Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle Oolong) is one of the Wu Yi Shan’s most esteemed four famous yan cha. It is one of the dozens of unique yan cha that are made from a namesake tea bush varietal found growing throughout the Wu Yi Shan. It is generally one of the rarest and most costly of the yan cha.
While many are familiar with Da Hong Pao (perhaps the most famous yan cha) other yan cha are also made from ‘named‘ tea bush varietals that have similar but different characteristics, such as Shui Xian and Tie Lo Han.
Many of these unique varietal oolongs are not very well-known outside of their ‘home’ region of eastern China, but the opportunity to offer a selection of these unique teas to our tea enthusiast customers is very appealing to us. When we have visited the Wuyi Shan on our tea-sourcing trips there, the region has appealed to us not only for its striking and unique geology and vegetation, but also for the warmth of the people who occupy this storied and strangely isolated tea-growing region of China. No wonder that poets, naturalists and painters have migrated toward places such as the Wuyi Shan, the Huang Shan, and the Shangri-la locations with their unique landscapes, deep history, and mystery. This terroir seems to add to the unique range of flavors that exhibits in the teas from these hallowed areas
Shui Jin Gui is majestic and commanding – its initial mild astringency gives way to a deep, mineral flavor that can only come from the rocky, mineral-rich soil composition of the Wu Yi Shan. The flavor of Shui Jin Gui changes over the course of multiple steepings, and at times is reminiscent of caramelized squash, spicy carnations, and chocolate.
The traditional, heavy roasting it receives becomes integral to the distinctive flavor of this tea, adding the warm flavor of a low temperature, slow-burning, wood ash ember fire to the inherent flavor of the fresh leaf. This most traditional and characteristic firing gives Shui Jin Gui a long, satisfying finish, and helps to keep the flavor deep inside the leaf until it is coaxed out by careful steeping.
This is a noble tea from a venerable terroir, and we are proud to feature it in our fine oolong selection.
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