Zhang Ping Shui Xian (漳平水仙) is an unusual and rare oolong that comes pressed into square-shaped cakes. It is grown around Zhang Ping city in the southern part of Fujian Province. Each cake is individually wrapped in paper for storage and then further wrapped into a vacuum sealed foil pouch to preserve the flavours. We have left each cake wrapped as they are in order for them to reach you in their optimum condition. This particular lot is from the Summer 2020 harvest.
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. However some Shui Xian oolong teas are also produced in Guangdong Province. 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. You may be interested in trying the traditional more oxidised and roasted Dan Cong Shui Xian and Wu Yi Lao Cong Shui Xian teas available in our shop.
This Zhang Ping Shui Xian is made from large leaves, mostly still on stalks. These have been pressed into square cakes, each cake being around 8-12 grams in weight. This tea is lightly oxidised and it has also undergone a baking or roasting process. The baking imparts a lightly toasted character that brings out the more complex notes and results in a mellow flavour and soft mouthfeel.
To make this tea, unwrap the cake from the foil and paper, and break off an amount of tea required. If using the whole cake, it can be agitated once in water, so the leaves start coming apart in order to brew properly. These cakes make a perfect single serve size for a larger gaiwan or a traditional clay tea pot for an enjoyable gong fu brewing session. When the leaves start unfurling, you can see the lovely mixed patterned colours that are the result of the light oxidation. The bright and clear aromatic liquor produced has a lovely floral and lightly baked scent. The dominant floral profile has creamy and baked notes with a soft and sweet mouthfeel. The aftertaste is clean and delicately roasted with a lasting floral impression.
We suggest brewing parameters of 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste, brewing 3+ times. We generally find that either briefly washing the leaves in hot water to open them up or a longer first infusion to be a good way of balancing the flavour from the first round. Subsequent infusions can be shorter as the leaves open fully.