Notes of cherry liqueur, champurrado, and rose de mai.
Red tea from Taiwan・May 2022・水仙紅・Unsprayed
Shuixian is a relatively rare cultivar in Taiwan, grown in just a handful of gardens across the island. On the steep slopes of Lishan mountain, in a picturesque plot bordered by pine trees with sweeping mountain views, the Chang family has made this varietal their primary focus. The garden’s geography is ideal; high elevation slows the development of the leaves, adding sweetness to the tea, while the root structures, buried deep in the nutrient-rich soil, add depth. This combination of factors produces tea leaves that are rich in anti-oxidant catechins and sugars- the foundational building blocks of flavor, texture, and aroma.
Yet despite the merits of the location, this is a difficult garden to reach. Solely accessible through a small fire road, these tea trees were, until recently, inaccessible due to a massive landslide. Now cleared, other challenges faced this year’s harvest. Significant labor shortages across Taiwan meant that a full 4 days of harvest and production yielded a scant 140 of finished tea. Peter spent the final two days working alongside the Chang family picking, processing, withering, rolling, bruising, and resting these leaves before purchasing the entire harvest and sending it to a producer for a final charcoal bake.
A cultivar traditionally crafted as an oolong, we took leaves to full oxidation before firing, making them a true red tea. We’ve been after a Red Shuixian for the Song Collection for some time now, ever since featuring a small run in The Founder’s Collection. It’s a marvelously textured tea, rich and malty, with a nose of cherry liqueur and bouquet of rose de mai. The final charcoal bake lends the leaves their soft, malted notes of champurrado and cocoa powder.
This 2022 harvest is the counterpoint to our newly released Aged Shuixian, ca. 2012. Hailing from the same garden plot, these leaves are identical in every way, save for a decade of quiet aging. Taste them side by side, then stash some away for further experimentation. These leaves are wonderful now, and across decades to come.
Brew: 5 grams・150 ml・203° F・1 min
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|30 grams (new size!)