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Top Shelf Pewter-Stored 1995-1996 Shui Jin Gui (16g)

Top Shelf Pewter-Stored 1995-1996 Shui Jin Gui (16g)

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Update: May 2018

The price of this tea just went up 25%, and I have raised prices accordingly! The vendor has very little of this tea left, so if you'd like to try a 90s shui jin gui, I recommend getting on it now. If you make a purchase for more than the vendor has left (he didn't specify how much is left in the warehouse, but he said "very little," I will refund the excess and ship whatever I can get at the time. The vendor feels none of the Wuyicha produced today can compare to this stuff!

This is an excellent shui jin gui from a Hong Kong family which has been in the tea business for around seventy years!

This is the best quality aged shui jin gui I have ever had. The vendor states this tea is from 1995-1996. The tea still has a great deal of complexity to it with just a touch of the aged taste typical of an oolong that had been stored sealed for twenty years. The quality of the base material is outstanding. The flavor of the roast has dissipated. The aroma of the dry leaf is mellow, and the tea has calming cha qi. This is an exceptional aged Wuyicha and very smooth on the swallow, which is a distinguishing factor of a top quality Chinese tea. The best teas are balanced and never flawed in any way, and this tea absolutely fits the bill.

I know I offer a lot of different Wuyicha, but Hong Kong has a substantial Fujianese population, and many non-Fujianese people here are also fond of old school Wuyicha. Wuyicha has long been some of the most popular tea in Hong Kong. I am very fond of the flavor profile of Hong Kong cliff tea. Many of the classic oolongs offered in HK are still produced in the traditional manner, which appeals to older Hongkongers, who grew up drinking this type of tea. There is strong demand for Hong Kong teas in China, as they are perceived to be of better quality, and they sell for a significant premium there. Buying tea in China can be quite the minefield: many Hong Kong tea companies have been around for generations and sell wonderful tea, since they have reputations to uphold. I believe these merchants' longstanding connections with generations of factories, farmers and roasters on the Mainland mean Hong Kong companies continue to get the best of China's tea production, as they have for over a century.

This tea was not as highly roasted as many of my other offerings. This tea was made with exceptional base material and the roast was very well done, as much of the unique character and terroir has been preserved while offering the familiarity and flavor profile of a traditional Wuyi tea, which the older generation of Hongkongers expect. The fact this tea has weathered the years so well and still has such a surprising amount of pleasure to give is a testament to the quality of the material that was once so readily available before China's economic boom.

The dry and wet leaf is lighter in color than the shuixians I offer, due to the slightly lower roast level.

In the first infusion of this tea, I get interesting notes of date, Chinese medicine (ginseng and other roots) and warm black tea. This tea is very smooth on the palate and the swallow, as all good aged oolongs should be. This tea also has very calming cha qi, which is something I always welcome, and expect, especially from premium old tree pu erh and aged oolong teas. 

This tea has good longevity. The flavor is consistent from infusion to infusion. I find five infusions to be the sweet spot with this tea, as the sixth was very mild. The pleasant Chinese medicine and soft date flavor is still clean and clear in the fifth infusion, and there is a sweet aroma in the cup. Interestingly, the calming cha qi persists through each infusion, even in the less flavorful sixth infusion. The cha qi and flavor persistence are strong indicators of quality base material, as are the smoothness of this tea and the complexity of the flavor. This tea is a real pleasure to drink. This tea is also extremely hunger inducing for me, so be prepared!

This is a shui jin gui for those who would like to experience a truly exceptional aged example of this Wuyi oolong.

Brewing suggestion:

I never weigh Wuyicha. I fill my preheated pot (almost always a shuiping) halfway or three-quarters of the way up with dry leaf. I flash rinse with water off the boil, and reserve the rinse for pouring over my pot. If you're using a porcelain pot or gaiwan, or prefer not to pour tea over your Yixing teapots, you can ignore this step.

My first infusion is usually 10-20 seconds long and I use water at full rolling boil. I wait for the tea I pour over the pot to evaporate from the surface of the pot to time my first two infusions. Each subsequent infusion is longer; my third infusion is often around 40 seconds long. With tea of this quality, I try to squeeze out every bit of goodness as this tea is of a much higher quality than the standard Wuyi oolongs I offer, and the tea seems to have better longevity when brewed gongfu style.

Please note: most traditional Hong Kong tea merchants do not offer discounts on volume until I am purchasing several kilograms at a time, and in this case, no discount is available at all, even for ten kilos of a single tea or more. For this reason, I cannot offer a discount on larger purchases at this time.

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