I think this might have been a freebie included a few orders ago but I’m uncertain. EIther way, thank you Old Ways Tea :) 2020 harvest.

The aroma is moderate, the taste is full and the body of the tea is delightfully creamy and oily. I suppose that means it also lacks the typical astringency or drying character of many Wuyi oolong. It possesses less mineral character than I prefer, so this might be a good introduction to rock oolong — enough minerality that it defines the style but perhaps not so much as to turn people away.

The taste is round and full, nutty-sweet and chocolatey with an orchid top note, and at times expressing a note of pleasant sourness but I can’t nail down which flavor profile matches it. A pithy bitterness arises here and there, giving a hint of edginess. The aftertaste quickly develops after the swallow and blooms into a fruity, airy, rich and sweet combination of white peach, orchid, brown sugar and semisweet chocolate. The throat feels cool.

Between the mouthfeel, tastes and aftertastes, it is a satiating tea that doesn’t have me wanting to drink cup after cup, but rather has me wanting to savor it over the course of a few days. It’s not a tea that was immediately appealing to me because I like more ‘edge’ but it is nonetheless good quality. I could see someone falling hard for this Shui Xian.

Flavors: Almond, Black Raspberry, Brown Sugar, Cacao, Charcoal, Chocolate, Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Jam, Mineral, Nutty, Ocean Air, Oily, Orchid, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Round, Sugar, Sweet, Thistle, Wet Rocks

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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