Da Fang tea is considered by many Chinese tea experts to be one of the top 10 Chinese teas. What makes this tea so special? Let’s look at the basics to find out why.
|Ding Gu Da Fang – to the untrained eye, it looks very similar to Longjing (Dragon Well)|
First, this tea is translated into English as Ding Gu Da Fang Tea, Zhupu Da Fang, or Zhuye Da Fang. Translating from the Chinese (顶谷大方) is always tricky and varies from one translator to another, with either a phonetic or literal translation being chosen.
As for what Da Fang is, it’s a green tea. The dry leaves have the flat shape similar to Longjing (Dragon Well) and is supposed to have been using this shape before any other teas. The dried leaves of Da Fang tea have a yellowish green color and a sleek and flat shape, with the buds hidden and covered with golden down. The liquid has an enduring aroma and pleasantly sweet aftertaste.
Da Fang is produced in She county in Anhui Province, China, specifically on Lao Zhuling (老竹岭) and Fu quanshan (福全山) mountains at altitudes above 1000 meters. They are steep and covered with dense bamboo forests with clouds clinging to them, providing plenty of rain. The soil is red, acidic, and has a cover of sand — ideal conditions for growing tea trees.
The tea leaves are plucked before the Grain Rain and when the buds are just developed. The pluckers go only for the single-bud-and-two-leaves combos. Harvesting is done in Spring (considered the best), Summer and Autumn.
There are two types of Da Fang, produced using different drying processes — Zhong huo (重火) with a chestnutty aroma, and Qing Huo (轻火) that has a brisk, delicate flavor.
The Da Fang name comes, according to legend, from a Buddhist monk named Da Fang. He lived in a temple at the top of Lao Zhuling Mountain during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. He would serve a delicious tea to his visitors, and the reputation of this tea drew even more visitors. It became so prized that in the Qing Dynasty it was listed as an imperial tribute tea.
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