Experience buying from DeRen Tea http://steepster.com/places/2836-deren-tea-online-portola-california?visit=1354
Age of leaf: Advertised as early autumn 2011. Received samples late September. Brewed up a little over a week after I received it in mail.
Packaging: Samples: silver translucent bags with simple label.
Dry leaf: Smelled like a standard oolong, but with a powerful floral fragrance. Very long, thin, wiry looking leaves; dark, uneven coloring, with some green showing through.
Brewing guidelines: I decided to break with my traditional brewing techniques prompted by the brewing instructions for Dancongs on DeRen’s website. I also decided not to ‘wash’ it
………1st : 190, 30”
………2nd: 185, 45”
………3rd: 190, 60”
………4th : 195, 75”
………5th : 185, 90”
………6th : Boiling, 2’
Aroma: very floral.
Color of liquor: light copper.
Wet leaf: very floral aroma; light green color, tinged with brown on many of the edges. Whole, big, beautiful leaves!
Flavor: Ranged from very floral to a well-balanced and nuanced oolong flavor.
Value: Sample was provided by DeRen Tea (Thank you Aaron!). This particular tea on their website is more than I am willing to pay for any oolong, but I am guessing it is still competitively priced for a Semi-Wild Yulan Dancong, as the rest of their tea is.
Overall: This tea has changed the way I view oolongs. I consider myself fairly new to this class of semi-oxidized teas. After having had a number of flower-scented teas (green, black, and oolong), I am discovering that I don’t particularly like them; to me, the scent—-and especially the flavor—-does not ‘belong’ in tea. And so on the first steeping of this tea, I was a little put off by the overpowering floral taste and aroma. But I liked the second steeping more, as it was less floral. Then the third, ah, the third. This is what changed my relationship with oolongs. The floral flavor was there, but I guess more as a supporting cast member, because it was also sweeter, and the overall flavor was like something I have never tasted before. That third cup was probably the best cup of oolong tea I have ever had. I think some underlying perception about oolongs has lain dormant inside my consciousness for awhile, and has finally surfaced. Don’t judge a tea by it’s first, or even its second infusion: wait at least until your tried the third! But wait, my guess is there are other oolongs, and Pu-erhs, that get better even later! Wow! I really enjoyed watching the leaves slowly change after each steeping, such that they were finally fully unfurled on the forth. The later steepings were not as flavorful, but surprisingly, the sixth had more flavor than the fifth! What an adventure in steeping and tasting. In summary, this tea is amazing.