Pin Pei Yancha (拼配岩茶, Pīn Pèi Yán Chá, “Blended Cliff Tea") - Yan Cha means "Cliff Tea" (often translated as Rock Tea) and refers to the oolongs produced in the Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian province. The craggy Wuyi Mountains are the origin point of the technique for producing oolong, and home to the legendary Big Red Robe. The extreme fame of this tea, which is traditionally a blend made from clones of 4 historical tea plants (now 3) that achieved fame in the Ming dynasty, has led to dilemma. Due to its name recognition and high demand, regional government expanded the definition of Big Red Robe (大紅袍, Dà Hóng Páo) to include any tea grown in the Wuyi Mountains, processed in a style consistent with Big Red Robe, and that tastes similar enough to Big Red Robe (as decided by a board of tasters). This resulted in the market being flooded with counterfeit Big Red Robe made from other cultivars.
These "Big Red Robe" blends are not necessarily bad, and many tea lovers who enjoy Big Red Robe are actually drinking them - real Big Red Robe has become exceedingly rare, with many of the growers of the original cultivars producing sub-par tea in an effort to maximize yield. For the first time ever our Wuyi Oolong tea master, Xu Zheng Cong, has started producing one of these blends. By carefully pairing several different cliff tea breeds and roasting them in the traditional Tan Bei style with charcoal, Xu has produced a rich, complex tea that we call by the name Pin Pei Yancha - simply "blended cliff tea."
At West China Tea we believe strongly in the principle of "call it what it is" - this isn't Big Red Robe, but it is an excellent tea produced from cleanly-grown plants located in the designated environs of the Wuyi Mountains, skillfully blended and roasted.
Its aroma is spicy, musky, and sweet, with a dynamic lingering after-fragrance. It produces a deep crimson liquor with a full, satisfying mouthfeel that produces a strong hui gan and a resonant cooling sensation in the throat. The charcoal roast is immaculately performed, resulting in a balanced roasted flavor that brings out the full complexity of this tea. This tea stongly displays the yán yùn 岩韵 ("cliff essence") that characterizes Wuyi oolongs.