Saturday, July 07, 2007

2006 Wuyi "Seasonal" Shui Xian from Jing Tea Shop

Class: Oolong
Origin: Wuyi Mountain, Fujian Province, China
Year: 2006
Vendor: Jing Tea Shop
Price: $14.20 (100g) / $4.80 (25g)
Verdict: 6/10

Been a while, eh? Well, it was worth it, because I am now continuing (this being the second review) the promised mega-series of Wuyi mountain oolongs. I doubt that series will ever really happen though, as most of those teas have been consumed already. :)

Anyway, this tea was bought as part of Jing Tea Shop's "Most Wanted Wuyi Oolong Teas" tasting set. The set includes two samples of Shui Xian and two of Rou Gui, one of each produced in the "seasonal" style, the others in the "traditional" style. This tea is the counterpart of the Lao Cong Shui Xian I reviewed earlier.

I'm still not sure what the difference is between seasonal and traditional style Wuyi oolongs, but it seems to me that seasonal oolongs are less-oxidized. I've also heard things about differences in roasting and the age of the tea trees, but I'm not really sure how I would go about judging that for myself.

On to the review:

Dry LeafDry Leaf:

Long, wiry, dark leaves. The dry leaf doesn't look much different than that of most other Wuyi oolongs, presumably due to the heavy roasting. The smell is decent, but nothing to write home about. There is some chocolate/charcoal, and some generic dark berry aroma. Maybe a little floral character, but the fragrance just isn't strong enough for me to detect any little gems that may be hiding in there. This may be due to how long I've had this tea, but some notes from an earlier tasting don't seem to be much different.


4.8g leaf; 90mL yixing pot; off-boiling tap water; 23s, 25s, 25s, 38s, 42s

First InfusionLiquor:

Nothing too interesting. Starts out with the chocolate/charcoal found in many Wuyi oolongs, and slowly morphs into a light honey/charcoal flavor in the end. It had a medium to thin mouth feel. The one thing that caught my attention was a drying sensation left on the tip of my tongue which lasted a minute or two. It wasn't strong enough to be unpleasant-- it was rather nice, actually.

Perhaps I just didn't brew it very well (which is quite likely), but I thought this was pretty boring and mediocre as far as Shui Xian goes. I even bumped up the leaf amount to 8g as a later experiment, and I didn't get much more than some extra charcoal flavor and a thicker body.

Wet LeafWet Leaf:

You can't see it very well in this picture, but these wet leaves are greener than their Lao Cong Shui Xian counterparts, which is what makes me think that traditional-style teas are more oxidized than seasonal-style ones. The leaves are nice; often long, and sometimes whole. I get too frustrated when I try to flatten out more than a couple leaves, but you can at least judge the still-twisted leaves on their length.


Overall, this was just a little better than mediocre. It tastes good, with nothing particularly bad about it, but I thought it was pretty boring. This may be attributable to age, but it really isn't that old, especially for a Wuyi oolong— it has only been 2 months since I first opened it. Anyway, this tea was good enough that I finished it up, but given how much more I liked the Lao Cong Shui Xian, I probably won't buy any more of this stuff. A 6/10.

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