199 Tasting Notes
I finally got round to drinking this alongside Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) tea from Jefferson Tea in Hobart. They are both dark earthy oolongs so I wanted to compare them next to each other. I brewed them both for 4 minutes at 90 degrees (warming the cup first). My cup infusers were full, which weighed 2g on my kitchen scales, if you trust that…
Dan Cong looks darker and smells stronger of those smoky and earthy smells.
There isn’t actually too much in it, although they definitely aren’t the same. Dan Cong immediately tastes stronger and has a lot of earthy flavours. I think Da Hong Pao has a more interesting aftertaste though, a little sweeter, even though both are very savoury teas.
The box of the Dan Cong claims it has whispers of vanilla and honey. I don’t really taste that when it’s hot and on the first brew, but they come through a bit more on the 2nd and 3rd brews.
Both teas will cope with at least 3 brews comfortably. Which is my favourite? I think I’d go for Da Hong Pao if I had to choose, but I’d be happy with either.
This was recommended to me by the staff in T2 as an alternative to a breakfast tea. For a breakfast tea, my preference is to drink it strong, with a little milk, and I tend to drink crushed/small leaf tea to get the strength. Although I like smokey teas, I tend to avoid having them with milk because they aren’t strong enough in my opinion.
This has a slightly larger leaf, but it strikes a good balance and is quite good with milk. It’s a little smokey because of the keemun in it, and I guess the assam gives it the strength to be a breakfast tea.
I wouldn’t have it all the time, but it makes a nice change and I’d say I’m a fan overall.
I’ve tried brewing this with 90°C water for 2,3,4,5 and 6 minutes. I had always brewed it for about 5 minutes in the past, but I wondered whether I could improve on it. I was surprised and impressed to find that I really liked it at 2 minutes. It’s very mild as you would expect, but it’s still a bit smoky and really tasty. I think I would be happy to drink it like that, although I’d be careful about having it with food! My favourite was 4 minutes, with a really nice smoky and earthy flavour. I didn’t experiment so much on the second brew of these leaves, but I found that 4.5 minutes still gives a really nice cuppa. The third brew still has a lot of flavour, but it loses some of the smoky notes, so I’m not as keen personally although it’s still interesting…
One of my favourite flavoured teas is a Black Tea with Peach and Ginger, so I was pleased to try this out. The leaves smell strongly of peach, and this taste carries into the flavour of the tea well. Peaches are incredibly smooth and take out a lot of the bite that you would usually get in a sencha. You can still taste the grassiness, but not as strongly, and it is not at all bitter (as long as it’s not brewed too long). It’s a nice twist on sencha, certainly worth a try if you like new flavours. It doesn’t quite match up to that Black tea with peach and ginger, but it’s perhaps a summery alternative.
I always enjoy sencha and this is no exception. There is a fair bit of dust in it, so I always have a bit of leaf in my cup, which isn’t ideal, but I don’t mind too much.
I’ve been experimenting with brewing time and poured out a sample every thirty seconds. The packet advises 1-3 minutes. I find 1 minute too short, with not enough taste and with the water at my house, I can taste the water through it quite strongly. Three minutes is OK, but a bitter taste is starting to compete with the normal grassy sencha flavour. My preference is 2.5 minutes (2 minutes is OK too).
What a great combination! Raspberries need to be a bit tangy to taste good in my opinion, so the lime does a good job. I think that more tea companies should be putting this flavour combination in their tea.
It’s on a black tea base, which you can taste well, so it’s fairly well balanced.
Out of all the flavours, I find that the lime flavour comes through the strongest, and is on the edge of being too strong. I don’t mind that but I’d be interested to try it with more raspberry and less lime to see what it’s like.
I find that this tastes good any time I’ve made it, but it is possible to over-brew it.
I need to experiment to find the best brewing time and technique, so if and when I do that, I’ll add another tasting note.
As I understand it, this is the base of a lot of flavoured teas. I’ve had Rose Congou a few times, which isn’t my thing, but I do really enjoy lighter black teas.
I enjoy drinking this tea, but not very interesting. I can see why it’s a base tea rather than being drunk on its own too often. I think next time I’ll go for a Nepali tea, Sikkim Temi or a Keemun or something like that, which have more interesting flavours.