Mengding Mountain Rock Essence (2009 Pre-Qing Ming)
- Mengding Mt., Sichuan Province, China
- Bird’s Beak style
- Steely, crisp, & fresh tea flavor
- Pure, clean aroma
- Clear straw liquor
Mengding Mountain Rock Essence is a fine, thin, plucked bud that is manufactured as a green tea, not a yellow tea like its cousin Mengding Mountain Snowbuds. This is still an early spring tea, made from buds that are brimming with the vigor of tea bushes beginning their growth cycle. Rock Essence tea is made from the buds of tea bushes that grow at a higher altitude than Snowbuds, in a terroir that is more spare. The soil is thinner, the area more rocky and overall this location is colder and more remote. Hence the name is an appropriate one for a tea that reflects the solid nature of its stony, sparse surroundings.
This tea is exceptional among Chinese green teas and is not always available. It has a concentrated and beguiling piquant ‘rock’ flavor that also suggests windswept pines and the frosty chill of early spring mornings. Rock Essence is not a soft and sweet tea – it has a steely spine like a great Reisling wine. You can taste the effects of high altitude and thin air in this tea just as one can taste it in a Himalaya-grown tea, such as a 1st Flush Darjeeling tea. Rock essence needs several infusions to show off its deep-rooted flavor profile.
This mountain on the Tibetan Plateau in NW Sichuan Province is likely the birthplace of cultivated tea. Mengding Mountain is northwest of Mt Emei, one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism. We fell head over heels for this tea the first time we drank it in 2004 at the monastery on Mengding Mountain.
Steep 2-3 infusions at 2 minutes each.
Water temperature should be 170° – 180° F