What is Rock Tea?

Posted by Path of Cha on

Rock tea, also known as Yancha (yan meaning rock, cha meaning tea), are oolong teas that come from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province, China.



Rock tea is called that not only because it grows in this rocky, mountainous area, but also because it inherits an unmistakeable “rocky” taste, thanks to the soil which is known to be rich in minerals.


What Influences The Price of Rock Tea?


Tea from this region is the most expensive in the world, with Da Hong Pao topping world records for some of the most expensive tea ever sold. Just 20 grams of this tea was once sold for 31,000 USD!

However, you do not need to buy the most expensive tea to taste the beauty of this region’s distinct flavor.

Trying a moderately priced tea of good quality, you will be able to taste why Rock Tea is so favored around the world.



Rock tea of good quality should come from higher altitudes where there is a rockier terrain. There the tea bushes are considered to be healthier, and the air is less polluted.

 

Harvesting tea from such elevations can often be a complicated process. Furthermore, the processing that this tea undergoes is a unique craft that takes time to master.



What Does Rock Tea Taste Like?


Usually, Rock Tea is dark and heavily oxidized. It often has a pronounced, long-lasting roasted taste. As well as a distinct mineral taste, which is often described as the “rocky” taste.

The roasted qualities of Rock Tea alone should not be the main components. A quality Rock Tea is in perfect balance with other notes such as:

  • chocolate
  • floral
  • tobacco
  • caramel


A perfect cup of Rock Tea is when the mineral, roasted side is in perfect balance with the sweet, floral side.

 



The liquid should be a beautiful golden color and not too dark, which can signify an overly roasted tea.

Some of the most famous teas from the Wuyi Shan region are Da Hong Pao and Lapsang Souchong (both smoky and non-smoky varieties). According to legend, the Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian, China, is where black tea was first developed. Read more about it in The Truth Behind Black Tea.


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