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Wuyi Oolong Tea

wuyi oolongs taste roasted and rich, with notes of mineral and caramel


What Is Wuyi Oolong Tea?

The Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian are one of the oldest and most traditional tea producing regions in China. This area is most famous for it's oolong teas. Because of the rocky environment they grow in, these yan cha, or "cliff teas", have a unique mineral flavor. They are the most oxidized style of oolong, and are often given a heavy roast as well. Combined, these factors create a captivating richness on the palate.


wet leaves of a wuyi oolong show their long, twisted shape unfurling.


These oolongs are not the only type of tea produced in this storied region. But they seem in many ways to embody the spirit of the mountain range. The traditional roast emphasizes the mineral-rich flavor imparted by the soil.


the Wuyi Mountains are one of the oldest tea producing regions in China


How Is Wuyi Oolong Tea Made?

Wuyi oolongs are harvested once per year, in mid-May. The most coveted groves grow on the cliff sides, with terraces giving way to rocky peaks. Many varieties have grown in this region over the generations of tea farms. But they all undergo similar steps in processing.

Leaves are laid out and sun-withered after harvesting. Then, they undergo several rounds of bruising and resting to create oxidation. Finally, they are roasted to remove any remaining moisture. Traditionally, this final roast was done over a charcoal pit. This method required several successive rounds of roasting. Between roasts, the crafter must let the leaves rest to avoid burning. Today, modern producers use convection ovens to make the process easier. But tea connoisseurs know that this shortcut sacrifices an unbelievable richness in flavor.


wuyi oolongs are traditionally roasted over a charcoal fire


Signs Of Quality

The quality of the soil and water can make or break the mineral richness of these teas. So the location and elevation of the farm is key to the quality of the finished leaf. Zheng yan, or "true cliff" teas are considered the highest grade. They have a more distinctive mineral note than teas grown further down the mountains.


high elevations tea farms produce the best teas


But we find that quality of craftsmanship is most important to this tea's character. We make an effort to find teas from this area that are hand-processed. Crafters in this protected nature reserve use time-honored techniques perfected over centuries. Harvesting, bruising, and roasting adds fascinating layers to the complexities of these teas. Each step requires an incredible amount of precision and expertise to get right.


Wuyi Oolong Teas To Try

  • With a unique natural sweetness, this tea reminds us of graham cracker crust. We think this is a fantastic introduction to this distinctly traditional category of tea. Golden Buddha is a great beginner's yancha.

    Heritage Golden Buddha
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    漢字 武夷金佛, 炭焙

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted

    flavor notes graham cracker, caramel

    漢字 武夷金佛, 炭焙

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted

    flavor notes graham cracker, caramel

    A new Wuyi oolong cultivar developed over a decade ago by the Wuyi Shan Tea Research Institute, Golden Buddha was created to highlight the sweet, creamy characteristics of traditional Wuyi Yan Chas. Our Heritage Golden Buddha is thus a marrying of new and old – a fairly new varietal crafted...


  • Grand Scarlet Robe, or Da Hong Pao, is famous across China and the world for it's complex depth of flavor. Our growers in the cliffs of Wuyi Shan trace their plants' lineage to cuttings of the priceless mother trees.

    Heritage Grand Scarlet Robe
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    漢字 武夷大紅袍

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted

    flavor notes toffee, oak

    漢字 武夷大紅袍

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted

    flavor notes toffee, oak

    So named because a Tang Dynasty scholar on his way to the Imperial examinations made tea from its leaves – and was the only scholar out of two hundred to pass the exam and awarded the imperial scarlet robe. In gratitude, the scholar wrapped the tea plant in those same...


  • This cake of Wuyi Oolong leaves combines a modern variety of tea leaves with a traditional charcoal roast, before being compressed to create a unique tea just for Red Blossom Tea Company.

    Shui Xian Cake, 2012
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    漢字 武夷水仙茶餅

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted & pressed

    flavor notes rich, cocoa

    漢字 武夷水仙茶餅

    origin Wuyi Shan, Fujian

    craft charcoal roasted & pressed

    flavor notes rich, cocoa

    In 2011, we comissioned a wuyi crafted from “zheng yan” leaves. The “mao cha” was traditionally crafted in the wuyi style: bruised, oxidized, and given a finishing “heritage” fruitwood charcoal roast. We then added one unique request: for the leaves to be pressed into a 150 gram cake, so that...