So if I understand it right, the leaves of Wuyi oolongs are twisted & mostly black or dark brown (except for Bai Ji Guan), sort of like this:
& the Anxi leaves are more brown & green like Iron Buddha:
Is this true in general? I guess Taiwan oolongs have the greenest leaves? I wonder because I was trying to identify a tea that I found that said Wuyi on the label but the leaves looked like Iron Buddha, which surprised me opened the package. I made it anyway & it definitely had a Wuyi cliff taste (& pretty decent too). In my searching I found a tea called Huang Guan Yin, which seemed to fit the description since it seems its leaves can be made either way. Does that sound right? I'll have to make it again & see if I notice any creaminess. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huang_Guanyin_tea
The method of making Oolong tea originated from Wu Yi Shan (South of Fu Jian Province), then Guan Yin/ Iron Buddha tea was developed (North of Fu Jian Province); hence, Wu Yi tea is the ancient and traditional way of tea making.
Iron Buddha tea is made from both the traditional method and the new method. The traditional method produces large leaf tea with dark green colour, like Wu Yi tea. The new method, influenced by the low fermentation method from Taiwan, produces a tight, fragrant, and dark coloured tea.
Yellow Iron Buddha is a new tea type developed in recent years. It is produced from the marriage of the traditional Iron Buddha tea and the Huang Jin Gui tea tree. This tea tree is not only being planted in the Fu Jian Province, it is also being planted in Zher Jian, Shu Zhuo, Guan Dong, and Yuen Nang. Accordingly, when the tea is produced from such tea trees that is grown in the Wuyi area and produced with the Iron Buddha tea making method, it is named Wuyi Huang Guan Yin. However, please note that not all tea trees planted in the Wuyi area can be called Cliff tea, only when it is grown on the cliff, it can be called Cliff tea.
“Chi” and “Yan Yun” are the best way to figure out if this is real cliff tea.
In my opinion, as long as the tea leaves look like Iron Buddha, the processing of the tea should be similar to Iron Buddha tea, and hence, one should make it similar to the Iron Buddha tea method, not the Wuyi tea method.
I guess Taiwan oolongs have the greenest leaves? I wonder because I was trying to identify a tea that I found that said Wuyi on the label but the leaves looked like Iron Buddha, which surprised me opened the package. I made it anyway & it definitely had a Wuyi cliff taste (& pretty decent too).
I think Taiwan has a fairly broad spectrum. High Mountain Taiwan oolongs do tend to be green, among the greenest of oolongs, but many of the Tieguanyin oolongs produced in Anxi now (and arguably the ones that are most popular) are equally as green if not more so. Taiwan's Tieguanyin, produced mainly in Muzha/Maokong, are quite oxidized by comparison.
Interesting and semi-related is that several Chinese sources and tea books I've looked at recently (I can dig up resources if curious) say that the ball-type oolong was perfected in the Dong Ding region of Taiwan mainly via Dong Ding oolong. I remember talking to a Baozhong producer in Taipei once and he said that though uncommon, Baozhong is sometimes available "Dong Ding style" in the loose ball shape. I had previously thought DD style referred to the production method, but have since found that it can refer to the rolling/shaping as well. Correctly or not, this I don't know
Ive been intensely interested in Wuyi tea for the past 4 months, taking every chance to drink and learn about different types/mountains and what not.
The Wuyi tea picture that was posted earlier in this thread is definatly Wuyi tea. I would like to add that this particular picture is showing some tea that is not roasted heavily, and from what i have seen, is more typical for Bai Ji Guan, or at minimum a new style roast. Bai Ji Guan, apparently, does not hold up well to a heavier roast and is rarely found roasted heavier.
Lots of Wuyi cliff tea being produced today is slowly moving away from its 'traditional' roots, mostly observed in the transition from heavier roasts to lighter roasts. It seems that people are starting to drink lighter roasts because of the intense and rich 'floral' and 'fruity' notes. From what i have learned (and have had personally) the more traditional roasts are quite a bit heavier and are often quite bitter (although its very easy to over-steep any cliff tea and make it quite bitter). The aftertaste is deep and amazingly complex, but many people are now steering away from the 'seriousness' of these traditional teas in favor of lighter floral roasts.
Its a really interesting adventure to go to your local tea shop and sample cliff teas. Tea's like the 'thousand mile scent' are perfect examples of these new style roasts. More traditional teas such as 'golden water turtle' (shui jin gui) or 'iron arhat' (tie luohan) are available in many different degrees of roast, from very traditional to very modern. Its really fun to try both a traditional and modern example of the same tea.