We are pleased to announce that our Floral Shui Xian Oolong Tea is a winner in the 2017 Global Tea Championship – Hot Spring Loose Leaf, which was held in September!!!
Fujian Province is home to the famous Wuyi Yancha (“Rock Teas”), named after the rough terrain in which these teas grow. Many of the tea bushes are found on the sides of steep, rocky cliffs and high mountain peaks, and yet in spite of this, they receive plenty of nourishment from natural, flowing spring water. As a result of this unique topography, these teas possess an exceptional fiery, mineral flavor, exclusive to Wuyi teas.
One of the most famous of the Wuyi Yancha is Shui Xian oolong, which is sometimes referred to as “narcissus tea” because the potent but soothing aroma is reminiscent of narcissus or daffodil flowers. Depending on where it is grown and how it is crafted, Shui Xian can be very different from year to year, location to location, and tea master to tea master. For instance, at MeiMei Fine Teas, we proudly carry three different Shui Xian oolongs, each with its own outstanding flavor profile: Premium, Floral, and Aged.
Today, we are celebrating our Floral Shui Xian! Finding a good Shui Xian begins with directly sourcing only authentic teas, straight from their true origin. For this one, we began our search not just in the Wuyi Cliff region, but in particular a core-producing area known as “Zhen Yan,” which refers to what the locals know as the “True Rock Cliffs.” It is here where the best of the best Wuyi teas grow, growing in a red, mineral-rich soil on the slopes of the mountains and in the shade provided by the cliffs overhead.
Zhen Yan oolongs are considered by the locals to have the highest quality relative to other Wuyi teas, in large part due to the pristine environment and higher elevation than other areas in the Wuyi region. While this plays a large part in creating an incredible flavor profile, it is not enough unless it is in the hands of a good tea master, and we know of no one better in this regard than Master Liu Qing, a rising tea master who was raised in a prominent village in the region and has been crafting tea for over 20 years.
Master Liu crafted our Floral Shui Xian in the traditional way, roasting in a charcoal fire. Unfortunately, you will find many roasted teas processed in an electrical oven, in part to save cost for fuel and in part because it takes less skill and experience than charcoal roasting. However, both of these factors bear out in the finished product, as teas processed with the electrical oven lack the “fire” that helps define a tea like Shui Xian. At MeiMei Fine Teas, we believe that in order to experience what made these teas famous in the first place, they need to be crafted with the traditional methods, and we strive to source these authentic, expertly-crafted teas for you.
Shui Xian in general can possess a very creamy texture, and in the hands of Master Liu, our Floral Shui Xian possesses this character to an exemplary degree, confirmed by the judges who commented on the smooth mouth feel. Coupled with an extraordinarily pleasant, perfume-like quality, this tea has amazing aromatics and texture. The judges at the tea championship described the taste of this tea as having “notes of pit fruits, roasted grains, orchids, honey and fruit and nut tree blossoms.”
As always, we take great pride in the tea championships, not only because it gives us an idea of how the teas we source fare against other teas from around the world but also because of the way in which the teas are judged. For those unfamiliar, the judges use a point system where they score teas on a scale from 0-100. In order to receive a 3rd place rank, there is a set of stringent minimal qualifications that need to be met relating to the leaves, liquor, and taste. Using this method, it’s quite possible for some categories to have no award winners if the submitted teas fail to meet the minimum qualifications and score high enough on the scale. This system makes winning an award no easy task, putting teas not only up against one another but up against this rating system as well.
There’s only a limited supply of the Floral Shui Xian available. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this award-winning tea!