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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m pretty new to white tea in general, so I don’t really know exactly what to look for. That being said, I really enjoyed trying this one. It had a very mild sweetness to it that was pretty nice, matched by a bit of astringency as well.
I have spoken directly (through e-mail) with the tea buyer for Intelligentsia about this tea, and his reasons for purchasing this particular crop are rather interesting. He is not a fan of the Anxi-style TGY’s, with their prominent floral notes, nor is he a fan of Taiwan’s increasing adherence to the Anxi standard. Luckily, he found a TGY in Taiwan that was processed in a more traditional way: a bit heavier oxidation, and more time roasting over the fire.
That said, this particular TGY is not typical of others of the sort. The roasty flavors really come through, and it is also very prominent in the aroma of the dry leaves. The first steepings yielded purely the flavor of the roast: hints of baked nuts, dark chocolate, and french fries. By the third steeping, the floral notes of the leaves started to come through. I found the third and fourth steepings to be by far the best. I got a total of eight steepings out of this tea, and it probably could have gone farther, if only I wasn’t all tea’d out. In the subsequent steepings the roasty flavors died out, and the floral and fruity notes became more and more prominent. I have found this to be typical of most good oolongs, even of the Dan Cong and Wuyi Shan varieties.
The look of the steeped leaves were nice and whole, almost no broken leaves in the pot. Truly the feat of a masterful tea maker!
Overall, I very much enjoy this tea. I may disagree with the Intelligentsia tea buyer (I prefer the high floral notes of Anxi oolongs), but I can still see the high quality behind this tea from pluck to cup, and I can at least appreciate that.
I feel a cold coming on, and I remembered about this tea sitting at the back of my cupboard, and thought I’d brew some up. Sadly it failed to impress me. I felt the chamomile was too overpowering and didn’t let the other flavours come through. I possibly oversteeped it a bit. It was okay overall, nothing too great or horrible, but I have other teas that I far prefer for the sick blahs.
This is the best Dan Cong I’ve ever tasted. The smell and taste of Magnolia is simply beyond words. It has a delicate sweetness with the Magnolia, and it has a strong vegetal aftertaste I love in great oolongs.
While it is a bit pricey ($13 for 1.5 oz.), if you are looking for a good Dan Cong this is it. I was able to yield 5-6 good infusions before it started to really die down. I drank it out of a 6 oz. glass teapot from Intelligentsia, with about 1/3-1/2 of the teapot full of this tea.
If you are unsure whether you want to drop the money or not, what’s cool is if you have a coffee shop that serves Intelligentsia teas they’ll probably have this stuff. That’s how I first tried it.
I usually avoid the much-acclaimed Metropolis coffee house here in Chicago because of its college study-hall vibe and corresponding attitude, but it’s chilly here today (these Chicago springs…) and I needed a cuppa on my way downtown to, er, another tea shop. Their Japanese sencha from Intelligentsia is just light enough, just strong enough, and plenty green to remind me it’s actually spring, as the cold lake wind slices right through me.