A toast to the hard work of wulong tea.

Newsletter Archive Jun. 11, 2021

We’re taking a short pause from debuting 2021’s green, white, and yellow teas to show the darker wulongs some appreciation.

A white porcelain gaiwan, pitcher, and small cup filled with amber rock wulong tea, with a fresh green tea sprig laid over top of them.
A fresh sprig of tea from the wulong bushes in the garden alongside finished Rock Wulong.

According to the old Chinese agricultural calendar, now is just the right time to take a breath. We’re in the heart of Mangzhong, a solar term named for fruiting grain. It’s a time to recognize all the hard work you’ve put in to get this far.

In the life of old farming villages, now’s the time you pay respect to your ox. The ox was (and is) a farmer’s closest partner in the grueling work of making food: turning the ground, sowing the grain, and moving the heaviest burdens. In some communities, a single ox pulled the plow for every family in the village. Without this back-breaking work, there’s little grain to eat, much less celebrate.

So now that the grain is ripening, there’s a moment of pause. The weary ox sheds its yoke and can rest in greened pasture.

It’s not only the ox that works hard. Tea makers just finished a marathon of manual labor throughout the spring.

The workshop of Zhou Yousheng in the middle of tea season. When the tea harvest is happening, tea makers are on the schedule of the leaves. Mr. Zhou has spent many sleepless nights making sure each lot is withered, rolled, oxidized, and dried at the right time.


For tea makers in Wuyishan, Mangzhong is the time of the year when you’ve just finished making maocha or “crude tea”, the first step of making Rock Wulong. Early mornings of plucking and tiring late nights of processing are over for now, but the tea still needs to be sorted and it must go through weeks of roasting and resting to properly develop the deep flavor and complicated woodsy and floral aromatics that yancha is famous for.

Hard work is done and there’s more hard work to come, but now is a moment to take a breath and show our gratitude. It’s also a good time to have a cup of tea.

Maocha of fresh rock wulong like Laocong Shuixian must have its stems sorted out and its leaves gently roasted before the tea is fully finished.

In tribute to wulong tea makers having finished their first phase of tea-making, we’re putting a bonkers number of wulongs on sale. Here is the line up:

Laocong Shuixian (Old Bush Narcissus)
Rock Wulong 2020

Ba Xian (Eight Immortals)
Rock Wulong 2020

Bai Ji Guan (White Rooster Crest)
Rock Wulong 2020

Shuixian (Narcissus)
Rock Wulong 2020

Huang Zhi Xiang (Yellow Sprig)
Dan Cong Wulong 2020

Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia)
Dan Cong Wulong 2020

Chuantong Tieguanyin (Traditional Tieguanyin)
Anxi Wulong 2020


Teahouse Video Series

Join Wren on YouTube this week to try three different methods of brewing wulong tea: boiling, simple glass cup, or gongfu style with a yixing pot.

Ever boiled wulong tea in a rice cooker? You don’t need fancy tea ware to make tea. In fact, you’ve probably got everything you need in your kitchen right now. Wren demonstrates and tastes it head-to-head against the classic Yixing pot.