Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: dark green, tightly rolled
Steep time: 20 seconds
Water Temperature: 195 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold
Daurim generously shared several of their teas with me but this one definitely stuck out of the bunch. A wild Taiwanese Shui Xian? Yes, please! Shui Xian is a cultivar with roots in China’s Wuyi mountains. The first tea plants brought to Taiwan were sourced from this region. The name Shui Xian translates as narcissus or water sprite.
I loved that they shared a picture of the garden full of wildflowers. The tea plants are just barely visible among all of the fauna. I was intrigued by their description of the “really old school” processing. No machinery was used at any point. This is rare nowadays as technology has changed how tea is made over the years. I don’t usually write about teas that aren’t currently available but I felt that this one was special enough to make an exception.
The dry leaf very dark green in color. There was little uniformity in terms of shape. This is a visual indication that the tea has been rolled by hand rather than a machine. The aroma was fruity with hints of florals and a defined roast. Gongfu style brewing with a gaiwan is always my go-to method for oolongs like this. I’m happy to see that Daurim provides appropriate parameters for that. Infusions of 20 seconds are a great place to start but you can always adjust to your personal taste from there.
Shimen Ye Fang brewed up a deep shade of gold. All of the aromas in the dry leaf were present in the cup as well. Notes of stonefruit and honey faded into sweet toast and faint hints of orchid. The mouthfeel was on the thicker side with a refreshing finish.
Towards the end of my session I was interrupted by a delivery from FedEx (yes, it was tea!). When I returned to my tea tray I was aghast to discover that I had left hot water in my gaiwan for some time. I am happy to report that this tea is pretty much bombproof. It still tasted just as delicious as it had when brewed properly. Trial by fire is always a good way to measure the quality of a tea.