What Is Wuyi Rock Tea (Yancha)

Wuyi rock tea is a famous traditional Chinese oolong tea, with Yen flavor meaning a special aroma. It is produced in Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province.

Why is it called Rock tea (Yancha in Chinese Pinyin)? Because the tea trees are growing in the cracks of rocks.

Wuyi rock tea is half-fermented tea. Its production method is between green tea and black tea. The most famous Wuyi rock tea is Da Hong Pao tea.

1. History of Wuyi rock tea

In AD 806-820, Wuyi rock tea was called “Wan Gan Hou”, which is the earliest record of Wuyi tea.

In the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279), tea had become an indispensable part of people’s daily life. At that time, there were about 100 kinds of teas, and dozens of teas were sent to emperor and nobles as Gongcha (tribute tea drunk by emperor or nobles). Wuyi tea is one of the Gongcha.

In 1302 (The Yuan Dynasty), the rulers of the Yuan Dynasty were addicted to tea, and the Wuyi tea became the first choice. The emperor also set up a garden called “Royal Tea Garden” beside the Wuyi Mountains.

In the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), Wuyi rock tea, Wuyi green tea, and Wuyi black tea were produced and exported to Europe.

In the early days of the founding of New China, land reform was implemented, and the tea hills were distributed to local farmers, thus the production of Wuyi rock tea increasing gradually.

2. The growing environment of Wuyi rock tea

Wuyi rock tea is produced in Wuyi Mountains Scenic Area with an area of 70 square kilometers. Wuyi Mountains has a mild climate, warm in winter, cool in summer, abundant annual rainfall about 2000mm.

The local tea farmers use rock gaps and cracks to build stone walls to plant tea trees. Especially, the soil here is formed by the weathered acidic rocks, this is why the Wuyi rock tea has a unique flavor.

3. Main varieties of Wuyi rock tea

Oolong tea produced in the Wuyi Mountains is called Wuyi rock tea. So there are as many kinds of Wuyi rock tea as that of Wuyi oolong tea.

Here are some famous varieties of Wuyi rock tea:

  • Da Hong Pao, literally called Big Red Robe, is the most famous Wuyi rock tea. It is suitable for drinking in all seasons and has a good effect on strengthening the stomach.
  • Tie Luo Han, literally called Iron Arhat, has the effect of treating fever.
  • Bai Ji Guan, literally called White Cockscomb, had been welcomed in the Ming Dynasty, earlier than Dao Hong Pao.
  • Shui Jin Gui, literally called Golden Water Turtle, is famous from the late Qing Dynasty.

4. Health benefits of Wuyi rock tea

  • Improving immunity
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-cancer
  • Preventing and treating cardiovascular disease
  • Protecting urinary organs
  • Protecting digestive organs
  • Protecting teeth
  • Preventing eye diseases
  • Losing weight and beautifying
  • Etc.

5. How to make/brew Wuyi rock tea

Wuyi rock tea essentially belongs to oolong tea, so making Wuyi rock tea is basing on the method of making oolong tea.

  • Tea set: ceramic teapot is the best, or porcelain cup.
  • The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:20-30. For example, 5g Wuyi rock tea leaves need 100-150ml water.
  • The temperature of the water: 100℃ is best.

6. How to store Wuyi rock tea leaves

Wuyi rock tea leaves are easy to absorb odor and moisture, so it should be stored in a dry and clean place.

Moreover, the optimum temperature for storing it is 0℃-10℃. The storage period is less than 4 months at about 15℃, and less than 2 months above 25℃. It’s a good way to keep tea leaves sealed and put it in the refrigerator.