Wu Yi Shui Xian Oolong (武夷山水仙) is a traditional oolong from Wuyi Shan in Fujian Province of China, an area that is renowned for producing some of the best and most characterful oolongs. This ‘half rock’ tea is made from the leaves of Shui Xian cultivar plants that are grown around Zhuli Village (竹沥), outside of the core Zhengyan tea growing area of Wuyi Shan. It has an attractive classic roasted oolong flavour with lovely mineral and floral notes. This particular lot was made in April 2020. As with other similar oolong teas that undergo roasting, it benefits from a period of rest after production.
Traditionally, Shui Xian (水仙), sometimes also Shui Hsien, is a type of oolong that originates from Fujian Province and refers to the cultivar used to make this tea. Shui Xian translates as ‘narcissus’, ‘water sprite’ or ‘water lily’ in English and is known for distinctive flowery honey aroma and flavour. There are also oolong teas produced from the same cultivar in Guangdong Province, our Dan Cong Shui Xian being the prime example. While there are many references to Shui Xian originating in Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province, there are a few others who think that this plant was brought over to Fujian from Guangdong a long time ago. There doesn’t seem to be a particular consensus on the exact origin of Shui Xian cultivar and on whether the two cultivars grown in Fujian and Guangdong Provinces are actually the same plant. However, there is definitely a certain degree of similarity between Shui Xian oolong teas from both of these tea regions.
Shui Xian cultivar is used extensively in Fujian Province to produce the famous Da Hong Pao Oolong. In fact, alongside Rou Gui, it forms the base for a good blended Da Hong Pao tea. In most cases these blended teas consist of a Shui Xian and/or Rou Gui base with other cultivars such as Qi Dan, Bei Dou and others blended in to increase the aromatics of the finished tea. We recommend trying our Classic and Special versions of Da Hong Pao to compare with this ‘straight’ version of Shui Xian Oolong.
This oolong originates from Zhuli Village, located outside of the core Zhengyan tea growing area of Wuyi Shan. Wuyi Shan has three main areas of tea production. The main core area is known as Zhengyan (正岩), while the two peripheral areas are known as Banyan (半岩) and Zhoucha (洲茶). This lot comes from tea plants grown on the periphery of Wuyi Shan, classed at Zhoucha, rather than in the core production area. The Banyan and Zhoucha teas are also known as half-rock teas and they closely match the quality of the core area Zhengyan teas. They represent a great combination of value and tradition; they utilise the correct cultivars and processing as well as a terroir that is closely matched to the core production area while still providing excellent value.
Wu Yi Shui Xian Oolong consists of dark twisted leaves that have a fruity mineral aroma. The dark amber liquor has a traditional roasted flavour with distinct mineral notes. This ‘rock’ charm is what makes teas from Wuyi Shan famous and particularly sought after. The mineral profile has a savoury and toasted taste with notes of exotic fruits. The lingering aftertaste has more of the roasted and stony flavour that is combined with floral notes of lightly bitter flower petals. It is not as sweet as other teas from the area can be, instead delivering a more mineral taste.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It should be brewed 3 or more times depending on your taste preferences as each infusion brings out slightly different aspects of this tea. For best results, brew gong fu style.