Today I am reviewing a Zhangpin Shui Xian tea from DiginTea which they call their ‘Local Show Guest Star’ oolong tea brick.
I love tea. Not just drinking it, but I enjoy it’s history, culture, and community as well. I hadn’t heard of DiginTea before, but I saw them advertising on Reddit so I decided to reach out to them to see if they would like to be reviewed on this website. The owner introduced himself and offered me a great discount, so I decided to take him up on the offer.
Tea: Local Show Guest Star
Location: Zhangpin, Fujian, China
Tea Varietal: Shui Xian
The Zhangping version of Shui Xian tea is typically processed in a green oolong style and compressed into little square bricks weighing about 10 grams each. However, these bricks from DiginTea are about 9 grams each.
The natives in Zhangping believe that the famous Taiwanese Baozhong tea is an evolution from Zhangping Shui Xian, as it allegedly shares some processing techniques.
The term ‘Shui Xian’ is most often translated as ‘water immortal’, ‘water sprite’, or ‘water fairy’, but can also be translated to ‘narcissus, referring to the flower of the same name.
It’s worth noting that there are many other variants of ‘Shui Xian’ (water fairy) such as Dancong from Guangdong, and those grown in Taiwan.
For those of you interested in mythology, ‘Narcissus’ (a translation of Shui Xian) was also the name of a hunter in Greek mythology who was so in love with himself, that he became mesmerized upon seeing a reflection of himself in a pool of water. As the legend goes, he ended up staring at his reflection in the pool of water, unable to break away until his inevitable passing. This is where the term ‘narcissism’ came from. Of course, this has nothing to do with the tea, but I thought some of you might find this interesting.
For this review, I brewed 6 grams of this tea in a small glass pitcher using distilled water, strained through stainless steel mesh.
I soaked the tea for 20 seconds in hot water and discarded the wash.
Brewed for 30 seconds.
The brew is a light yellow-gold color.
The tea has a nice floral fragrance.
There are notes of green vegetation, honeysuckle, custard, pear, and cashew, with a mild astringency.
It’s sweet enough on it’s own that you will probably find that honey or sugar is not needed.
Brewed for 40 seconds.
The flavor is stronger on the second steep, as the compressed brick has decompressed.
Mouth-feel is a little light, but that’s common with this style of tea.
The taste lingers on the palette for a while, but not incredibly long.
Taking a look at the leaves after they unfurled in my gaiwan, this is a very green oolong tea with minimal oxidation.
The large Shui Xian leaves have uneven oxidation patterns which appear in the form of a mottled red color, which is typical for this style.
The leaf quality seems decent, as it is comprised mostly of full leaves with attached stem and minimal damage.
Brewed for a minute.
The color of the brew is actually darker now then it was on the second steep, producing a dark golden color.
A slight bit of bitterness has appeared alongside notes of minerality.
The other flavor notes remain about the same.
Brewed for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Green vegetation and minerality are prominent, but a light pepper note has developed as well.
This tea almost reminds me of a modern green-styled Tie Guan Yin, although it’s definitely a little different.
If you’re a fan of jade (green) oolongs, then I’m sure you would enjoy this.
I have some other teas from DiginTea which I still have to sample and review, so if you’re interested, you can check back and read those reviews at a later date.