Wuyishan Tea Growing Region & 10 Ways It's Unique
In the North of Fujian province, lies this picturesque region of Wuyishan (Wuyi Mountain). The beauty of its mountain ranges and nature is undeniable as even China's famous poets and painters have flocked to this place in the past for inspiration.
Today Wuyishan is a mekka for tea travellers, as it was the first place to invent black tea as we know today. The region is also famous for its oolong teas, which are also known as 'yan cha' (rock tea) due to their mineral notes.
Even though the Wuyi mountain ranges are located in both Fujian and Jiangxi province, it's mainly Fujian that has a long history of tea cultivation. A noteworthy fact is that Wuyishan has been classified as a world natural and cultural heritage site by UNESCO since 1999. The highest point of the mountain is 2158 m (7080 ft) and lies on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi, making it the highest point in both provinces. This region is really all about growing tea. There is a famous list of '10 strange things in Wuyishan', and the top 3 are all tea related (see next paragraph).
10 'Strange' Things About Wuyishan
Wuyishan (Wuyi Mountain) is a popular destination of nature and tea enthousiasts in the world. If you travel with a local tour guide, he/she will definitely tell you these 10 things that are 'strange' about Wuyishan. While the word 'strange' is a direct translation from the Chinese sentence '武夷山十大怪‘, you should just understand it as 'unique'. See the infographic below for the full list!
As you can see the first 3 on the list above are related to tea. So you can understand, why tea is such an important aspect of the regional culture. For more info about the 3 tea related aspects, you may read this article: 3 'Strange' Things About Wuyi Rock Tea.
One of our favorite street food in Wuyishan are 'tea eggs'. These eggs are simmered together with tea and other spices. See below:
The region is characterized formations of large fault structures due to past volcanic activity. Thousands of years of natural erosion has resulted in a picturesque landscape characterized by winding rivers, cliffs and caves. The red-colored soil is exceptionally fertile, which is beneficial to the magnificent taste of the tea from this area. Geology is of such importance that oolong teas from this region (yancha) are classified based on growing location. Read this article about the different wu yi source tea classes.
Wuyishan has many kinds of tea cultivars, which grow strong leaves that can handle the intensive processing for oolong teas.
Here the leaves are being withered to reduce the water content before further production:
The mountainous area naturally protects against the cold air from the northwest while it retains the warm and humid air from the sea coming from the east. Due to this, the region has a relatively moist climate with humidity levels between 80-85% and high rainfall between 2200-3200 millimeters. Appearance of fog is common. See the below table for average daily min/max temperatures and rainfall per month.
For more weather information, you may also visit Wuyishan, World Weather Online.
UNESCO World Heritage
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organization), Wuyishan is a magnificent region with a biodiversity of flora and fauna with picturesque scenery of Nine Bend River. When it comes to teal, the site of historical importance as there is evidence of tea cultivation for the imperial family in the 11th to 16th century.
Wuyishan Tours: When to Visit
While the weather really matters when you travel, you really don't want to miss the main attraction: tea cultivation. If you're a tea enthusiast, then visit Wuyishan between March and July each year. To be even more specific: if you love black tea, you should visit in March. The tea production of Wu Yi oolong tea starts later, and the ideal month to visit is May if you want to see the plucking. However, if you would like to buy some fresh yancha, then visit in June or July. Keep in mind that the average expected rainfall in June is not favorable.
No matter when you visit, many tea tours are available year round. There are also also English tea tours available, offered at the airport and in every single hotel. If you would like to learn about Wuyi mountain tea, you could inform for trainings & tasting sessions as well as demonstrations.
If your main goals is to taste, learn and source tea. Then contact us. We know English speaking local guides, drivers who can show you around wuyishan and connect you with tea farmers. For more information please visit this page: wuyishan tour.