I have reviewed Shui Xian Oolong and a variety of white teas from Fujian. Still, I did not even know that a white tea version of Shui Xian existed. So, I was inquisitive about this tea.
I came to understand that white teas are processed from 3 different tea varieties which are Xiao Bai (small white), Da Bai (large white) and Shuixian Bai (narcissus white). The famous Bai Hao Yin Zhen is made from the buds of Da Bai, and it is the most precious of white teas. This tea, however, uses tea leaves from Shui Xian tree species grown in the deep mountain area of Jian Yang city. Due to its remote locations in the mountains, it is referred to as ‘organic’ or ‘wild’ tea.
The first available record about Shui Xian trees suggests that they first appeared in the early 1910s. When I drank this tea, it had been aged for 5 years already. I think its spicy characteristic comes from its age. The aroma of its dried leaves reminded me of Yunnannese whites. I don’t know if it was because of the ‘wild’ character of Shiu Xian tree. The sweetness was not overly present. However, minerality was prevailing. It also had a lingering taste which was close to malt and wood rather than sweetness though.
Overall, it was an exciting experience for me. I am glad to learn about Shui Xian Bai, which is neither sweet nor floral as its Fuding cousins. Still, with its spiciness and woodiness, it does not lack any character.
Nice to meet you Shui Xian White Tea!
Origin: Jian Yang, Fujian Province
Harvest time: 2015
Leave colour: Shades of green with white fuzz
Liquor colour: Faint yellow
Tea aroma: Deep forest smell
Tea taste: Mellow with mineral and spicy
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Available for ageing up to 10 years or possibly longer