China, Fujian, Wuyishan, Wusandi
Shuixian (60 y.o. trees)
Rock tea (oolong)
The two rock teas we have now, this one and the Wuyishan Blend, represent Master Chen's entry level rock teas. Besides writing and teaching, Master Chen does have her own private shop, and she deals exclusively in oolongs. She is very busy sourcing new tea every time she visits the Chinese mainland.
About Laocong Shuixian she says the age and growing conditions of the trees are evident in the taste. Laocong Shuixian trees abound in the shaded areas of old Wuyishan fields. Proper conditions for Shuixian trees: Misty air, weak sunlight, moss growing on the trees. Woody and lichen tastes appear naturally in the tea. That's the Laocong taste. After letting the tea cool, it will be stronger. The Wusandi (吴三地) area of Wuyishan is known for its Shuixian tea's characteristic Laocong taste. Old trees (Laocong) offer a stronger Shuixian taste and also a unique Laocong taste.
Laocong can mean trees starting at 30 y.o., and 30-50 y.o. trees share a similar Laocong taste. Bainian (百年) Laocong means literally 100 y.o. trees, but the name applies to trees starting about 80 y.o. The laocong taste is more pronounced in those older trees.
This tea is considered Banyan (半岩), meaning the origin is not Wuyi Mountain proper (Zhengyan 正岩), but an area of the mountain outside the official area of designation. Such details of geography are the difference between $1/g and $3.50/g. Without any guarantee at all as to producer, land, and harvest, this tea bears only the test of having been chosen by Master Chen. The conclusion of 60 year old trees is also given only on the word of M Chen's opinion of the taste. A tea like this one, cheaper than most other rock teas, but so pleasurable, is what her reputation relies on. These teas are not just for customers, but for use in teaching her Tea Art students, too.
Wet Leaf Smell: wet grass, bread yeast, green mango
Taste: Soft wood, forest and bread/butter notes early in the sip. Then spices, fruits, and everything turns to sticky honey. The astringency from the woodiness/ rock rhyme/ charcoal roast twang was quite subdued and did not leave any mouth drying, almost like the tea has rested for more than 2 years. A lot of the tastes were familiar from roasted Taiwanese oolongs like Dongding. Medium to strong mouth cooling. A comfortable and calming sensation in the tongue and throat throughout the sip and for long after drinking.
Water temperature: boiling
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