Master Xu’s 100 Years Old Shui Xian 水仙 2018
A roasted oolong from the inner Zhengyan area of the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian made by Master Xu, the maker and one of the guardians of the Da Hong Pao mother trees. This tea is processed from just four trees, all over 100 years old, growing in Shui Lian Dong (Water Curtain Cave) one of the many locations within the Zhengyan area famous for growing tea. The trees are all from the Shui Xian (Water Sprite/Narcissus) cultivar, the oldest and most widespread within Wuyi. From these four trees, Master Xu makes around 15kg of roasted rock oolong tea every year and processes the leaves entirely by hand – from the picking and sorting, through to the kill-green stage and rolling. The roasting is done carefully at a low temperature (around 75 degrees Celsius) over hours, and often re-roasted over the course of many months until Master Xu is satisfied.
This year’s Lao Cong (Old Tree) Shui Xian has had a lighter roast in comparison to Master Xu’s general preference for heavy roasting, with very large, mainly intact leaves. This has resulted in a lighter body, but still has the depth, minerality and old tree taste we usually love about this tea. The dry and wet leaf aroma is immediately evocative of roast coffee, burnt caramel and dates, while the taste is rich and deep with a smooth mouthfeel. As the tea is young the roast taste is still strong, but it already has a lovely, floral sweetness that will become more pronounced if aged in good conditions.
Master Xu, Shui Lian Dong, Wuyishan, China
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Four 100 year old trees. Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Shui Xian cultivar. Medium charcoal roasting. Harvested early Summer 2018.
90-95°C, 6g per 150ml. 5+ infusions.
When we first met Master Xu, he tested us by making lots of different teas to see which ones we preferred. Luckily for us, his and our taste coincided and we have been working together for many years. Walking with him around the historic cliffs where he produces his sublime teas and where he supervised parts of the production of mother tree Da Hong Pao on 3 occasions is like being given a tour of Wembley stadium by David Beckham.
Eagle-eyed viewers may have also caught Master Xu and Lu from Postcard Teas showing Victoria Wood around Wuyi on the recent BBC documentary Nice Cup of Tea, which you can watch here!
Master Xu (1971- )
Master Xu is a graduate of tea studies at Fujian’s University Of Agriculture and Forestry In Fujian. He later worked for The Wuyi Institute of Tea where he specialized in researching and developing new varieties of Wuyi rock teas from historic trees as well as supervising the tea growing and processing in the Unesco protected World Heritage Wuyi Mountain area. He was responsible for taking care of the Da Hong Pao mother trees for over 15 years and he led the team that picked and processed the last ever production from the mother trees. Although he still works for The Wuyi Tea Institute, he also hand produces tea from four families land totaling just eight acres in the heart of the Unesco protected park.