quality. Spring Tie Guan Yin tastes the best and last more infusions.
Although traditional Tie Guan Yin is heavily roasted, new types of Tie Guan Yin have been introduced to accommodate consumers' different taste buds. Tie Guan Yin oolong can be classified into three categories by roast level: lightly roasted, moderately roasted, and heavily roasted. The lightly roasted type is also lightly fermented, which is quite a deviate from traditional Tie Guan Yin. It has its special appeal to green tea drinkers. Traditional Tie Guan Yin has its hard core followers, but can take some time to get used to for some tea drinkers. We have a blog post dedicated to a comparison of the two. Moderately roasted Tie Guan Yin is a new breed that has gained huge popularity. It offers the floral aroma of lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin and the complex tastes of heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin. It is a good choice for new Tie Guan Yin drinkers.