China Tea Facts: Fujian
Fujian is one of the largest producers of tea in China and home to some of the most renowned teas in China.
With almost 80% of Taiwanese being able to trace their ancestry back to Fujian it is no wonder that Taiwan also is a world renowned source of delightful teas.
Almost everywhere you travel in Fujian you will find tea trays setup, whether in the street, a restaurant and certainty in every home.
An Xi, Southern Fujian (Min Nan) Wan Ling's home town is located approximately 2 hours bus journey from Xiamen. AnXi is both a town (city!) and a county, both belonging to the administrative city of Quan Zhou.
An Xi is the original home of Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea. The Tie Guan Yin plants are reputed have been found near a temple in the village of Xi Ping. An Xi produces a vast number of Oolong's with names that relate to the local village or place where they are produced, the plant's characteristics or as with Tie Guan Yin a fabled story.
Well known Min Nan Oolong's include, Mao Xie (Hairy Crab), Huang Jin Gui, Da Ye (large leaf), Se Zhong, Mei Zhan and the famous Ben Shan tea trees.
Tea has been subject to many fashions over the centuries. For example from 1950's onwards An Xi had around 3 main styles; Se Zhong, Tie Guan Yin and Oolong. Mei Zhan, Ben Shan, Mao Xie, Fou Shou and others were all described as Se Zhong. As a further indication of these changes in styles, the name Huang Dan, has now evolved in to Huang Jin Gui.
The mid to late eighties saw the trend toward Qing Xiang (green, light oxidised (20% - 40%) and highly fragrant) style An Xi (Min Nan) teas becoming predominant, to the degree that is difficult to find anything else. Previously much more highly oxidised teas (50% - 90%) had been popular.
Tea drinking in An Xi is a vital part of, not just daily life, but almost all festivals and key events. When getting married in An Xi then the new bride must make tea for the groom's immediate family in return for a hong bao or red packet, a gift that contains money. Tea and tea leaves are vital parts of pray with them being offered up to Buddha and to deceased relatives.
DeHua is famous for its fine white porcelains. Such porcelain is idea for tea cups and gai wan's that are used extensively throughout Fujian to prepare their gong fu tea.
FuJian Tea Facts: Fu Zhou is Fujian's provincial capital, with a long and remarkable history. Fu Zhou and the nearby county of Fu Ding are renowned for their production of flower teas and in particular jasmine tea.
Wu Yi Mountains or Mount WuYi are a protected UNESCO site covering around 128,000ha including a core site of 63,000ha where no development is allowed. The region is located in the Northern part of FuJian, known as Min Bei (Northern Min region), which borders with JiangXi province.
WuYi Rock Tea / Yan Cha (岩茶)
The WuYi mountain area is one of the largest producers of tea and is home to Rock tea or in Chinese, yan cha (岩茶). There are four famous kinds, ming cong, among over seven hundred Oolongs; Da Hong Pao, Bai Ji Guan, Shui Jin Gui and Tie Luo Han. Read more about WuYi rock teas in our in Oolong tea facts and dedicated WuYi oolong tea facts sections.
WuYi Mountain Culture
According to the UNESCO website the WuYi mountains incorporates and protects many ancient temples including Taoyuan Temple, the Wannian Palace, the Sanqing Hall, the Tiancheng Temple, the Baiyun temple, and the Tianxin temple, all of which have survived to varying degrees of authenticity. There is also a number of tombs, the oldest dating back to the Shang Dynasty (late 2nd millennium BC).
The WuYi mountains can trace civilisation back around 4000 yeas. The region is also known by many as the 'cradle of Neo-Confucianism'. Zhu Xi (1130-1200) a follower of Confucian teachings was to spend much of his life their studying, teaching and developing what was to become the dominant intellectual theory throughout the Song to the Qing Dynasties (10th to 19th centuries). WuYi mountains attracted a wide range of artists, theologians and spiritualists with the region being particularly popular with Taoists and Buddhists.
Interestingly, mount WuYi has gained the protection of emperors for centuries, with royal decrees and directorates dating back Tang Emperor Xuan Zong in AD 748, which controlled forestry and fishing in order to maintain the beauty of the area.
WuYi mountain tea culture
The tea culture of the WuYi mountains, can trace itself back to 11th century. For nearly five centuries there was an Imperial tea farm producing teas for the emperor and the imperial court.
Even now the monks of the temples cultivate and harvest tea. Among their ranks include a chosen few who craft the rare official Da Hong Pao blend.
Tea culture is still shaping WuYi now, with the town, separated from the UNESCO site by a river, growing rapidly through tourism. YanCha and Da Hong Pao in particular being synonymous with the area. The town is now packed with tea shop, selling rock tea, although much is actually brought in from farms outside the official growing area.
Mount WuYi environment
Due to the WuYi mountains location and long term protection, it is home to a wide variety of diverse flora and fauna including a number of IUCN Red Listed animals and plants.
Mount Wuyi is one of the largest, best preserved and most outstanding areas of humid subtropical forests in the world. Eleven broad vegetation patterns have been described, including shrub forest, brushwood and meadow steppe. The area is one of considerable geological and geomorphological interest, with the region being shaped by intensive volcanic activity and large fault structures. The region's climate has also played its part in shaping the landscape and forming winding streams, dome-shaped cliffs and numerous caves.
According to UNESCO website among the vertebrates found, there are 49 species which are endemic to China and three that are endemic to the WuYi mountains locality: David's parrot bill bird, and two amphibians. Other rare and important species in the area of Mount Wuyi include Chinese tiger, clouded leopard, leopard, black muntjac, mainland serow, Chinese black-backed pheasant and Chinese giant salamander.