The processing seems to have treated the leaves well—they look nice and the “roasted” aroma is light and adds nicely to the overall scent. The dry leaf aroma is clean, of dried fruits, and slightly floral. This dan cong reminds me a great deal of Jing’s phoenix dan cong, with higher levels of florals and less pronounced peach notes in the liquor’s flavor. Smelling the wet leaves after the first steep takes me back to my early days of drinking loose leaf teas (Jing’s phoenix dan cong was one of my first). Hints of guava mixed with the regular floral and wood-charcoal aromas. At this point, the leaves are still tightly raveled, but reveal that characteristic green/red/brown coloration dan congs tend to have.

The liquor possesses a nice, light amber/peach liquor coloration, becoming progressively darker into the middle steeps. Always very clear, though. Excellent liquor aroma: sweet, floral, hint of inoffensive charcoal. Body is smooth with faint sparkling characteristics.

When it comes to the flavor, I have noticed that fewer leaves treat the brew better with this tea. When I really load up the gaiwan, I have difficulty finding balance between bitterness and flavor, even with cooler water and extremely short steep times. It was either way too bitter, or there was no bitterness paired with no complexity as well.

Anyway, when the parameters were acceptable, the flavor really shined. The first few steeps were sweet and buttery, with nectar and honey flavors and an aftertaste of peach. Astringency was minimal if steep time was in check, and a nice kuwei, or throaty bitterness, was present in the second and third steep. Yet, as with many dan congs, the infusions of this one become dull, flat, but very sweet, after around the fourth or fifth steep. At any rate, this is certainly one of the better “generic” dan congs.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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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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