Here is another of my summer Old Ways Tea sample sipdowns. I had actually forgotten about buying this tea. My reaction to finding the 8g sample pouch of this was utter bewilderment. Then I went back through my records and realized that I bought it along with a bunch of other 2018 tea samples from Old Ways Tea. Anyway, I am a huge sucker for light roasted Shui Xian, and this one was very much worth my time.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, cedar, cream, baked bread, roasted almond, and black cherry. After the rinse, I detected wholly new aromas of roasted peanut, smoke, and grass as well as a subtle orchid scent. The first infusion added a rock sugar aroma and more of an orchid presence. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, cream, roasted almond, baked bread, orchid, black cherry, and roasted peanut that were chased by hints of grass, smoke, cedar, blackberry, and blueberry. The bulk of the subsequent infusions added aromas of blackberry, minerals, orange zest, caramelized banana, and roasted barley. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of grass, blackberry, and blueberry appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, orange zest, rock sugar, moss, caramel, plum, and roasted barley impressions. Hints of black raspberry, caramelized banana, butter, vanilla, and red grape were present too. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, moss, grass, cream, orange zest, and roasted almond that were balanced by subtler notes of butter, black cherry, red grape, blackberry, rock sugar, and roasted barley.
This was a very pleasant and drinkable light roasted Shui Xian with a ton to offer. Compared to some of the other teas of this type that I have tried, the roast that was applied to this tea seemed much lighter and more delicate, but that impression could have been at least partially due to the tea’s age. Anyway, this was definitely a very nice offering. I could see it being an especially great option for those who are exploring Wuyi teas and want to get an idea of what the Shui Xian cultivar has to offer before exploring the heavier roasted variants of Wuyi Shui Xian and/or established fans of Wuyi oolongs who are looking for something a little lighter than the average Shui Xian.
Flavors: Almond, banana, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Plum, Raspberry, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Sugar, Vanilla