Notes of brown sugar, toast, and aged tangerine peel.
Oolong tea from Taiwan・April 2015・梨山紅水水仙・Unsprayed
Red Water Shuixian was crafted from 40 year old tea trees grown at 2200m on Lishan. Once completed as a green oolong, the tea was charcoal roasted for over a week to enhance richness and complexity.
This tea’s extraordinary character is the result of the age and altitude of the source garden, the tea maker’s skill, and tea roaster’s finesse.
The 40 year old tea plants are loosely dispersed in a lush area carpeted by ferns. The high elevation translates into slow leaf development, while the root structure of the older trees reach deep into the nutrient rich soil. The combination of the two produces tea leaves that are rich in catechins and sugars, the building blocks of flavor, texture and aroma.
This tea was handpicked early May 2015. The leaves were then processed as a green style oolong with slightly higher oxidation. Total withering time was approximately 10 hours, interrupted halfway by careful bruising to further accelerate oxidation, and then finished with a series of firings and rolling. We purchased the tea from the grower at this stage, and sent it to our contract roaster for post-production roasting.
To achieve the sweetness and complexity of the finish tea, our contract roaster first baked the tea at low temperatures in a convection oven. Once thoroughly dry, the tea was transferred to baskets and set over higher temperature charcoal pits. The result is an even and gradual caramelization that enhances the sweetness and depth of the tea – creating notes of brown sugar, toast and aged tangerine peel.
Brew: 5 grams・150 ml・205° F・1 min
This tea has a really broad character range. Each infusion is dramatically different from the rest. Initial steeps are sweet with very distinct caramel notes, second infusions are rich and fruity and subsequent infusions produce aromatics of cedar. We prefer a strong and bracing steep for a more complex and intense finish.