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Looking for a good tea with strong roasty top notes, a silky texture and a clean salivating finish? This is your tea!
Tie Luohan is one of four renowned rock teas (or Yancha 岩茶）grown in the mineral-rich soil of Wuyishan in Northern Fujian. Like a lot of teas in China there is a story behind this one. The area in which it was discovered had caves where religious seekers used to practice internal alchemy - Kungfu warriors seeking enlightenment. In their honor this tea was named "Iron Arhat" (铁罗汉). Or something like that...
This particular batch was roasted every few months after picking in Spring 2019 so it’s now a quadruple roasted Tie Luohan! As it sits, it’s roasty and mineral (ly). Lighter than the Da hong pao, but very smooth and soupy. This is a good texture tea and stimulating to the glands. An excellent after-dinner tea!
Definitely one for the tea chest to experience every few months to see how it changes.
Gong fu brewing with spring water or filtered water is recommended. Place 7gr* of dry leaf in your 140ml standard gaiwan. Douse the leaves with boiling hot water just covering them. Steep 1-2 seconds then pour it off into your reservoir. Repeat 3 or 4 times. The important thing is to let it cool to a comfortable temperature before you start sipping. Do the same thing for round 2 but increase steep time with each steep by 3 or 4 seconds. Repeat as long as the leaves hold up. Make sure to not let it steep too long with this method or the taste will overwhelm you.
*You can also brew with less leaf and less water if you like
What is "Rock Tea"?
Yancha, or “Rock Tea” is a family of oolong teas grown in the rocky soils of the Wuyi Mountain area in Northern Fujian Province. Typically, they are roasted leaves, long and twisted reminiscent poetically of a Chinese Black Dragon twisting among the clouds as he flies (oolong literally is "Black Dragon" in Chinese haha (乌龙）. Tea has been grown there at least since the Ming Dynasty.
I’m a fan of “rock” teas. I noticed early on in my tea drinking experience that certain teas softened the water in my cup more than others. Taiwanese Dayuling has this quality for instance, as do some others. I figured out in time that rocky soil, being rich in minerals delivers more of the “yan” to the leaf and therefore the teacup. “Yan” is a Chinese term for rock or cliff but really means minerals in this context and these teas are called Yancha in Chinese. As far as tea drinkers are concerned, one might translate this in modern English as “Mineral Tea”. As mineral water absorbs the character of the rocky depths from where it springs, yancha contains the character of the rocky soil in which it is grown. Various Yancha can also offer nice fruity, citrus or floral top notes. These teas age very well.