Wuyishan city, home of rock tea, is in northwest Fujian province, and has been given many titles, such as “The World Cultural and Natural Heritage” and the only place named “Hometown of Chinese Tea Art” conferred by the Ministry of Culture.
The production of Wuyi rock-essence tea dates back to the Han Dynasty. Following historical development and evaluation, the technique of rock-essence tea was perfected during the early Qing Dynasty. It is also the forerunner of oolong tea.
Wuyi rock-essence tea (Da-hong-pao) is unique for its “rock bone and flower fragrance” created by Wuyi Mountain’s unique ecological environment and climate as well as particular traditional techniques. Several traditional steps are indispensable to producing this special tea, including using an expert sense of smell to judge the state of fermentation, expert judgment to assess the dryness of the tealeaves (Kanqing Zuoqing, Kanda Zuoda), expert supervision drying the leaves (Zoushui Fanyang), “frying and kneading tealeaves” (Shuangchao Shuangrou), and finally the slow, low-temperature drying (Diwen Jiuhong).
Wuyi Mountain is the original home of black tea, and subsequently of oolong tea whose production technique is similar to that of Wuyi rock-essence tea. There are many special and popular local tea customs such as hanshan (shouting to the mountain), tea competitions and tea art.
Wuyi rock-essence tea has been granted the protection of a product of origin trademark “Wuyi Mountain Da-hong-pao” by the State Bureau of Technical Supervision. Today the growth of the market economy, mechanization and the break in the chain of handing down traditional methods to new apprentices has endangered this age-old craft, which needs protection and support if it is to survive.