I must admit that I chose this morning’s tea just for the name alone – Water Fairy Oolong, also known as Shui Xian. Grown in the Fujian province of China, the huge, dark chocolate brown leaves are hand-rolled to resemble a frog’s leg.
Of course, there’s a story about how this tea got its ethereal name. I love tea stories so gather round, my friends, teacups in hand…
About 900 years ago, a Song dynasty emperor was traveling with his entourage to southern China to inspect a tea garden. It was a hot summer’s day and everyone soon became very thirsty. They searched high and low for water but could find none. One of the scouts spotted a bush with bright green leaves and his extreme thirst led him to place one of the brightly colored leaves in his mouth. The leaf was very juicy and he found that it quenched his thirst as he chewed it. Soon, everyone was chewing the leaves of this magical plant. Of course, it was the tea plant that produced Shui Xian tea. So, the emperor named the tea “Water Fairy” for its magical thirst quenching powers.
The leaves do look thirst quenching, don’t they?
I steeped them for 4 minutes in 190 degree F water. Even though the leaves look very dark, they are still not oxidized as much as a black tea is so it’s best to use a water temp below boiling point.
This tea is well known for its “narcissus” fragrance. The light amber liquor is silky smooth on my tongue with a lingering honey sweetness felt in the back of my mouth for a long time after sipping. Notes of chestnut and delicate peach round out the flavor.
Today is a day to relax at home and work on some art projects – making a polymer button for my finished Winter Woods vest and starting my winter palette free-form bracelet.
What tea are you enjoying today?
Whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stones – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with the firmament for its roof – and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track. ~John Muir