Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle)
Rock Wulong Tea 2016
This medium roasted tea has a strong dark chocolate aroma but sweet floral aftertaste and flavor that never goes bitter. Compared to other medium roasted tea, 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.
- Tea Origin
- Fujian Province
- Tea Bush
- Shui Jin Gui
- Tea Master
- Liu Guo Ying
- Harvest Time
- Picking Standard
- zhong kai mian (3 slightly open leaves)
This charcoal roasted tea has a strong dark chocolate aroma but sweet floral aftertaste and flavor that never goes bitter. Compared to other medium roasted tea, 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. 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.
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 not made by machine, so the tea master will 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 over to make the mao cha. The mao cha 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.
The dry tea leaves have a wonderful charcoal aroma, but after you infuse you can find the lightly floral aroma with plum blossom sweetness. This tea’s character’s flavor is soft and sweet on the sides of your mouth with a taste that will never go bitter.
Shui Jin Gui (Golden Water Turtle) 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.