A juicy sweet, luscious light-roasted oolong with notes of vanilla ice cream, honey, and banana. . . .
Shui Xian is a tea shrouded in mystery -its name is either a reference to a Taoist immortal, a spirit of the water, or the narcissus flower. This triple-meaning is fitting for the immense complexity and richness that the tea offers. We can think of nobody better suited to pick this tea than the Li family outside of Xing Village of Wuyishan. Li Xiangxi’s family has been hand picking and processing tea for generations. They are lucky to have a plot of the highest elevation land in the area with two mountain picks and a mountain crevasse protected from the sun and elements. Their tea is fed from a mountain spring, with pants between ten and one hundred years old, all grown traditionally without fertilizers or pesticides and picked by hand by the family.
The aroma of the leaf as boiling water is poured over it is that of steamed whole milk simmering with vanilla pods, slowly caramelizing. The first sip is a textural sensation. We imagine crystals of honey flavor suspended and frozen in the liquor that burst open as they melt with thick, juicy sweetness. There is also a particularly heady plumeria flower aroma that plays on the palate with notes of perfectly ripe mangos.
As the tea steeps out, there is a light tingling sensation left on the tongue, accompanied by the buttery sweet flavor of a fresh made waffle cone, or a merengue laced with amaretto. Late steeping see the vanilla cream aroma come in to play again with an incredible taste of vanilla gelato with sliced banana and sprinkles of fresh ground cinnamon.
Throughout the tasting experience, there is a striking minerality, a flavor that Li Xiangxi explains comes from the tea tree roots that have penetrated deep into the mountain rocks and draw up their nutrients. This minerality truly evokes the beautiful mountains that this tea calls home.
Date of Picking:Autumn 2014
Location of Picking:14 miles outside of Xing Village, near Wuyi Mountains, Fujian
What Was Picked:High-elevation old tree Shui Xian varietal big leaf
Quantity Acquired:This is a 14 pound edition
Sourcing Agent(s):Crafted with care by Li Xiangxi
Verdant Tea Founder, David Duckler, Brewing Shui Xian Wuyi Oolong
Use a small cup and brew basket, a gaiwan, or an yixing clay teapot. This tea performs much better brewed in small quantities and resteeped many times. Start with filtered freshly boiled water and use 3g-4g of tea for 4 ounces of water. Steep for 10 seconds maximum, increasing each steeping by a second or so.
For cold-brewed iced tea, use 2 heaping tsp per cup of room temperature filtered water, refrigerate overnight with leaves and serve super cold. This one is excellent iced.
What is the Story of Shui Xian
"For days he walked, picking roots to eat along the way, sleeping by the water, and singing to himself. Deep in the mountains, where the mist was clinging to the rocky peaks, he heard another voice...Big Red Robe
"As soon as the tea touched her lips, she awoke and began to regain strength. The rugged and humble flavor of the leaves reminded her of home and restored her spirits...One Word Tea Club Brewing
"The amount of leaves, and the synergy of having two great yixing pots makes for a potent and stunning brew that keeps going and going...