I accidentally slept fourteen hours today, clearly my body needed it but I was not amused by this. In order to make up for lost time I decided to log a bunch of teas in my notebook, thirteen teas later and I feel accomplished. I am, however, going to review an older tea in my book and one that is a real ‘comfort tea’ for me. I oddly bought it last Christmas at my local favorite Asian Market so I could include it in my annual Tea Advent Calender I give to a few of my friends…and then promptly forgot about it until about a month ago. A grievous sin, I know, but I finally got around to drinking it and giving it the respect it deserves.
This poor ignored tea is none other than Shui Hsien Oolong by Sea Dyke brand. Shui Hsien is an Oolong tea from the famed Wuyi Mountain in Fujian, China, the name translates to Water Sprite or Narcissus, which I find rather beautiful. It is considered a dark Oolong and is usually oxidized 40-60% and is given a good firing (I do love me a roasted Oolong!) The aroma is sweet, rich, and malty…talk about yummy! There are notes of smoke and rich roast, it reminds me of sweet pipe tobacco and gives me a whiff of childhood nostalgia. There are also notes of pine resin and dried fruit.
Once I give it a good brewing the leaves take on an even richer, roasted aroma and is vaguely like coffee. There are still notes of resin and smoke, it does seem to lose its sweetness though. Ah, wait, I found the sweetness, it all transferred to the liquid! The rich, amber, liquid has the aroma of dried dates and roast. The roasted aroma melds really well with the sweetness.
The first steeping is very rich, almost a little too intense but very pleasant. The taste is sweet and a little musky, similar to the way a humidor smells, but not headache inducing like some teas I have found that have this same ‘humidor taste’ are. I suppose it would be a terrible comfort tea if it gave me a headache. It is also smoky and a touch metallic. Very smooth and rich.
The second steeping is where the party is at, yo. It is much sweeter than the first steeping and takes on a more roasted taste rather than smoky. It takes on a nuttiness that blends well with the roasted taste, and also has a chestnut taste. There is a metallic aftertaste that I notice in some Oolongs and I usually really enjoy. As the tea cools it becomes honey sweet and loses any of the tobacco taste. I really like this tea, to me it evokes my childhood and autumn and I have found that if I am feeling unwell it really picks me up. I truly feel bad for ignoring it for so long. I do not know if this tea can be purchased online unless you do it wholesale, but you might find it locally if you are lucky.