Shui Xian means “Water Spirit” in Chinese, a term that alludes to the intense aroma and flavor released when water is added to the tea leaves. Our Shuixian Cake is pressed from “zheng yan” leaves gathered mid-May 2011 from the cliff-side terraces of the Wuyi mountains. The leaves were bruised and oxidized, then finished with several rounds of traditional fruitwood charcoal roasting.
To produce the tea cakes, the finish tea was flash-steamed, pressed and then sunbaked. For the 2011 harvest, we commissioned a very limited run of 200 cakes. Each is wrapped with hand-made paper and stamped with the harvest year, our company chop and a small red blossom.
In character, the 2011 Shui Xian Cake is much more restrained than the other Heritage Wuyis in our collection. While most of our Wuyis have intense caramel notes – the result of multiple rounds of charcoal roasting – chocolate and cocoa notes are more prevalent in this cake. We also detected a hint of raisin and notes of malt and plum that we usually get from aged teas. We were most impressed by this tea’s texture and taste: exceptionally smooth and round on the delivery, followed by a dry, tight finish that coats and then lingers on the palate.
With time, this tea will become smoother, sweeter and more complex. We hope to commission a new cake each year, and track changes to existing cakes as they age.
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