Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle)

Rock Wulong Tea 2020

This medium roasted tea has a strong dark chocolate aroma but a sweet floral finish and a flavor that never goes bitter. Though charcoal roasted by the traditional slow method, Shui Jin Gui does not possess the heaviness of other similar teas, remaining dark yet clean and smooth.

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Tea Origin
Wuyishan City, Fujian Province, China

Tea Bush
Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle)

Tea Master
Liu Guo Ying

Harvest Time
Early May

Picking Standard
Zhong kai mian

About Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle)

This charcoal roasted tea has a strong dark chocolate aroma but sweet floral aftertaste with a flavor that never goes bitter. Compared to other medium roasted wulong teas, which have a heavy concentrated taste, Shui Jin Gui gives you a clean slippery feeling that allows you to appreciate the character of this bush. It is one of the four famous wulongs from Wu Yi Shan.


A story tells of exceptional tea bushes cultivated by monks living high on the slopes of Wuyi Shan. A torrential storm washed a few of these cliff-dwelling bushes down onto another farmer’s land. The bushes carried water and clay down the slopes with the tea bush on top, resembling an algae covered longevity turtle swimming in the water, thus the name “Water Turtle” was given to these bushes.  The monks wanted the bushes back but the farmer refused. The local court decided in favor of the farmer claiming natural forces had favored him. Although there are still three original bushes remaining, no tea is picked from them because of the age of the bushes. All Shui Jin Gui was cultivated from these original bushes. The leaves from this tea bush are long and arrow shaped, thinner than other wulong varietals. Shui Jin Gui is one of four famous rock wulong tea bushes, still using traditional methods of processing.

Picking and Processing

The picking time for this tea begins in early May. The picking standard is “zhong kai mian” which means picking when the last tea leaf opens from the bud and is two thirds the size of the most mature leaves of the new growth. The fresh leaves are carried back to the factory in large bamboo baskets and left to wither in the sunshine for about 2-3 hours. This tea is oxidized by the traditional “shaking” method rather than in a mechanized tumbler. The traditional method requires the tea master to set the leaves on bamboo trays to naturally oxidize.  Every half hour or so, he must shake the tea trays by hand, letting the leaves twist on each other, gently breaking the cells of the surface and edges of the leaves. During this naturally oxidation process, the fresh tea’s aroma will fill up the factory. The tea master will have almost no time to sleep except when the tea pickers are gathering leaves, they must nap instead. They have to carefully stop the oxidation at just the right time, paying close attention to when it is time to stop the oxidation process.

The leaves are sent through a very hot rolling machine (about 210 degrees Celsius) for 7-10 minutes to stop the oxidation. The leaves are sent through a kneading machine which compresses and kneads the leaves into their long twisted shape. The leaves are then sent in to a large oven to make the maocha. The maocha is already dried completely, but still has sprigs and unopened leaves that need to be sorted about before being roasted again. After the tea season is over they will sort out all the broken pieces and sprigs, putting the good, full leaves above charcoal in bamboo drum shaped holders. They are roasted for about 8-12 hours, depending on the weather. The first roasting temperature is usually higher, about 100-110 Celsius. After 8-12 hours, the leaves are left to rest for 20-30 days, depending on the weather. The leaves are roasted again for another 8 hours or so at a temperature around 80-90 Celsius. The temperature is controlled by ashes, spreading a thick or thin layer on top of the charcoal fire. This is to make sure there is not a heavy smell from the charcoal. If the weather is bad, they will roast the tea for a third time after about another month. Then the tea will be completely finished.

Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle) 2020 brewing guidelines

Teaware: 12 oz. glass, porcelain or yi xing clay pot
Amount: 1 ½ Tbs of tea leaves
Water: 212°F (boiling) filtered water
Infusion: First infusion at least 1 minute. The leaves are good for 6 infusions.