Tongmu Old Tree Shui Xian
Tongmu Old Tree Shui Xian
"Us farmers, we are just here to help nature. We work for the tea.
This place is not something we made; this is a gift from nature." - Li Xiangxi
- DATE OF PICKINGSpring 2021
- TongmuWuyishan, Fujian
- ELEVATION1000 METERS
- Shui XianTea Varietal
What is Tongmu Old Tree Shui Xian?
The Fujian Wuyishan National Nature Reserve (福建武夷山国家级自然保护区) was established to protect the unique biodiversity of one of the most beautiful natural environments in China. The steep volcanic cliff faces, the old-growth evergreen forests and the lush bamboo are full of bird life, while the sweet mountain spring water nourishes ferns, wild herbs and of course, tea.
Within this Ecological Preserve is the officially designated Tongmu region, an even smaller and even more protected region generally closed to outside visitors. Tongmu’s microclimate makes tea from the are some of the most in demand in the world.
While the Li Family home in Tongmu is nestled against a mountainside growing wild with Xingcun Xiaozhong varietal, they also inherited a small grove of old-growth Shui Xian trees deeper into the preserve that have been left untended to grow essentially wild for several generations. They are about one hundred years old now, and grow at least 16 feet tall, some closer to 20 feet. These trees have super deep roots, absorb all the crazy volcanic soil nutrients, and have wild Wuyi moss that grows over the branches adding a super unique mossy quality to the tea.
When Mr. Li picks these trees, not only does he finish all the yaoqing by hand, but he fires the tea in traditional baskets over a special clean burning charcoal from local hardwoods. The firing process is done three to four times and takes sixteen hours each pass. So you have one of the best microclimates in the world, old trees, deep roots, crazy biodiversity and the most ridiculous craftsmanship all coming together in one tea.
So, what does it actually taste like?
Shiu Xian is known for picking up deep forest notes and powerful cooling yun, and this tea is no exception. The aroma of the wet leaf is deep and toasty, blossoming into daffodil florals and a potent sparkling cooling quality like cedar with a touch of juicy pear.
The first sips are crisp and full of bamboo, while the aftertaste moves towards a yun-packed cooling sensation. This old tree Shui Xian is full of mossy foresty qualities, with the unique bamboo flavor of Tongmu and a the grounded volcanic minerality that contrasts with perfumed night jasmine and daffodil florals.
By very late steepings there is a sweet nostalgic wood resin quality, like antique lacquerware, rosewood and frankincense with a cooling sensation so powerful it becomes mouth-watering.