Shui Xian oolong tea is originally from the Wuyi Mountains in China's Fujian Province. Although the top grades of Shui Xian are still produced in Wuyi Mountain, inferior grades of Shui Xian oolong tea are produced in other areas of Fujian Province. These lesser grades are the type of oolong tea that is often served in Chinese restaurants. Lesser grade Shiu Xian is characterized by a burnt flavor, but the first grades have a sweet honey taste.
Shui Xian can be translated as water sprite or water fairy. Other names for this oolong tea include shui hsien, narcissus, and water immortal.
First grade Shui Xian oolong tea is hand processed and allowed to oxidize to about 40% to 60%. The tea is fired more than other oolongs, and the result is a relatively dark oolong with a full body.
Most Shiu Xian oolong is sold fresh, but it can also be aged for up to several decades. Aged oolong tea must be re-fired every 2 or 3 years to remove excess moisture and prevent the tea from spoiling.
Lao Cong Shui Xian
Some Shui Xian oolong tea is made from old tea bushes up to 200 years of age. This type of Shiu Xian is darker and has a different taste from young-bush shui xian teas. It is produced according to traditional methods, and the tea leaves are much bigger than other types of oolong tea.
Mount Wuyi is the home of many famous oolong teas including Da Hong Pao and Lapsang souchong. It is a United Nations World Heritage Site because of its outstanding biodiversity.
It has ideal conditions for growing oolong tea. The Wuyi Mountain range acts as a natural barrier against cold northern winds while also retaining the warm moist air from the south. Shiu Xian tea is grown at an altitude of about 800 meters in a fog enshrouded environment that received plenty of rainfall.