Shui Xian Wuyi Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Creamy, Dandelion, Grain, Roasted, Vegetal, Wood, Earth, Smoke, Cinnamon, Milk, Mineral, Sweet, Vanilla, Oak wood, Smooth, Honey, Raisins, Flowers
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 8 oz / 238 ml

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80 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea

Shui Xian is a tea shrouded in mystery -its name is either a reference to a Taoist immortal, a spirit of the water, or the narcissus flower. This triple-meaning is fitting for the immense complexity and richness that the tea offers.

The aroma of the leaf as boiling water is poured over it is that of steamed whole milk simmering with vanilla pods, slowly caramelizing. The first sip is a textural sensation. We imagine crystals of honey flavor suspended and frozen in the liquor that burst open as they melt with thick, juicy sweetness. There is also a particularly heady plumeria flower aroma that plays on the palate with notes of perfectly ripe mangos.

As the tea steeps out, there is a light tingling sensation left on the tongue, accompanied by the buttery sweet flavor of a fresh made waffle cone, or a merengue laced with amaretto. Late steeping see the vanilla cream aroma come in to play again with an incredible taste of vanilla gelato with sliced banana and sprinkles of fresh ground cinnamon.

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80 Tasting Notes

174 tasting notes

I know it’s been awhile, been busy, but I have to share this one. I don’t like darker, roasted oolongs, but Verdant has me changing my mind with them. Their darker oolongs have more than just roasty notes that smack you in the face that I highly dislike. There are tons of different flavor profiles within these oolongs, the complexity always amazes me.

So, I brewed this one gaiwan style, 5 oz ceramic-ware, with boiling water. Sorry, no info on how many grams of tea used…I don’t have a scale so I just eyeball it.

The dry leaf is very dark brown with a purplish cast to it, very pretty, and slightly twisted. It smells like vanilla. There are some roasty notes but it’s nice and soft, no smack in the face! I get something floral, but not like roses or jasmine, more like orchid. There is a farmers market a few blocks down the road from me that sells wildflower honey (it’s heavier and darker than clover honey), I smell that in the tea too.

The wet leaf kind of looks like a mix of browned fall leaves mixing with mulch. I smell that soft roasted note, creamy vanilla, and green bananas (?) don’t ask!

The infusions are a dark amber color with all the notes mentioned above but later on I smell a nice sweet cinnamon coming through.

The first steep was 8 seconds. I got the soft roasty notes, vanilla, creamy texture, a nice floral note…again I’m going with orchid, and wildflower honey. The aftertaste caught me by surprise…I had the texture of a green banana in the aftertaste! It was weird but not off-putting.

The next several steeps were relatively the same in taste profile as I worked up to 15 second steeps. The floral notes grew stronger and the weird green banana texture faded. The tea started to settle into itself with dominant notes of orchid, vanilla, and soft roastiness. After that I started to get sweet cinnamon notes coming in. Oh how it was lovely!

Again Verdant always amazes me in the complexity and quality of the teas they find.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

I really should try the sample that I have…this makes me think i’ll really love it


I want to drink this on a rainy day by the window!

Jim Marks

I highly recommend a pre-Chingming da hong pao. You get some of that roast, but also a lot of floral softness.

Invader Zim

Sil: a sample is definitely worth trying.

Bonnie: I think this would be great on a nice overcast fall morning when everything is still quiet outside!

Jim: Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to look into that one then.

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171 tasting notes

I bought a mini-kitchen scale specifically for this tea. I was going to by those little craft ziploc bags for future swaps… but then I realized how sketchy I would look buying a scale and tiny bags. :S
I have recently come to love oolong. Out of the three teas I ordered from verdant I was most excited to try this one, but also the most nervous to mess it up.
So, I broke out the tea paraphernalia, aka scale, measured out four grams and dumped it into my steeper. I need a gaiwan.
The website said 10 seconds max as a first steep, so that’s what I did. This tea went VERY dark, VERY quick. The scent is sweet.
I keep trying to sip the tea and swish it to pin point the flavour, but it seems every degree it cools it shape shifts. It’s bold and astringent, then sweet and fruity. Very excited for the next steeps.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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1220 tasting notes

Teas like this in my gaiwan are the reason I convinced my mom to get me an electric kettle for Christmas.

I only had two steeps and I’ll probably go back to it later.

First steep was 10s, second 11. I probably should have had the water a bit warmer so I’ll make sure of that next time.

First, I am not a fan at all of darker oolongs like this, but I actually like this one! My problem is usually that they taste of wet wood with all these other flavors bouncing around. This one does not do that.

On these two steeps so far I mostly taste honey. I didn’t get much of anything else. It does have that woodiness, but not in a bad way at all. There was also just a hint of floral.

Ok, steeped 4 more times and it really never started to taste any differently. Maybe it got creamier. I just really need to try again when I have a kettle that makes this easy. Even with a gas stove it took forever to get just a bit of water to reboil for a second steep after the first I’d do.

Now I have to drink water because I ate a giant slice of cake. Ugh.

Oh, Sebastian turned into seed. He is a growing bird though, but this was his 8th meal of the day (my mom kept calling him Bigfoot because he’s so small compared to them)! Also he finally chirped at home, to a Formula 1 video, a German video at that. He is very smart already.

Terri HarpLady

I really like this one too.

Invader Zim

I used to dislike darker oolongs too. Verdant has changed that for me, I love all their darker oolongs, this one was probably my least favorite and I still liked it!


Heh I’m on the opposite end of you guys. Gimme a dark oolong anyway! Ill pass on the green ones :)!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Mmmm dark oolong! Woodyness is probably my favorite quality in a tea :)


He is such a little cutie. =)

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148 tasting notes

I got home about an hour ago from a Florence + The Machine concert (amazing), and having a cup of this before I pass out asleep. More notes later, but for now: it tastes creamy, sweet, with a hint of spiciness. Love this.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Jealous! She has such a powerful voice!

Terri HarpLady

And she has a Harp player in her band!


The harp player was so amazing, as was Florence. She spent at least half the concert running around or bouncing up and down AND singing loudly and on key at the same time. I had to pick up my jaw off the ground at least a few times.

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2815 tasting notes

This tea arrived while I was on vacation. I knew I had to check this one out because I love wuyi oolongs and shui xians are one of my favorites. I steeped this up in the yixing teapot I have reserved just for wuyi oolongs.

First steep: around 30 seconds. I get the burnt caramel flavor that I love about these teas. There is definitely an aroma of mango somewhere in the nose as well as a nice raisin in the flavor. I think this steep is a little light for me.

Second steep: one minute, 15 seconds. The aroma of the tea is incredibly fragrant sitting next to me. I like the longer steep quite a bit better. Now I am picking up on the bit of banana referenced in Verdant’s tasting note and the sweetness I am used to in Shui Xians is starting to unfold.

Third steep: one minute. Some notes are coming through like dried apricots and creme brulee. Still very warming and soothing with a lingering aftertaste. A very nice shui xian. I’ve had a few I liked better but I will enjoy finishing off the bag.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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39 tasting notes

Been enjoying a lot of this. Drank it again before going into work this morning. A few hours ago, I received an email from a certain lady that I’m very fond of. She asked me to send her a haiku. It happens that Shui Xian is her favorite of all the teas I’ve shared with her. On the bus home from work, I was thinking about the brief time she and I enjoyed with each other last night, and about the experience I had drinking Shui Xian alone this morning. The haiku came to me:

What could make this tea
more lovely? One thing. Your smile,
here, sipping with me.


Ah, I’m smiling because you are such a wonderful soul Geoffrey!
A tea and a woman that inspires poetry?! Next thing you know, you’ll be dancing a tango in the street!


Aw shucks, Bonnie. Thanks so much. And I’m actually going to get on a plane headed for Baltimore in a few hours to vacation at a tango festival. I’ll be doing more dancing than walking for four days straight. It’s gonna be great! And maybe I will just dance in the street for a bit at some point.


Good for you, Dance in the Streets! Have fun and eat some of those famous Chesapeake Crabcakes.


I’ll be there at the end of the month visiting family. :)


Great haiku Geoffrey! Hope your lady liked it.

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3229 tasting notes

Ummm… so for the first time, I’m guilty of not remembering who gave me this tea! I think it was Indigobloom? But there’s a small chance it was Sil. Thanks, whoever! :D

Anyways! Felt like a pick-me-up this morning, and some black teas seem to upset my stomach a bit (or at least the thought of drinking anything astringent/bitter is offputting), and I saw this baggie sitting around and figured, why not! I’m having a lazy morning inputting work data at home after an AMAZING night last night seeing Wicked (OMG!!!) with the boy.

I only saw gongfu-style instructions for this tea on Verdant’s website, so opted to go with a slightly modified version. I used my whole little baggie of leaves (so maybe 3 or so grams) with probably a bit less than 8 oz. water, and bumped up the infusion times a little from the recommended 10 seconds.

First infusion (20s, somewhere near boiling): I’ve not had much success with the darker oolongs from Verdant, so wasn’t sure what this first infusion would leave me with. The wet leaves in the brew basket smelled quite strong and almost burnt, so I was a bit worried! Luckily, however, for no reason! If anything, this is a little weaker than I would have liked, but is an absolutely lovely oolong! A bit sweet, creamy, and characteristically woody. Quite delicious!

Second infusion (15s, approx boiling): Unfortunately I didn’t save any of the first infusion to test this one against, but it tastes similar, only perhaps a bit stronger, more creamy and flavourful. There’s perhaps a bit more creamy honey sweetness this time.

Hopefully I get to a few more infusions later in the day! I think I’ll try 30 or 45s next to see what I can coax out of these leaves.

Thanks again, sample-giver! :P

ETA: Third infusion (near-boiling, 45 seconds) – I’m drinking this one cold, and got a interesting chocolatey flavour from it. Pretty tasty. Fourth infusion (near-boiling, 1 min) isn’t that great to me. Perhaps it needs a longer infusion. Nice oolong aftertaste, but the rest is rather lacking.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I know this is in my cupboard, not sure if it’s in Sil’s. Love this one!

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514 tasting notes

I guess you could call this blog post a “review”, but really I’m just linking it for the pretty pictures of this gorgeous tea!

A REAL tasting note coming soon – this tea took me just over the edge into lala land I think ;)

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2219 tasting notes

Oolong #3. I have NO idea who gave me this sample. Thank you to whomever was so generous. :)

I did a couple short steeps of about 10 seconds to taste, then just went for it with a 2 minute steep.

This is really not a kind of tea I care for. I don’t really like the roasty flavours, it somehow tastes a bit like burning grass or hay to me.

I’m glad I got to try this one, but it’s not for me.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I think this was the one I drank today and I got it from the $5 sampler from Verdant on the spring.


Well, thanks! :) All these samples are certainly helping me narrow down my preferences.

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436 tasting notes

This tea is the first Shui Xian I’ve ever had as well as the first tea from Verdant Tea that I’ve tried so thanks Momo for offering me the opportunity to do so through your sale.

I found the flavour profile of these tea to be interesting and subtle through out my tasting of it. The 16 steeps I got out of this tea ( 5,8, 20,30,35,40,45,50,60,70,80,100,125, 160,190s and 4 min) speak to the quality of it. My first impression of the tea left me with a memory of a really awesome steel cut oatmeal I had in McLeod Ganj ( Dharmasala) in India with hints of cream over starchy fruit like papaya or bananas over warm cereal notes. The tea also had warm floral notes. The tea even at 5 s had a nice creamy mouth feel followed by a freshening feeling at the top of the front of the mouth.

Early middle steeps revealed notes of caramel, honey and woody spice mixed with the tones above.

Later steeps brought out vanilla and some sweet vegetal notes that blended with the existing notes.

The final series of steeps were slightly astringent with a licorice woody spice tone appearing along with a hint of chocolate with the honeyed vanilla cereal woody cream notes remaining.

All over it was quite a nice experience I look forward to comparing it to another Shui Xian that I expect to be receiving soon.


Nicely done on sixteen steeps.

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