This is my first Shui Xian, and I was unsure of how to brew it. I split my sample in half so that I could western one half and gong fu the other. This is the western style review.
I picked this to drink by way of the random sample dive, and the second I opened this package, there was the most intriguing menthol/mineral scent, with the caramel sweet notes from a yunnan black. I couldn’t get my nose out of the package!
I brewed it for 2:30, but I snuck sips at 10 seconds, 1 minute, and 2 minutes. The shortest steep tasted like thinned out rock oolong; at 1 minute, it graduated to thinned out yunnan black tea; at two minutes sweetness and vanilla creme suddenly appeared, and that roasted flavor was beginning to show more strongly; I feared to over brew it and end up with a cup of roasty yuck, so I pulled the leaves at 2:30 which is just a little over-roasty, but also cooling, vanilla and smooothly flavored.
Frankly, it reminds me of everything people raved about with Big Red Robe from Verdant Tea, but that I couldn’t find in that tea. BRR was too harsh and smokey and so mineral it was almost salty to me. This is caramel instead of smoke, vanilla instead of salt, floral instead of mineral, and it has a cooling sensation as it washes over my mouth as well.
This does have the mineral and toasty flavors of BRR but is so much more refined, creamy, sweet, and complex to me. I honestly thought I didn’t care for rock oolongs, believing that anything heavily roasted would put me off, but this is quite fabulous!
Thanks to Liquid Proust for organizing this sample for me. It is just as tasty as everything else I have had from this tea farm!
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Mineral, Roasted, Smooth, Vanilla, Wood