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Que She (Sparrow’s Tongue) Rock Oolong

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Brief Introduction to
Que She (Sparrow’s Tongue) Rock Oolong


Que She (literally as Sparrow’s Tongue) is one of Wu Yi Mountains’ most ancient teas. As a recognized tribute tea to the Song Dynasty, it achieved great fame among influential and prominent people of the time.  Due to its singular flavor, Sparrow’s Tongue is a vital component in most of the Big Red Robe wulong blends but is rarely sold unblended in the open market. The cultivar is known for growing very slowly and producing a smaller and later yield than others. As result, Sparrow’s Tongue is a rare and slightly more expensive rock oolong tea. Drinking this tea gives you a higher appreciation and understanding of a major element of many high quality “Da Hong Pao” wulongs.

Sparrow’s Tongue bush is named for its delicate and narrow shape of its leaves. The mother bush used to make this tea is one of the six famed mother bushes of Da Hong Pao, located in the “dragon’s nest” cluster of bushes in Da Hong Pao park.

The wulong tea picking season begins around April 20th, this tea is always picked at the end of the harvest season because it is the last bush to grow. There are so many varieties of tea bushes that grow in Wuyi Mountain to make rock wulong tea, and each one has a different picking time, and can only be picked for about 3-5 days per year.

For Wu Yi Shan wulong, only the top three or four leaves of the new growth are picked. Producers will wait for all the tea buds to completely open into tea leaves, when the last piece is ⅔ of the second leaf, called “zhong kai mian”. After picking, they will use large buckets to carry the leaves back to the factory to rest under the sunshine on top of fabric or bamboo sheets for a couple of hours. The leaves will be moved inside and spread about an inch thick on large round bamboo trays. The trays are placed on wooden shelves. Every 8-12 hours the tea master will shake the trays to let the tea leaves rub up against each other. This rubbing agitates cell walls within the leaf, encouraging their natural oxidation and the flavor development that accompanies it. The leaves will then be fried for about 8 minutes with a hot temperature rolling machine to stop the oxidation. A kneading machine is used to compress the leaves into their long twisted shape. The leaves will be quickly dried for about 40 minutes in a 110 celsius oven. The stems and untwisted leaves will then be sorted out by hand. Finally, the leaves are roasted above bamboo charcoal for about four hours. The tea is given a 20-30 days break before a second shorter roasting for two or three hours. The tea master adjusts to charcoal pot’s temperature by sprinkling ashes over the charcoal. This smokeless heat is used so as not to contaminate to the tea with any smoke, thus allowing you to enjoy a pure and delicate representation of the aroma that Sparrow’s Tongue leaves have to offer.

make the perfect cup of
Que She (Sparrow’s Tongue) Rock Oolong

    • Teaware
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-teapot
    • Gaiwan (Bowl), Porcelain Pot, Yixing Pot
    • Leaves
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-leaf
    • Half of the capacity
    • Water
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-water
    • Filtered (Spring) Water
    • Fire
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-fire
    • 100°C | 212°F
    • Time
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-clock
    • 5-8 SEC for 1st infusion; add 5-8 SEC for subsequent infusions
    • Infusion
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-infusion
    • 6-7 infusions

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Que She (Sparrow’s Tongue) Rock Oolong


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