Shui Jin Gui "Golden Water Turtle" Wu Yi Rock Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea Leaves
Floral, Fruity, Peach, Roasted, Apricot, Wet Rocks, Almond, Butter, Butterscotch, Camphor, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Nutmeg, Plums, Popcorn, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood, Peanut
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 36 oz / 1072 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Shui Jin Gui (lit Golden Water Turtle) is one of the four famous varietals grown in the Wu Yi mountain area. Shui Jin Gui has been grown since the Ming Dynasty, if not earlier. It’s a hardy bush but with only moderate-low output. Spring is the best, Autumn tea depending on the weather can be quite decent as well.

Every year in early or mid-May the fresh spring leaves are plucked. The pluck is typically 2 leaf to 1 bud or 3 leaf to 1 bud. The tea is then withered in the sun for an hour or so, then rolled to break up the leaf’s structure, releasing enzymes. Then fermentation process (also called sweating) is undertaken. The rolled tea is put into baskets and wet cloth is placed on top to boost and maintain the humidity level. The tea sweats for 5 or 6 yours and then roasted. The roasting process is done with fire at a temperature of about 70C. The roasting process halts oxidation process and “fixes” the tea into a more stable state. This roasting process is completed within 4 to 6 hours and then the tea is allowed to cool a bit before being roasted a second time with a lower temperature and shorter time interval. When the tea is done it should have a water content of about 7.5-8%.

The taste of Shui Jin Gui is complex, sweet potato, caramel, grass and spice all mixed into one delicious feeling! Difficult to describe… has to be experience to be fully appreciated!

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6 Tasting Notes

200 tasting notes

Brewed in my Yixing teapot. I have the 2016 Spring batch and have actually drunk this tea multiple times since I’ve owned it but this is the first time I remembered to review.

First steep at 196˚F was more like a rinse.
Has the rich dark-roast aroma (not flavour yet) that allows it to stand up to food pairings, the typical Yancha wet-rocks note, but also a delicate peachy beautiful fruit aroma (like the Mi Lan Xiang Dan cong Oolong).

Second steep at 201˚F
Liquor is an umber colour, sort of medium yellowish-brown. The fruity fragrance has intensified, now is something like juicy apricot or nectarine.

Third steep at 206˚F
I might have used too little leaf here, the flavour has been pretty light throughout for an Wuyi oolong. Will try with more tea to water ratio next time.

Rating: 84

Flavors: Apricot, Peach, Wet Rocks

195 °F / 90 °C

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167 tasting notes

There is what I perceive to be a fairly strong roast on this one. The first infusion in particular has a noticeable but mellow charcoal note to it, although this fades rapidly during the second and third infusion (which is a good thing – I don’t like drinking something that tastes like an old grill!)

Dominant flavors are roasted nut and a certain dryness in-mouth (not mineral, more like pine wood and dry spice). Aftertaste has a big, tart, citrusy flavor with some stonefruit and melon undertones.

So, all-in-all, it is pretty tasty. I enjoyed drinking it; it didn’t blow my mind or anything, but it was enjoyable.

A few drawbacks include it losing flavor relatively quickly. To counteract this, I had to fill my gaiwan up to the brim with dry leaf. This gave me four good infusions followed by two decent ones before the in-mouth flavors pretty much dropped off and became that sort of woody flavor you get with roasted oolongs.

Considering this, I’m not really keen on paying a premium for this tea when there are equally tasty cheaper alternatives.

Anyway, I wanted to try the four famous bushes of Wu Yi, and now I have. Personally, I’m sticking with Da Hong Pao and maybe Tie Luo Han as a treat. Bai Ji Guan was good, and certainly the most different one of the bunch, but I think I would be more inclined to just get a Bao Zhong or even a Tie Guan Yin if I am looking for a greener oolong experience.

There will be more Wu Yi oolong imbibing throughout this year. I’m excited to spend some time exploring these teas. They are intriguing!
Dry leaf: peanut shell, baking chocolate. Hints of dried fruit (cherry, mango), and baking spices. In preheated vessel, tart citrus notes arrive (kumquat, tart raspberry)

Smell: charcoal roast and roasted nuts. Secondary notes of dark caramel. Hints of dried red fruit in background.

Taste: roasted nuts, charcoal roast. Secondary notes of baking spice, pine wood, and some minerality. Tartness arrives in-mouth prior to finish. Aftertaste of tart citrus, stonefruit, and some melon


I recommend the Ai Jiao. Very good mouthfeel, characteristic ‘rock’ flavor, and very infusable. Also reputably sourced from within Zhengyan. Next to the TieLuoHan and Laocong Shuixian, it’s the best value for the price.


I did pick up some Lao Cong Shui Xian, but the Ai Jiao wasn’t on my radar. It’s now on the list for my next YS purchase. Thanks for the recommendation!


Yeah man. The Zhengyan is that protected area in Wuyi where the original “cliff tea” or “yancha” got its name. It’s not just hype. The Zhengyan has a unique soil and terrain, so teas from there have a very special quality and are usually very pricy. The Ai Jiao and Laocong Shuixians are both from there and are quite affordable. You’ll taste the difference.

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807 tasting notes

[Note: I just realized that the version of this tea I have been working on is the 2016 harvest from Yunnan Sourcing. I have deleted the previous review that I mistakenly posted under the Yunnan Sourcing US heading. Please note, however, that the content remains unchanged.]

After mowing down a couple of smaller samples, I decided to take a break and spend some time with a tea I had been looking forward to reviewing for at least a month. Of the Wuyi oolong cultivars, Shui Jin Gui is one of the most revered, and it is also often one of the most expensive. Apparently, Shui Jin Gui is very sensitive and does not yield in large quantities even in the best of years, making it one of the pricier Wuyi oolongs and one of the more difficult to obtain. I found this particular Shui Jin Gui very appealing.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes. While I enjoyed the tea, I was not totally happy with my gongfu method this time around and I will be attempting to tweak it a bit in my next session.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves produced aromas of char, wood, smoke, spices, and dark chocolate. The rinse saw the previously mentioned aromas intensify. They were also joined by hints of damp grass, stone fruits, rock sugar, and coffee. The first infusion brought out touches of vanilla bean, roasted almond, caramel, and distinct impressions of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet ginger. In the mouth, I picked up notes of dark chocolate, wood, char, sweet ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, rock sugar, caramel, and smoke underscored by coffee, damp grass, and stone fruits. Subsequent infusions brought out the vanilla bean and stone fruit impressions. I began to get distinct notes of yellow plum and apricot. I also began to note emerging mineral, butter, and tobacco notes, as well as touches of camphor, clove, hay, and eucalyptus. The tea was quick to wash out, which is not all that unusual for Wuyi oolongs, though I am fairly certain that part of it was due to the brewing methodology I employed for this session. The mineral notes became much more pronounced and I began to detect notes of butterscotch and buttered popcorn. When I really focused in, I could still detect traces of tobacco, damp grass, char, wood, smoke, vanilla bean, and perhaps a touch of dark chocolate at one or two points. Yunnan Sourcing’s product description insisted there were notes of sweet potato in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find them. Yunnan Sourcing was, however, right about this tea being difficult to describe.

This was a fun and interesting tea. I am not certain my description does it justice; the aroma and flavor components were mellow, well-integrated, and constantly shifting. Every time I dug into it, I got impressions of something new. I would definitely recommend this tea to fans of traditional Wuyi oolongs. It’s not exactly a bargain, but it’s not nearly as expensive as other examples of this cultivar I have seen, and for the price, it has a ton to offer.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Butterscotch, Camphor, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Nutmeg, Plums, Popcorn, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

I have some of this tea on its way to me, from YS last oolong sale, so im kinda curious, what did you feel didnt work right, too little lead, too much leaf? 6 to 120 seems about standard at 1 to 20.


Ken, I felt the amount of leaf used was appropriate, but I could have paced this session better. In the future, I plan on starting with a longer first infusion and spreading out the middle infusions in order to hopefully prolong the tea’s peak.


Gotcha, Ill let you know my thoughts when it gets here in about 2 weeks.

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2 tasting notes

Deep roasted flavour with bold taste, a good cup for those who like this style of oolong!

Flavors: Roasted

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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46 tasting notes

Reviewing the Spring 2016 version of this tea. This tea has been the workhorse of my winter. My true daily drinker.

Prep: 60 or 100cc gaiwan, full to brim, boiling water. 15s, 10, 10, 20, 20, 30, 40, 60, 60
Sessions with this tea: 30+

Taste: Slow cooked, caramelized sweet potato, with maybe clover or some milder vegetal note on the early steeps. A hint of floral, low-medium roast notes, also a bit of savory soup note in the middle steeps.

Body: Medium thickness to the mouthfeel, good mineral strength. Highly playful across the tongue on the first 3 steeps. Moderate energy, sits in my neck and upper chest.

Very enjoyable tea which has been my workhorse “daily drinker” this winter season. I had a sample of the 2015, which I loved, so I bought a large quantity from 2016. It’s a pretty straight-forward yancha which has a playful melody and fun rock feeling across the first 3-4 steeps, and has an understated sweetness and nuttiness. The roast notes don’t trip over themselves or fade away, but are integral to the opening steeps. These things make this an ideal daily drinker for me, and I keep this bag at work and find myself reaching for it afternoons when I’m not in the mood to experiment with something new, or just want something enjoyable to sip on. I will miss this tea when I run out soon.

Liquid Proust

Really enjoyed this stuff too; Tea Trekker had some amazing 2009 of it

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88 tasting notes

I’ve been eying this oolong for the past 6 months. I finally decided to jump on 25g of this tea and gave it a go.

When I first opened the package I first noticed a caramel scent that made itself very present. Upon tasting this tea the soft gentleness of caramel with a light nutty background made itself faintly known. My session with this tea lasted around an hour and a half and got a dozen steeps out of it.

Overall it was very yummy and had avery nice softness to it. I’m not too familiar with Wu Yi oolongs to judge if this was good for its region, but it was incredibly tasty and worth the order. I’ll probably end up ordering more before its all said and done.

Well done.

Flavors: Caramel, Peanut

Iced 0 min, 15 sec

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