Yashixiang "Duck Shit" 2019
Wudong Mountain, Chaozhou, Guangdong
Yashixiang, or “Duck Shit,” is a relatively recent Phoenix Oolong varietal. The mother tree, now 85 years old, is situated in the well-known Pingkangtou Village on Wudong Mountain, at just over 900m elevation.
Legend has it that the name Yashixiang or “Duck Shit” came from Pingkangtou Village. The mother tree was planted in a tea garden where the soil was tinted yellow, dense with clay and minerals that made it resemble the colour of duck shit. The tea trees plant in this soil grew beautiful, dark green tea leaves, and villagers asked the tea farmer for the name of this striking new varietal of oolong. Afraid that his tea plant would be stolen, the tea farmer, with a calm, slightly defeated face, responded, “it's not good tea, it smells like duck shit.”
This tea’s detracting name succeeded in protecting the mother trees, but did not restrict Yashixiang’s reputation as an exceptional and refined Phoenix Oolong. The one that we have to share with you is made with leaves from an old grove of trees, between 60-70 years old. It is crafted by tea master Ma Xiaohou, who has been working with the Yashixiang varietal since the 1990’s. The tea was gently slow roasted over charcoal for over 20 hours, adding great depth and texture to this already complex varietal. It takes great skill and practice, as there is a fine point to which this tea has to be bruised and roasted to express its full character without overpowering the nuances that increase its complexity. Ma Xiaohou has achieved that, leaving us with a truly exceptional Yashixiang Phoenix Oolong.
To fully experience this tea, we highly recommend using a high quality porcelain gaiwan for brewing. After each infusion, be sure to smell the inside of the lid of your gaiwan by breathing short and quick puffs of air in and out of your nose very close to the lid. Repeating this after each infusion, you will see that aroma changes dramatically with each puff of air in and out of your nose. The scent of Duck Shit takes us to many, very beautiful places.
Its slightly oily liquor is smooth and clear, coating the mouth and drawing saliva from under the tongue right away. The tea is not high-fragrance, rather, the character is found more in the body of the tea. A fine matrix of tannins creates delicate resistance in the mouth; it enmeshes the aromatics and carries them down our throats, rather than letting them evaporate into our nasal passages, filling our heads. We find compelling notes of camphor, incense, lychee, and pungent flowers in this tea, however as a whole, it is so well balanced that it gives the sensation of tasting like a bit of everything, and so, perhaps it can only be said to taste like “Duck Shit.”
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The key to brewing this tea is to use boiling water, and very fast infusions, starting at 10 seconds.
|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10