I've been longing for this tea for a few years, but missed it again and again. Finally, got this 2010 autumn tea.
It's wrapped in paper, the traditional way, as it has been since it was invented in 1930s.
Each small tea cake is about 2"x2" and weighs 8g. It leaves the drinker less flexibility and urges one to use 8g in each tea session. This also makes drinking this tea a little expensive, since almost all Zhang Ping Shui Xian products are a little expensive, due to its complicated processing procedure. However, the tea doesn't cause any market hype and therefore is never on the most expensive end of oolong either. The producer said, if you wish, you could break it in half and brew half a cake each time. But I didn't feel like to break such a nice little cake. I used a 150ml small porcelain teapot to brew the whole cake, which turned out a good leaf/volume ratio.
When I first looked at the dry tea leaves, my impressions were 1) it looks quite green; 2) the tea leaves seem a little broken.
After the first infusion (that's after the tea was rinsed and I drank the rinsing water), I could see the tea is in a traditional light roast style, with medium level of oxidation. When the mini cake dissembled in water, the leaves started to look very silky. Many people would prefer to use a gaiwan for this tea. I was just on teapot mood. But anyway, using a porcelain vessel is a good idea. After the first infusion, the aroma under the lid is amazing.
The tea liquor has a well balanced flavor with combination of floral, honey and bright fruity aromas. It's more floral than most traditional light roast style oolong I recently had, but it's not too vegetal.
After about seven infusions, the leaves expanded more and filled the entire teapot.
Afterward, I had a few more infusions. Then I pulled the spent leaves out of the teapot. It surprised me how silky and succulent the leaves felt between my fingers. Some leaves were crushed when the mini cake was made, but there were also many whole leaves.
Traditionally, leaves of southern Fujian oolong were described as "green with red edges". Nowadays, many oolong product with modern processing don't look like this. But Zhang Ping Shui Xian always has green leaves with red edges.
4 weeks ago