- Tea Knowledge
The monomyth of Da Hong Pao—in every version the original, panacean, imperially-blessed progenitor of glorious rock tea—tends to overshadow the tea itself. This treatment, produced from the respectable Qi Dan cultivar, may similarly seem to be dominated by its typically intense roasting, but let the brusque charcoal scent dissipate, and a surprisingly complex and protean soup emerges. Backed by a molasses sweetness, umami, fruity, and liquor-like aromas lilt into the nose, but the real alchemy is in the aftertaste: floral peach appears from nowhere, occasionally followed by a hint of coconut. It's a tea that rewards even a little patience very quickly.
For best results in gongfu cha, brew in the traditional gaiwan or in a Yixing teapot. Too high water temperature would burn the leaves, resulting in bitter taste.
Authentic Wuyi Yan Cha is produced in the Mount Wuyi region, a UNESCO natural heritage site. The dramatic gorges of the Nine Bend River are surrounded by a largely intact subtropical forest and smooth cliffs of black-brownish rocks. The tea plants grow in narrow valleys next to the cliffs in a mineral-rich soil.