After being in Flagstaff (Arizona) without my beloved tea and teapots, it was time to do a proper session again. While I was away, I received some samples from Curious Tea in my letterbox. I decided I wanted to try something I have never tasted before: an oolong tea that is loosely compressed into small bricks. Each brick weighs around 10g so I took half a brick and started brewing!
Zhang Ping Shui Xian Floral
As mentioned above, this tea is something rather unusual. It’s an oolong tea from Zhang Ping in Fujian, China, and is compressed into small square bricks. It’s loosely compressed so breaking the brick without damaging the leaves is quite easy. The tea is made from the Shui Xian (or Water Lily) cultivar and was harvested in 2016, which makes this tea around 3 years old. This cultivar is famous for its sweet honey and floral notes. Curious Tea is offering two other versions of this tea but this is the most floral of the three. It has undergone minimal baking to highlight the floral notes and sweetness in this tea.
This is the oolong tea compressed into a square brick.
These are the dry leaves right before going into the teapot. It was easy to break the brick because it was not that tightly pressed. It’s mostly green colors with some brown here and there.
After the session, the leaves still have a green colour. The have opened completely and seem to be massive! If you look closely, you can see some incomplete leaves as well. Apologies for the weird lighting in this picture but I did this session outside and the sun was shining…
- Water 90°C
- 5g of leaves for a 100ml Chaozhou teapot
- 1 rinse
- 6 steeps (15 sec + 5 sec each steep)
Smell dry leaves
The smell of the dry leaves is amazing! Strong floral aroma with some subtle honey notes. In general, it’s a fresh, sweet and floral smell.
Smell wet leaves
The floral notes are a bit less prominent but I’m overwhelmed by sweet honey.
1st steep: lightly floral from the start. Aftertaste is very sweet and I’m also gettin notes of honey during the aftertaste. The flavours are not that intense but it’s really pleasant to drink while being outside in the sun.
2nd steep: I can immediately see the colour of the liquor is a bit darker. The floral notes are almost gone but it’s mainly light and sweet honey. Really pleasant to drink and not too intense. The finish is honey and a light sweetness that goes on deep into the aftertaste.
3rd steep: intense floral flavours. These are not light and make sure your mouth is filled with delicious flavours. This steep also has a certain sweetness to it. You can taste the floral sweetness long after you have swallowed the tea.
4th steep: the floral sweetness is still there but not on the ‘forefront’ anymore. I’m getting the sweetness in the finish and aftertaste but not that much during the steep itself. Still really pleasant to drink.
5th steep: the honey is back at it again. More prominent than during the previous two steeps. You’re not really getting anything at the start but in the middle it’s quite an intense floral flavour. The finish and aftertaste are floral but notes of honey are also very noticeable.
6th steep: even after 6 steeps, the floral sweetness is still present. No more honey now but only a floral sweetness. Nothing really at the start into intense floral and sweet notes in the middle. These notes don’t stay long because there is no real finish or aftertaste.
This is an unusual oolong tea because it is compressed into small cakes. It’s something that I have not experienced before and I am happy that I drank this tea today. The flavours are not that special or that intense but it’s the combination of these flavours with their subtleties that make this an amazing tea. The combination of honey and a floral sweetness definitely works! I drank this tea while being outside in the sun and I have to say that I couldn’t have picked a beter tea for this. Overall, it’s a subtle but pleasant tea with floral notes, notes of honey and a certain sweetness.
Want to buy this tea? Visit Curious Tea’s website.