311 Tasting Notes
2008 Song Zhong #5
Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong from TeaHabitat,
A first brewing of a spectacular tea. I was intending to reach for my 60mL Chao Zhou pot, having planned on a small series of infusions, but without really paying attention grabbed a larger pot instead. So there were fewer than anticipated infusions because the tea was really quite dilute. Despite that, it really shone.
Sweet, scent of dried apricots from the long, thin, twisted, quite dark brown leaves
Used 1.5g leaf in 100 mL clay pot—which as you can see is not much for the size of the pot
205 degrees, first infusion 20 seconds—still that apricot scent, floral in the first infusion, and the flavor matches—stone fruit with flowers. Oh my oh my.
2nd infusion, 45 seconds, sweet, floral, fruity, more intense with the longer infusion. A touch of spice—cinnamon, mace—on the back of the tongue, along with the floral.
3rd infusion, 45 second, more of the same—floral, fruity.
5th infusion, 1 minute—spicier coming to the fore, with the fruity/floral notes still rounding out the flavor, felt more at the sides of my mouth and in the sweet aftertaste. I open my mouth, inhale though it, and the sweet floral taste remains. I set a part of this apart in the aroma cup, and when I remembered it a couple of minutes later, it had cooled, but still, wow!, it was brilliant.
6th infusion, probably 2-3 minutes, more floral and fruity, didn’t drink it slow enough to really process the flavors in great detail.
Setting it aside for a while now, before I float away on this pool of tea inside me.
A 7th infusion again needed more patience. Will go away from the next one for a while, but pour water over the pot to try to keep it hot and brewing….
And 8th at about 6 minutes was clearly demonstrating that the leaves were spent. Sigh. They’re still an elegant mix of red edges and green middle.
Can’t wait to do this one again with the Chao Zhou pot and double the leaf.
Link to my web page version with photos
Trying a more formal tasting for the Shui Xian: 2.5 grams tightly curled leaf, 2.5 oz water in a gaiwan.
30 seconds 1st infusion—sweet, silky, earthy, toasty, warm, a bit too dilute, should have let it go longer, because the warm flavor is there, but nothing else yet.
1 minute 2nd infusion—now the grassy, herbaceous flavors are strong, but not bitter, and it tastes utterly different—chameleon tea! (this is why I am quite in love with it)
30 seconds 3rd infusion—what will it be this time? The hay/straw/warm toasty flavor is still noticeable now, but the grassy top notes are strongly present too. Mmm.
1 minutes 4th infusion—again, a nice mix, a little more of the grassy/herbaceous notes above the warm, toasted finish.
1 minute 5th infusion—nothing new to describe, just marvelous.
90 seconds 6th infusion, flavor fading a little, should have been a longer infusion….and can be a longer infusion…..returned tea to the gaiwan for another minute….and….warm toasty hay/straw still dominant, but a bit richer now.
And….checking kettle…there’s no more water left. I think I will call it done for now.
Enjoying a gongfu session with this tea again. I love the mildly smoky start and the sweet finish, and tonight, I just forgot the third or fourth infusion as I was doing something else, returned five minutes later, and it was a little overdone—improved with a bit of dilution—but even before dilution, not bitter. I think this is one whose maturation would be interesting to follow, but I will probably drink it all, bit by bit, long before it is old enough to vote.
Drank some of this for the first time in a while, and it was terrific, rich, spicy, sweet, delightful.
Can’t believe I never wrote this one up. It’s awfully good stuff. I’m not sure my taste buds are up to distinguishing the specialness of the jassid-bite effects, but it is terrific.
For those who are interested, I should point out that more is available, on end of harvest sale, vacuum sealed and still lovely, from Norbu.
First time I’ve brewed this one in a while, and it’s so nice to come back to. So many teas, so little time. It has the fruity delicate flavor I associate with Yunnan greens, and in the first couple of infusions it does indeed do a good oolong impersonation, with hints of caramel and fresh summer hay. It definitely has a bit of a bitter edge if I am careless and let it go too long, especially in the later infusions. I think I’m going to try a bit of it brewed hotter next time, to see what happens when I treat it more ‘oolong-ish’.
As usual when I brew this tea, I don’t have detailed notes on exact quantities of tea, infusion timing, because it is mellow and forgiving, and I don’t have to pay that much attention. I brewed up a thermos full of it and have been enjoying all day. It is not as plummy/fruity as the Lao Cha Tou that I also got from Norbu, but is sweet, subtly earthy, reminding me of the floor of a redwood forest after rain. It’s a tea that easily pleases.