China Fujian Zhangping Light Roasted Shui Xian "Premium Floral" Cake Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea Leaves
Almond, Apple, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal
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Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 105 oz / 3109 ml

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From What-Cha

A new higher grade of Zhangping cake we found from Dong Fang Tea Factory, it has an even more pronounced floral taste with a zestier quality to it with notes of oranges and apricots in the lingering finish coupled with a gentle nuttiness.

Zhangping Shui Xian is the only oolong tea which has traditionally been pressed into a cake, a practice which dates back for well over a century.

Each cake is roughly 7.5g in weight and comes in its own individual packet.

Tasting Notes:
- Smooth texture
- Strong floral aroma and taste
- Notes of orange and apricot

Harvest: Spring, May 2017

Origin: Zhangping, Fujian, China
Cultivar: Shui Xian
Roast: Light
Sourced: Direct from a factory which specialises only in lightly roasted Zhangping cakes

Brewing Advice:
- Heat water to roughly 95°C/203°F
- Use half a cake per cup/small teapot or one cake for a large teapot.
- Brew for 60-90 seconds

Packaging: Singe cake vacuum sealed packet

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6 Tasting Notes

1049 tasting notes

It is finally time to get the last of the Zhangping Shui Xian mini cake reviews posted. I had one each of the 2016 and 2017 “Premium Floral” Cakes, consuming them in back-to-back gongfu sessions at the end of last week. I found both to be very good, definitely a few steps above the regular Zhangping Shui Xian “Floral” Cakes offered by What-Cha. Just to be clear, this review will specifically detail my experience with the 2016 cake. I will review the 2017 cake in a separate review at a later date.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, I prepared this tea gongfu style. I plopped the whole cake into my 160 ml celadon gaiwan, rinsed it in 203 F water for about 10 seconds, and then steeped it for 10 seconds to start. This initial infusion was then followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry mini cake emitted aromas of cream, butter, custard, honeysuckle, and gardenia. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of steamed milk, sugarcane, grass, and vanilla. The first infusion brought out subtle orange blossom scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, and grass that were chased by hints of sugarcane, orange blossom, tart cherry, and gardenia. The subsequent infusions brought out mineral, cinnamon, baked bread, mushroom, and almond aromas. Notes of steamed milk, custard, vanilla, and honeysuckle came out in the mouth along with new notes of minerals, coconut, almond, apple, orange zest, pear, mushroom, cattail shoots, and baked bread. The previously mentioned impressions of grass and tart cherry grew a little stronger as well. By the end of the session, I was just able to pick up on lingering mineral, cattail shoot, grass, tart cherry, orange zest, and butter notes that were underscored by fleeting hints of cream, baked bread, pear, apple, vanilla, and sugarcane.

Much like the other Zhangping Shui Xian mini cakes sourced by What-Cha, this was a subtle and delicate tea that often emphasized body and texture over aroma and flavor. Unlike those other teas, this one was more consistent in terms of body and texture, and the aromas and flavors present were a little more prominent and were layered in a more appealing and sophisticated fashion. Honestly, this blew the other Zhangping Shui Xian mini cakes out of the water, but I also doubt that I would have appreciated this one as much had I not taken the time to try the others.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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2 tasting notes

Orchid aroma, tastes buttery, creamy cashew nuts, and coats the insides of cheeks with an asian pear like acidity.

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Pear

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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338 tasting notes

Have to cut them in half or its too much flower for my gaiwan. I mean seriously these things are like little bombs of flower.

Some fruit hidden away somewhere but the soup is like orange coloured with all the thick cashew florals.

Overpoweringly delicate

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1705 tasting notes

I figured out that very quick flash steeps with later escalations Gong Fu in drier fall weather is the best way to drink this tea. I swear that the humidity of the past few months intensified the apricot and grassy notes making it harder to drink, but it was incredibly easy to drink this morning.

I broke the brick into rough thirds, and began with a rinse not longer than 15 seconds and not shorter than 10 using 185 F water. Creamy sweet florals lead on, starting off with a lilac-vanilla rise and going down a butter-scotch honeysuckle end of its wispy body. The second 30 second steep was more intense, painting more florals that I could not identify well amidst its creamy body. The later steeps beginning from brew three at a 35 seconds developed the apricot-citrus note from there on to the rest of the session while maintaining its dry creaminess. I partially see the nut thing that Alistair describes because it goes dry, wet, dry in the body. I also got more mineral throughout, becoming stronger in later steeps.

It finally had the Taiwaneese Gaoshan similarities and uniquely green Shui Xian Character that I love, but I am glad that I did not bulk on the cakes. It is a more nuanced version of the Floral, yet I personally found it more delicate to brew. That might change in the future.

I think that this tea is more approachable for oolong lovers and intermediate or advanced drinkers that are used to brewing Gong Fu. I’ve yet had a successful western session and only one mediocre Grandpa One. New drinkers might have a harder time brewing it, and it might be too close to delicate for some though it compares to heavier Lishans. I also got a charge of qi one night with it, so some may be able to find some qi from this tea especially if their tolerance is lower.

I rate this a 90 though I do not think I’d buy this tea too often despite my usual enjoyment of the variety and this seasons popularity for it. I admit that there are other teas that I prefer to this one, it is one that I think is better to savor and meditate with rather than a daily tea injection. Hence, this tea is ultimately for someone looking to try it in smaller quantities and to expand their horizons.

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