2023 Spring Lao Cong Shui Xian 老丛水仙
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Tea trees more than 50 years old are referred to as old bush or Lao Cong. Our Lao Cong Shui Xian is grown in Zhang Ping of Fujian. Every February, the luscious green rows of tea shrubs pose beautifully for countless tourist pictures against the blossoming cherry trees. Indeed the terroir here is special. With natural forest and rolling hills covering about 75% of its land, it is one of the few Chinese cities with such vast undisturbed land. Its mineral-rich volcanic soils boost the agriculture and timber industries in the city. Climate is mild with temperature at 16 to 20°C throughout the year, with ample rain. The Jiu Peng Creek (九鹏溪) runs through the tea growing areas bringing with it mineral deposits, further adding to the superior growing conditions. Such good terroir develops a unique orchid floral note in the teas of Zhangping. This tea is at the geographical division between the North Fujian and South Fujian styles of wulong making. Naturally, it combines both styles, preserving the light floral notes of the southern style while pursuing a darker roast of the northern style.
Going back in history, this Shui Xian cultivar was said to be first discovered in Zhang Ping Zhu Xian Cave (祝仙洞). In the local dialect, the pronunciation for the 'Zhu' character is 'Zhui' which coincidentally is the same pronunciation for the word 'water'. In the common Chinese language, 'water' is pronounced as 'Shui'. The word 'Xian' is pronounced the same in both languages.
Zhang Ping started growing this tea since the Yuan Dynasty and grew to a decent scale by the Qing Dynasty. In 1914, Deng Guan Jin, a native from Zhang Ping Shuang Yang Township (双洋镇) created the first ever compressed wulong tea brick from Zhang Ping Shui Xian, differentiating it from all other types of wulong teas.
The flavour of this tea deepens as it ages. When oxidised lighter and roasted lighter, it is usually compressed into tiny bricks and sold as Zhang Ping Shui Xian.
It is also important to note that this Shui Xian bears the same name but is entirely different from Fenghuang Shui Xian of Chaozhou.
We are brewing the tea in our Parchmen gaiwan set, with 3g in the gaiwan with 150ml of 90°C distilled water at 45 sec. The liquor is dark red, it has notes of caramel, milk and honey. The mouthfeel is medium light, and has an interesting woody afterflavour accompanied by sweet lingering orchid aroma. It can be brewed up to 5 times.