General Information on Wuyishan Oolong Tea

Published: Friday 17 January, 2020

This slideshow covers general information about the original wulongs from Wuyi Mountain (Wuyi Yan Cha) located in Fujian province in Eastern China. These particular wulongs are known as Rock wulongs. Wuxi mountain is composed of 99 different rock formations, each with their own name and character! Over time, the weathering of these formations have created the soil from which the wulong tea bushes of the region grow.

One of the water sources cited in the slideshow is Jiuqu Xi, which is also known as the Nine Bend River. This is one source, but there are others, not including annual rainfall that contributes to the soil’s composition.

Spring season for mosts wulongs will begin sometime in early May, and often by the first week, but this does depend on the variety. Some wulongs like Bai Ji Guan are picked slightly earlier.

There is a ceremony held for the tea gods just before the season begins. The caller announces the recognition of the springtime harvest crop with the tea pickers around him. This is typically signified by burning yellow paper or joss paper.

Tea pickers begin their day around 7 AM at which time they climb the mountain, though the picking itself occurs around 9-11 AM. By this time, the dew will have dissipated and the sunlight is not direct.

The picking standard for wulong is 3-4 long leaves, which is believed to bestow wulong its distinctive aroma and flavor. The leaves are collected in bamboo baskets and the pickers will make their way down the mountain to the tea factory to begin the withering process. The withering process typically takes half an hour to 2 hours, depending on the weather, to remove some of the moisture from the leaves. They will then be taken indoor and placed on bamboo trays for approximately 8-12 hours, depending on the moisture content in the air.

Mr. Liu Guo Ying is seen in this slideshow bruising the tea leaves. This is achieved through agitation and shaking of the leaves on the bamboo trays, facilitating the oxidation process. Generally, the leaves are shaken and separated about 5-7 times following by their being placed in a wok of 240 degrees Celsius and being hand fried initially for 2 minutes. The leaves are then kneaded and shaped. This process of frying and kneading the leaves gets repeated several times at increasingly shorter periods of time.

The leaves then undergo a baking with bamboo charcoal for 15 minutes, and are removed cooled, and rebaked again at slightly lower temperatures. It is at this stage, that we have the tea in its mao cha form, and the leaves are separated from the broken leaves and sprigs into grades.