The birthplace of Wuyi cliff teas (yancha), in northern Fujian Province, is a stunning national park. Oolong tea was created here in the 1600s; the mineral-rich, volcanic soil is an ideal environment for the plants. Production within the park is carefully monitored, and only a fraction of Wuyi oolongs available come from this original location. The cultivar, zui hai tang, or drunken begonia, is a lesser known type.
After hand-picking, the tea undergoes a labor-intensive process of rolling and slowly drying; a series of roasts, taking place over a period of several months or years, requires great skill and patience by the producers. The resulting large, wiry leaves unfurl over many infusions, relinquishing an aroma of sweet dried cherries and sundried tomato; note how the fragrance opens over subsequent infusions to deep, ripe plums and poached apricots. Flavors of black sesame seeds and cedar are balanced by sweet almond and apricot pit.
Region: Fujian Province
Tasting Notes: sweet cherry, sesame, cedar
Year of Production: Spring 2013