92

I used a 100ml gaiwan filled between one third and one half full with dry leaves.

My, my, my. This instantly became a favorite of mine after my first taste. Harboring upwards of 15 high-quality steeps, this tea continues to bring forth surprise after surprise as these large leaves unfurl and release brilliant flavors and aromatics into the cup.

It begins malty, fruity, and quite floral, with tones of peach, orchid, and honey. Body is very smooth, light, and the flavor lingers tenderly on the tip of the tongue and already begins constructing a distinctive and mouthfilling aftertaste.

Into the second steep the body becomes stronger and fuller, with greater peach flavors, and a slight astringency felt on sides of tongue. Resonance is clearly a great attribute in this tea. The liquor’s aroma is strong, flowery, while the wet leaf’s aroma is powerfully pungent, with a very wine-like aroma and undertones of pine, stone-fruits, and citrus.

Then, as the citrus notes begin to climb, the malt flavors subside, making way for new tones of spice and honey. Overall, the flavor becomes much more calm and less robust, yet the complexity remains with tons of subtle nuances. The mouthfeel is smooth and full while the aftertaste remains refreshing and sweet.

At steep four, the liquor’s aroma is very strong and complex, and is one of the more aromatic liquors I have had the pleasure of smelling in a while. The citrus, peach, and honey tones that were tasted seem to have burst out of the liquor itself and fan out through the air. The flavor of this steep has awesome character and rounds together all levels of sweet, bitterness, astringency, floral, and even slight spicy notes in near-perfect harmony.

As more steeps continued to pour out of my gaiwan, the tea I tasted towards the end seemed to be a completely different tea than what I tasted in the beginning. As the leaves opened to their fullest extent, greener flavors started to drift into the liquor and subtle grassy tones were appreciated. In addition, the malt, fruit, and honey flavors so strong at first became subtle and harder to find as nuances of earth, wood, caramel, and roasted nuts come into play, all held together by a body with a more pronounced “tea” flavor and aroma.

The only downside to this tea is that it can become tricky to brew without near-perfect steep times, especially in the first few steeps. The astringency and floral tones can become a little too overpowering. This minor hindrance aside, this dan cong provides a fantastic experience for a reasonable price.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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Bio

I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Teaware
Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.

Location

Fort Myers, Florida

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