Wuyi 武夷山 is a range of mountains running to the southeast (up to 2158 meters above sea level). There are many amazing natural wonders and historical places. These mountains are Ecological Reserve of subtropical forests that are inhabited by 3728 species of plants and 5110 species of animals, including South Chinatigers, leopards, deer, pheasants, a great number of rare endemic species of insects and butterflies. "Cinnabar mountains and turquoise waters" (bi shui dan shan, 碧水丹山) have been formed here for hundreds of millions of years, including 36 bizarre terracotta picks covered with emerald forests and 99 rocks formed by weathering. The Nine Turns River, Jiuqiuxie, flows among this magical landscape.
“Origin rock tea” (Zheng Yan Cha, 正 岩茶) grows in the Wuyi mountains at an altitude of above 600 meters in an area of 70 square kilometers around. The plants nestle in the ravines between the rocks, on the rich in minerals red volcanic soil. Over millions of years of rainwater washing away the rock, created a special type of soil and unique microclimate. The tea growing in these places is called “Origin rock tea".
The tea from San Keng Liang Jian, 三坑 两 涧, “Three canyons and two mountain streams" is the best of the best. The name of the streams is Wu Yuan Jian, 悟 源 涧, “The source of enlightenment stream " and Liu Xiang Jiang, 流 香 涧, “flowing flavor stream".
"Half rock oolong" (Ban Shan Cha, 半山 茶) is the tea growing on one of the Wuyi mountain plateau, rather than between rocks. "Tea from external mountains" (Wai Shan Cha, 外 山茶) is made in the local tea factories from raw materials picked from the tea bushes growing outside the authentic 70-kilometer "rock" territory. Although there is no clear territorial boundaries, the local tea growers know the difference of Zheng and Wai teas.
The local varieties progenitor is a woody shrub, qiao mu 小 乔木 agro type with dense twigs, their ends are directed upward and outward. The dark green and glossy leaves are oval, broad, slightly curved and pointed down, edges are bent inward. The green of young buds has red tint and they are covered with tender hairs.
Da Hong Pao 大 红袍 (Big Red Robe) is the most famous Wuyi oolong. However, this variety is mostly a legend and a tribute to tradition than a real product. Mother bushes gave springs of contemporary plants a century ago, but now mother bushes are not used for harvesting. Mu Shu Cha (tea from mother spices), which has grown from these springs, is extremely expensive because of its rarity rather than real quality. Legendary Da Hong Pao tea actually does not exist in the market. Sometime the “Da Hong Pao” tea is a blend of several varieties or just one of Wuyi teas, which promoted with this brand that is easier to sell. This is "collective name” of Wuyi tea.
Actually local tea growers cultivate over 80 tea bush varieties. The best known are the "Four Famous bushes", Si Da Ming Cong, 四大 名枞: Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) , Tie Luo Han (Iron Arhat), Shui Jin Gui (Golden Turtle), Bai Ji Guan (White Cockscomb). Other well-known varieties are Shui Xian (Narcissus), Rou Gui (Cinnamon), Ban Tian Yao (Sky Loin), Bei Dou (North bucket), Fo Shou (Hand of Buddha), Qi Lan (Wonderful Orchid), №105 (Shui Xian and Tie Guan Yin hybrid). The last two varieties are young types of tea that were selected about 20 years ago.