Lo-Shan Hong ShuiFloating Leaves Tea
This is a GABA Hongshui grown in Shi-Ding, Taiwan and charcoal roasted by our teacher Mr Zhan. This is the third harvest of Hongshui that we’ve had from this farmer, and it shows off his exceptional skill.
The farmer who made this tea is an oolong artist. When we asked Mr Zhan how he sees this compared to the Lala Shan, he said the beauty of the Lala Shan comes from the land it was grown on, and the beauty of the Lo Shan comes from the person behind the tea.
When we purchased this batch of Hong Shui from our charcoal roasting teacher, we bought it blind. Of course we trust our teacher to send us something good, so we didn't ask if it was from Lala Shan or Shi Ding. So the first time tasting it, all we knew was we were tasting a GABA Hong Shui roasted by our teacher. After tasting a couple of infusions, the feeling was so expansive, soft and warming I thought it was Lala Shan tea for sure. But with more careful tasting sessions I started to change my mind because of the detailed structure and dramatic changes of the broth over the course of infusions.
The wet leaves have a caramel like sweet scent with a balance of dark herbal sweetness and a touch of charcoal roast supporting from the background. The first infusion brews up dark copper-red right away, and the texture in the mouth is ethereal like a cloud. Although it's so soft in texture, the structure reaches to the back of the throat with vigor and warmth runs down the back.
With the second infusion the broth starts to feel more 'brothy', rich and full in the mouth. No longer ethereal, it feels more assertive in texture, and the full body feeling opens up. It reaches the belly easily and brings a deep warmth there as well. There's a savory flavor interacting with the sweetness which shows up in the second infusion and carries through to the end.
I'm not really big on 'play-by-play' descriptions, because a tea session isn't exactly repeatable, so I'm not going to go on with the third, fourth, fifth and so on. I do want to emphasize the sense of changes that occur with this tea, which makes it feel so different from the Lala Shan Hong Shui, even though notes are fairly similar. Drinking in a bowl instead of a gongfu pot, the same kind of evolution does occur, too. It's like watching a drama unfold.
I characterize this tea by its soft power, its warmth and the dramatic sense of changes that run through the infusions. I feel like our teacher recommended this tea with the seasons in mind. It's an excellent tea, especially good for gently warming the body in the cooler months! And at the same time, it's like a guided meditation.
- Harvest Location : Shi-Ding, Xinbei, Taiwan
- Roast Date : October 2020
- Altitude : 700 Meters