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Lao Cong Shui Xian (Old Bush Narcissus) Rock Oolong

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Brief Introduction to
Lao Cong Shui Xian (Old Bush Narcissus) Rock Oolong


Lao Cong Shui Xian (Old Bush Narcissus, or Old Bush Shui Xian) was produced using tea leaves picked from tea trees of more than 100 years old in Fo Guo Yan, one of the famous Wuyi Zhengyan areas. It is believed that the tea made of the tea leaves from these old bushes have exceptional medicinal qualities, being able to soothe the body and mind, in addition to the ability to detoxify the body system. Lao Cong Shui Xian is loved particularly by the elders for its bold and unique flavor in China. Lao Cong Shui Xian was roasted in a medium strength, which makes the tea incredibly smooth with elegant flowery aroma and a ‘rock flavor’ that continues through many infusions.

Wuyi Shui Xian tea bush is believed to originate in South Wuyi, Jing Yang City (originally called Shui Jie County). The mother bush was found in Zhu Xian cave, pronounced “Shui Xian” by Fujian’s local people. Wuyi Shui Xian is often called Narcissus because of its wonderful floral aroma reminiscent of blooming Narcissus flowers. This bush is not locally from Wuyi Mountain, but was at the end of the Qing Dynasty they began to cultivate the bush in Wuyi Mountain because of its rich flavor and nice aroma. Like Rou Gui, Wuyi Shui Xian bushes are very resilient to temperatures and easy to grow, making it an ideal bush for producing larger quantities of tea. The leaves are also very large compared to other bushes. Shui Xian and Rou Gui are the most predominant bushes that are grown in this region. Shui Xian is also added to many other types of Wuyi tea blends because of the strong flavor and aroma.

You can still find over 100-year-old Shui Xian bushes in Wuyi, although there are not too many left now. You can still find some in the countryside villages. This is the oldest type of tea bush that we can enjoy from Wuyi Mountain. Normally tea farmers like to use younger bushes for quantity, but Lao Cong (Old Bush) allows you to appreciate the quality that comes from aged bushes, now rare in Wuyi. The older bushes create a slippery feeling in your throat similar to a good puer made from ancient bushes. We found the oldest Shui Xian bush in this tea maker’s mother-in-law’s backyard. The bush is 120 years old with a diameter of about 30cm. These bushes don’t have center trunks like tea trees, but instead the branches all grow directly from the ground. Yunnan tea trees have about a foot tall center trunk before the branches start to grow. According to Chinese medicine, when bushes age, the leaves are treated as a high end herbal for daily care, working more thoroughly on the body.

Often times when old bushes are picked, you need two people and a small ladder. These bushes are not trimmed, and if you want the best spring tea, you must pick the leaves at the end of the branches. 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 natural 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 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.

You will be able to note a big difference between this Old Bush Shui Xian and younger Wuyi Shui Xian. There is a sweetness in tea made from aged bushes, as well as a softness that contrasts with the heavy mouthfeel in tea brewed from young bushes. You can infuse the leaves for more than ten minutes and your tea won’t go bitter. The complex, dried date aroma will change inside your mouth, making this a very interesting tea to drink.

make the perfect cup of
Lao Cong Shui Xian (Old Bush Narcissus) Rock Oolong

    • Teaware
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-teapot
    • Gaiwan (Bowl), Porcelain Pot, Yixing Pot
    • Leaves
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-leaf
    • Half of the capacity
    • Water
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-water
    • Filtered (Spring) Water
    • Fire
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-fire
    • 100°C | 212°F
    • Time
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-clock
    • 5-8 SEC for 1st infusion; add 5-8 SEC for subsequent infusions
    • Infusion
    • icon-brewing-guidelines-infusion
    • 6-7 infusions

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