I knew if I started making tea noises in the kitchen, the boyfriend would get up. :D Kitties self-fed today by knocking the food bucket on the floor, so we’ve been allowed to sleep in without having our toes cut to ribbons.
This one I bought solely because of the alternative name ‘honey orchid dan cong’. It’s an attempt to zero in on that lovely oolong from Shang Tea, the one that smells like creme brulee and which, presently, I can’t remember the name of. Jade orchid something or other. Honey orchid sounded rather promising, I thought.
Secondarily, in my mind Dan Cong is indeed a classic oolong. If you ask me spontaneously to think of oolong, there are three that pops into my head immediately. TGY, Dan Cong and Da Hong Pao. Apart from TGY, I’m not too familiar with either of the two others, although I would like to be. I’ve just never explored them. I’ve had them a few times, but I haven’t explored them to the point where I can tell you what they’re like. This was to my own disadvantaged the other day when I was asked about the differences and similarities between a Rou Gui and a Da Hong Pao and was forced to tell the asker I had no clue. Loss of a chance to look smart, there. So yes, the secondary purpose to this particular purchase is also an attempt at an initial step down the road of discovery.
If this is to be a similar alternative to the Orchid Jade Something Something from Shang, then it has already failed on the aroma. It doesn’t smell like creme brulee at all. How disappointing, when one has readied one’s nose for that particular aroma. This does not really bode well for purpose number one, here.
For purpose number two, however, I get to properly familiarise myself with the aroma that it actually has. I feel it’s layered. Very initially when sniffing, it’s very floral. Not the dusty sort of floral that comes with flower scenting, but properly alive still attached to roots in the soil flowers. Along with that there is a distinct sweetness which is not really honey-y, but more sort of nectar-y. Very faintly underneath these notes, there is a woodsy, slightly earthy oolong-y aroma, and if I keep smelling the tea, it builds up and pushes the other two aromas to the background until all I can smell is the woodsy oolong.
Purpose number one, having tasted the tea, is more or less abandoned. Yeah, it’s very sweet and honey-y and all that, but it’s not… It’s just not quite there. It’s not what I was looking for. Purpose number one, we’re still searching. I had small hopes for this one, because the Shang Jade Orchid Something Something was a Fujian and this is from Guandong, which, consulting available literature, is just to the south and southwest of Fujian, so I thought conditions might be sufficiently similar. I think they are, I’m just not looking at the right kind of oolong. I will keep searching.
Purpose number two, familiarising myself, I have to say it tastes exactly like it smells. First there is floral and honey-nectar-y sweetness, and then oolong swoops in and hijacks the flavour. When it cools a bit, that honey-nectar-y business is not to be trifled with however, and it puts up a damn good fight in the background. This makes the entire flavour profile seem very thick textured and creamy, in spite of a small amount of astringency. It’s not quite caramel-y but maybe more sort of a proto-caramel. A caramel stem cell flavour, sort of.
And this brings us back to purpose number one, because hey! Now that it’s cooled a bit and I get all that floral sweetness I just mentioned? We’re suddenly a LOT closer to that Orchid Something Something Jade business, and I don’t think I will rule this out as a more easily acquired replacement after all. It’s not exactly the same, but given a little cooling time, I find it’s suddenly got a lot of the same sort of qualities that I liked in the other one. The Shang oolong has this one beat for awesomeness, certainly, but this one (purpose number two) is also very very good all in its own right.
And that post looks a bit confusing even to me. I hope some sense can be wrestled out of it.