15 Tasting Notes
A sencha made from 200-300 year old tea plants? Definitely worth trying. This wasn’t as “different” as I expected, but it was pleasant. Good lasting aftertaste, and it does indeed have a bit more of a minerality to it than a standard sencha, as the lengthy description of the tea on the vendor’s website suggests.
When I first had this, it was brewed for me by Amanda at Song Tea & Ceramics in San Francisco. Since this is a oolong cultivar made in a bai mu dan white tea style, she explained that it could be brewed like a white tea or more like an oolong. For the first infusion she used 180ºF water and a short steeping (maybe 15-20 sec) and from that you get a really nice bai mu dan. Very refreshing, cooling, and mineral tasting. For the second infusion she used hotter water (190ºF) and a longer steep time (30-40 sec maybe) which brings out more floral characters and a thicker mouthfeel. Really fun tea to play with. I’ve brewed it twice at home now and I can say with some confidence that temperature is pretty important with this one. Anything over 190ºF introduces a vegetal flavor that kills the aromatics.
Dry leaves have a sweet cocoa aroma and a large twisted leaf appearance.
The cocoa sweetness, however, doesn’t carry through to the liquor much, which disappointed me. The tea gets an A+ in terms of mouthfeel—super rich and velvety mouthfeel which is a pleasant surprise in a black tea. The liquor is quite savory and umami in flavor with just a teensy hint of that cocoa and sweetness that you get in the dry leaf aroma. The flavor improves as the tea cools a bit. Definitely cool to be drinking a high quality tea grown in the US!
Flavors: Cocoa, Roasted, Umami
Phenomenal floral flavor and aroma. You’d think this was a scented tea at first because of the strong floral aroma (something like jasmine, gardenias, and camellias all mixed together), but you know it isn’t scented because that aroma lasts through multiple steepings. I took this tea through 5 infusions and was still getting the floral notes. Not an everyday tea by any means, but an incredibly fun addition to the tea cabinet. It’s one of those teas that I like to serve to people as a “taste experiment.” It’s a great demonstration of the range of natural aromas you can get out of just Camellia sinensis leaves without any added extracts or flavorings.
This tea review is inspired by Bonnie and her unique style!
I have some big decisions to make soon and my mind has been racing all of yesterday and today. I needed something to clear my head. A hike? Some tea? Why not both! I packed up my Jetboil camp stove, my most durable yixing pot, a cup, a tiny vase, and some Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong from Red Blossom. I found a spot near the bank of the Cache La Poudre river and created a tea space with rocks and logs and a cloth I brought with me. In the vase, I placed the first signs of spring—some willow branches close to bud-burst. The first steeping was intense, probably brewed a little too long, but full of flavor! Sweet plumy flavors and floral aromas were balanced by a slight astringency. Subsequent infusions lead to less complexity, but a more harmonious flavor. The slight astringency was replaced by a smooth and full-bodied mouthfeel and the floral aromas mellowed into a more honey-like taste. At the same time, my mind slowed along with the tea. Disparate and racing thoughts disappeared and were replaced by a calmness. I was finally able to be solidly in the present for the first time in a long while.
Wonderful oolong with lingering flavor. This is an incredibly interesting, and perplexing tea given it’s description. I was expecting something like a traditional roast Dong Ding, but it is in fact a lot more like a Dan Cong in flavor. Wonderful sweet apple and honey fragrance with a hint of something floral in the first steeping. Later steepings give some more astringency and actually are better with a shorter steeping. Oddly, you get more of the roasted notes in later steepings. Because of the roast and the lingering aftertaste, I’d immagine this one would be a good candidate for aging as well.