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Laocong Shui Xian

 

Perhaps our mildest Yan Cha on offer, this 'old bush', a tea tree over 70 years in age, has been tempered by time, sharing only the most sagacious of flavours without feeling the need for the flashier roastings of its Wuyi companions. Compared to them, Shui Xian has a very distinct and recognisable character, the sharpness of spices—ginger & clove—and the acidity of green fruits rolling out from the gaiwan or teapot buoyed in a very soft, comfortable infusion. Even a subtle floral note, like lavender, seems to suggest itself among the others, but like elders in a hot spring, there is time enough to talk, enquire, and find out what tastes are relaxing in your cup.

 

Wuyi Yan Cha – the tea from the rocks
Wuyi Yan Cha, aka Wuyi Rock Tea or, more properly, Cliff Tea, is an ancient oolong tea (one of the six tea categories, halfway between green and black teas). Produced in northern Fujian province, Yan Cha are complex teas, with their typical mineral savour sharing the field with the strength from roasting and delicate floral and fruity hints.

Watch our video on the unique character of this Wuyi Yan Cha:

 

Video thumbnail: Drinking Laocong Shui Xian
  • ORIGIN:  Lian Hua Feng, Wuyishan, Fujian, China
  • MEANING:  Old bush water sprite (Lao cong shui xian)
  • CULTIVAR:  Shui Xian
  • HARVEST TIME:  10 May 2017
  • TASTE:  Ginger, green fruit, lavender
  • ROASTING:  Medium roasting (4x at 120°C, last on Dec 5, 2017)


Preparation
IN THE TEAPOT
  • Quantity: 6g / 500ml
  • Water temperature: 90°C
  • Infusion time: 4 min
GONGFU CHA METHOD
  • Quantity: 3g / 150ml
  • Water temperature: 90°C
  • 4 infusions: 45, 60, 60, 90 sec

For best results in gongfu cha, brew in the traditional gaiwan or in a Yixing teapot. Too high a water temperature would burn the leaves, resulting in a bitter taste.

Additional Information

Authentic Wuyi Yan Cha is produced in the Wuyi Mount region, a UNESCO natural heritage site. The dramatic gorges of the Nine Bend River are surrounded by a largely intact subtropical forest and smooth cliffs of black-brownish rocks. The tea plants grow in narrow valleys, next to the cliffs, in a mineral-rich soil.

Tea leaves have been processed here for at least a thousand years. From the 11th to 16th centuries, when Oolong tea was yet to be invented, there was an imperial tea farm on the mountains, producing green tea for the imperial court. Oolong production was boosted in the 17th century thanks to the great export demand from Europe. At that time, Wuyi was known in England as “Bohea,” and the tea imported from this region was labeled black tea. Note that black tea, as we know it today, was created centuries later.
Today Wuyi Yan Cha is one of the most valued teas in China. Because it has become a status symbol, many wealthy Chinese are willing to pay a fortune for it without even knowing how a proper Wuyi Yan Cha should taste. The result has been prices inflating to unjustified level and quality often sacrificed for quantity.
Unique to the Wuyi Yan Cha is a mineral savor coming from the soil and the surrounding cliffs. Being the oolong with the highest fire finish, fresh Yan Cha may as a result be strong and pungent. Sharpness and too-prominent astringency subside upon ageing. Premium high-fire Yan Cha tastes better after a few years of storage. Use a Yixing teapot to soften the tea, should it be too astringent for your palate.
The overall tasting profile is rich, complex, and deep. Depending on cultivar and environment, the mineral-roasted flavor is refined by floral, fruity, nutty or woody accents.

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