What’s the deal with Chou Shi 抽湿 tea?

Chou Shi 抽湿 is a relatively new processing for Phoenix oolong. The first time I encountered it was at Rong’s farm (the same farm that produces all our Phoenix teas). We were talking about Anxi style tieguanyin, and how it’s an entry tea for many teaphiles in the US. Rong’s eyes suddenly lit up and he rose, disappeared, and came back with a freezer bag.

“You gotta try this chou shi cha!”

It’s almost as if some Fenghuang farmers are not satisfied with the insane fragrance from various varieties, and decided to experiment to extract even more vegetal and floral notes. That’s what this aromatic greeness is. 

Chou Shi literally means “to dehydrate”. After the fresh tea leaves are picked, they go through the steps a traditional Dan Cong would, the leaves are fried to initiate “kill green” (sha qing, 杀青), and rolled, before using a dehydrator. The tea isn’t roasted, and the finished product goes straight to the fridge in order to preserve freshness. 

Here’s how dry leaves of traditional Ya Shi compare with dry leaves of Chou Shi Ya Shi dry.

This minimal processing prevents overheating the leaves. The roasty notes are completely gone from your typical Dan Cong. Aside from a lightly oxidized Anxi tieguanyin, our Chou Shi Ya Shi reminds me of a Taiwanese Wen Shan Bao Zhong 文山包种. 

The aroma of the tea liquor is pleasantly green. Creamy and light mineral, it tastes slightly dry and floral on your tongue. 

To experiment further, we pressed these Chou Shi Ya Shi into little coins. I have these in limited quantity and I’ve been sharing it with friends and surprising customers when I ship out your orders. The best thing about these tea coins is how convenient they have been when we go camping or go on a hike. 

We also have been experimenting with pressing our Dan Cong Hong Cha (Red Phoenix) into coins. If you are curious, let me know and I will make sure you get a taste when you order from the website! 

Dan Cong Oolong teaphiles have been raving about these. I am really enjoying the feedback and comparison they have made comparing them to loose leaf and in the case of Chou Shi Ya shi, traditional Ya Shi oolong leaves. 

Until next time. Happy brewing!

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