tea legends and tea prices: rare oolong price skyrocket

I love tea legends, they are always amazing tales about how a magical elixir saved the day or restored strength to a hero.  Perhaps they are just are penned by good writers, and have evolved over time with a little color and embellishment, but I think they had to the history and the fable of tea.

Da Hong Pao tea
da hong pao tea grows on the wuyi mountain in nanping. photo: CFP

This news piece Speculation Causes Price of Rare Oolong Tea to Skyrocket was published yesterday and directly ties into tea legend, with real world economic effects.

In the last year, speculative investment has driven up the price of China’s famous da hong pao tea by up to 300%.

Wang Guiqing, chairman of the Xiamen Tea Association, said authentic da hong pao tea was scarce because it came specifically from 350-year-old bushes that grow in Nine Dragons Cave on Wuyi Mountain. Since 2005, the local government has been preserving the bushes to protect the tea source.

Da hong pao tea is one of the best oolong teas in China. Legend has it that during the Ming Dynasty, an abbot who lived on Wuyi Mountain cured one talented youth of heat stroke by making tea from the leaves of six bushes.

After drinking the tea, the youth later earned first place in the imperial examination. He returned to the mountain to thank the abbot and placed his red robe around the tea bushes in appreciation. From then on, the tea made from the bushes was known as da hong pao or “big red robe.”

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