Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wu Yi Shui Hsien

This is a "Bao Ding" brand of Wu Yi Shui Hsien tea.  This tea comes packed in a tin and comes with double lids to ensure the tea is well protected from odors and moisture.  This tin looks large for a 250g tea but I noticed that the tea does fill up the entire tin.  I appreciate the larger tin as the tea leaves are long and quite plump.  This tin did a splendid job in ensuring, in my opinion as a buyer, received the tea in very good condition; that is whole leaves.  For those chinese teapot brewers whose teapot is single hole with no built in filters, brewing such tea will be a pleasant tea session as the tea leaves will not flow out of the teapot.  If you use tiny or broken tea leaves, brewing with a single hole teapot would be very challenging and time consuming.  I have met some serious tea drinkers that claimed broken tea leaves tend to be slightly bitter when brewed. 

I had received a comment a few years ago that my blog was a good site to read about grocery store teas.  He or she must be referring to the various tinned Chinese teas I had blogged about these few years.  My response would be that if your grocery stores carry these range of tinned Chinese teas, you should be over the moon.  To me it is better to drink from whole tea leaves than from tea bags containing tea dust or tea fannings.  Some lower quality tea bags may have artificial flavors to enhance your beverage.  Chinese tea that were sold in tins were meant for export outside mainland China.  Today, I have noticed that Chinese tourists visiting South East Asia are actually buying old teas including such tins, bringing them back to China for their own consumption.  

Back to this tea.  I had purchased this tin a few years ago and this tea had an expiry date sticker on the bottom of the tea - 15 Jan 2012.  Such teas have a 'shelf life of about 3 years which meant that this tea is already about 5 years old.  The tea is very aromatic.  I enjoy the high roasted scent and a nice mellowness and woody notes in the tea.  I noticed that new heavy roasted oolong has that sharp taste but this sharpness disappears with storage.  Oolongs 'aged' in this sense in that the tea will lose its sharp astringency and becomes mellow and very easy to drink after a time of storage. I would remind my readers that lightly roasted oolongs would not store or 'age' well and it is recommended you drink them quickly to enjoy the 'freshness' of the tea.  Refrigeration of these 'green' oolong tea in airtight bags or containers may help in prolonging the freshness of the tea.  

An enjoyable tea.  A single brew can make 6-7 good infusions of Shui Hsien.   Inexpensive at less than $10. Do buy a tin if your grocery store has it.  

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