Wuyishan: 3 Strange Things About Wuyi Rock Tea
While exploring the Wuyishan region this year one of our cooperating farmers shared with us the 10 'strange things' about Wuyishan. It's a pretty amusing list and as expected the top 3 are about tea. Read the translations of the top 3 below:
1. 茶树长在石头外 - Tea leaves grown between rocky slopes and river steams
The landscape of Wuyishan reserve consists of steep mineral rich hills. Natural erosion of these cliffs resulting from wind and rain allow the minerals to be absorbed by the red soil. Tea plants benefit from this with as result excellent 'wuyi rock tea' with a very recognizable taste of minerals combined with a flowery aroma. We call this '岩骨花香' (yán gǔ huāxiāng)
2. 茶叶炒炒也当菜 - Tea leaves are used for cooking.
It can really be a 'tea feast' in Wuyishan as modern cooking methods are used for cooking with tea. Local people steam, stew, and even fry tea leaves to make unique dishes.Take for example the amazingly delicious dish on the left with shrimps cooked with tea leaves and the tea egg boiled with da hong pao.
3. 桐木红茶卖国外 - Tea leaves are sold abroad
While this isn't that strange for you, it's kind of something most Chinese don't expect. Generally famous tea regions in China mainly sell their tea in China itself. Teas that are sold abroad are often produced by tea factories that produce bulk teas exclusively for foreign markets. In addition, most Chinese believe that people abroad make tea from tea bags, not expecting that fine teas are more and more in demand.
Wuyishan is an exception, as traditionally black teas are produced for export. In recent years, black teas such as Lapsang Souchong and Jin Jun Mei are also becoming popular in China. Jin Jun Mei can be seen as the highest grade black tea from Wuyishan, followed by 3 grades of Lapsang Souchong. Most 3rd grade Lapsang Souchong are mostly exported, with UK being the largest market.