Rougui 2016 Foguoyan 正岩佛国岩肉桂
Wuyi Mountain, Fujian
Cultivate acquired a small amount of this True Cliff Rougui in 2016, and have been aging it since then ourselves. It comes from 佛国岩 Foguo Cliff, located within the Wuyi Nature Reserve and we are very grateful for the amount we have been able to obtain and see age.
The name “Foguoyan” is three characters: the first character, fo 佛, translates into “Buddha,” the second character, guo 国, translates into “country,” and the third, yan 岩, translates into “cliff.” It is named this way because these particular cliffs are shaped like large squares and rectangles, and it is said that when you stand between these towering cliffs, you feel as though you are surrounded by dignified and serious Buddhas.
This is an exemplary and indeed powerful True Cliff Rougui for its varietal and craftsmanship. It is a single varietal tea, with no blending, (which has become unusual, as an increasing amount of Rouguis on the market are blended in order to emulate the profile of True Cliff teas). It was hand harvested in May, 2016 from Foguo Cliff, and crafted using traditional techniques, which entails 5 rounds of slow roasting over the course of 5 months.
Tasting this tea, it has a very distinct architecture; there is so much mineral structure it's as though it opens up a space of its own in your mouth. This tea is intense and assertive, as Rougui is known to be, and beautifully presents the object-like tasting notes like leather, ash, and oil that this varietal is admired for. Still, it suspends curious and very pretty tropical notes within its mineral architecture – like soursop or custard apple – and it appears dense and soothing on the palate, like heavy cream. This tea causes saliva to gather beneath the tongue; an evocation known to happen in the highest quality teas, as though the essence of the tea is asking to meet your own.
This mouth-watering effect, called shengjin 生津 in Chinese, is highly regarded, as Traditional Chinese medicine understands saliva to be a precious substance that prolongs life. Saliva contains a variety of compounds that are beneficial to our bodies, especially in promoting digestion and enhancing nutrient absorption. It also encourages us to taste more. In Chinese Medicine saliva is said to increase the vitality of the kidneys and spleen, and to strengthen the yin energy in the body. We will appreciate teas for calling it forth, and in doing so, preparing us to experience the most of them.
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