Zhang Ping Shui Xian (漳平水仙, Zhāng Píng Shuǐ Xiān, "Water Immortal from Zhang Ping") - Zhang PIng is a small town located just outside of Anxi county. There, they have been making a very distinctive and traditional style of oolong for generations using a cosmopolitan and ancestral varietal called Shuǐ Xiān, which means "Water Immortal" or "Narcissus." The leaves are wrapped in paper and pressed gently into a wooden mold that resembles a mortar and pestle. The leaves are left to finish drying in the mold, oxidizing slowly and unevenly through the paper. The end result is a rounded, 10g pillow of leaves that were traditionally sold still wrapped in their paper envelope. These bundles are not only excellent for easy transport and trade, but the unique pressing process results in a complex fragrance owing to the irregular oxidation patterns which can be seen on the mottled red-and-green leaves: the red parts are oxidized, the green are unoxidized. The resulting tea takes a long time to open up and yields 15-20 steepings with a mild mouthfeel and sophisticated floral fragrance with notes of magnolia and lilac. This large dose of leaves can be steeped all at once or broken into two 5g portions. Fun facts: They have a festival in Zhang Ping every year where the community comes together to make and press these tea pillows, and natives of Zhang Ping claim that the low-oxidation Taiwanese Baozhong tea is descended from Zhāng Píng Shuǐ Xiān, at least in technique. As with most tea history, it's mostly up to lore at this point, but it is of note that Bāo Zhǒng 包種 means "the wrapped kind" which correlates with this narrative.
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This was my first time drinking this tea. I've had a pretty good variety of oolong across the oxidation spectrum. This was a very great experience because it had a perfect blend of low and high oxidation flavors. Floral yet spicy. Felt like a combo of Winter Duck Shit with a splash of Haunted plum, but just a small dash. I purchased 100g more because of how much I liked it. Makes a good gift or Intro to tea.