Wuyishan Mountain is one of the five sacred mountains of China and is the most beautiful place I have ever seen at least to date. Yesterday upon our arrival we visited with a small independent tea processor who literally processes the dark oolong teas this area is so well known for, in what is the equivalent of a garage behind his home although that might be a bit glamorous. Walking thru the doorway we were overcome with the aroma of freshly picked tea leaves, it is an unbelievable fragrance. We watched while they began processing, withering, of Jian Bian Qi Lan oolong. After walking thru the building were the teas are handled we were welcomed in for a simple cupping of oolong tea gung fu style with Mr. Liu, a delightful young man who was most accommodating and spoke what little English he knew. We kept our visit short because of the long trip to arrive at Wuyishan but felt delighted that we had this wonderful encounter.
The confusion with Chinese oolongs teas in the states is that fact that these small processors create teas that are so similar in appearance and character yet the names are completely different. The plants that these particular dark oolongs are made from are extremely large leaves, almost the size and width of my hand and differ greatly from the smaller delicate leaves used for green teas.
On our way to the hotel we stopped once again to see the locals bring the newly harvested leaves to the town square and spread them out in huge areas on the ground. This is done so that the leaves do not oxidize prior to processing. What a site this was to see people spreading tea leaves everywhere.
I apologize for not having the photos to accompany the blogs but we are trying to solve downloading issues and will have some really magnificent pics to share once we get it worked out.
From rainy China, Beth