Zhang Ping Shui Xian is a famous tea created in Zhang Ping in Fujian. Every February, the luscious green rows of tea shrubs pose beautifully for countless tourist pictures with 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 Zhangping Shui Xian. This tea is at the geographical division between the North Fujian and South Fujian styles of wulong making. Naturally, it combines both styles. It is also important to note that this Shui Xian bears the same name but is entirely different from Fenghuang Shui Xian of Chaozhou.
Going back in history, Zhang Ping Shui Xian 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 various shades of oxidation produces a tri-coloured tea, with obvious red and dark red marks of oxidation at the edge of the green leaves. It is commercially sold as in its signature compressed brick or the loose leaf form of Lao Cong Shui Xian.
We are brewing the tea in our Parchmen gaiwan set, with the entire tea brick of 8g in the gaiwan with 200ml of 95°C distilled water. In a typical gongfu style, pour out the tea after a short 15 to 30 sec brew, to allow continuous brewing for 8 times, until the leaves are fully expanded. Its liquor is a bright yellow, with a medium and smooth mouthfeel and an aroma forward on orchid and magnolia. Tea is sweet and lingers long in the nose.
Join us to savour the world in a cup!