Ding Gu Da Fang (頂谷大方) is a classic green tea from Huang Shan (黃山) ‘Yellow Mountain’ area of Anhui province in China. Huang Shan not only happens to be a popular tourist destination in China but is also an ideal location for tea growing. The cool and misty climate as well as mineral rich soil combine to produce flavoursome teas that have a high level of theanine and are rich in tannins and vitamins.
This tea is named after its creator, a Buddhist monk – Da Fang, who lived at the top of a mountain called Lao Zhu Feng during the late Song Dynasty. According to legend he personally grew and harvested this tea and served it to visiting scholars. As the tea quickly gained reputation, many people wanted to come and taste it so the monk shared the tea with the local farmers. As they prospered from this tea, they named the tea in honour of the monk: Ding Gu (Valley Peak) Da Fang. This tea grew so much in popularity that it was once one of the top ten teas of China, and is still considered to be a famous tea according to some lists.
In appearance, Ding Gu Da Fang green tea resembles another very popular Chinese tea, Long Jing Dragon Well. In fact it is thought by some that Ding Gu Da Fang is the predecessor of Long Jing tea. If you compare the leaves of the two teas side by side, you can certainly see the resemblance in the shape of the leaves due to similar processing employed.
This Ding Gu Da Fang green tea has very flat green leaves that open up when brewed. You can see that it is made exclusively from buds plus 2 small leaves. The liquor has a light green colour with a sweet nutty and vegetal aroma. This tea has no dryness or astringency with a long lasting and deep taste. There are sweet notes of corn, fruits and almonds. Definitely a more complex cup that should be savoured to appreciate the nuances from each infusion.
It is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes and the leaves should be re-infused around 3 times.