1043 Tasting Notes

Free Dancong from Liquid Proust.

It’s definitely aged, but it has aged nicely. It’s got a shlew of minerals, stonefruit, and slight woodsiness. Good Western or gong fu. It does have a bit of a fadedness to it, but the again, the fruit combined with the crystaline mineral notes amidst a clearly fired background is great. Running out of this tea, however, is not so great. Thank you, Andrew!

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I should have reviewed this when the picture was still up. Dang.

Anyway, this tea was a treat. I’m happy that Andrew did not hoard it, but sold it for a little while online. Like him, I initially expected a medium to dark dong ding, but after I read his own notes on it, I knew it would be a little more floral than usual. He also wrote that it would pair well with desserts.

I’ve leaned more toward western so far going by a minute for steep one, and had some great notes in each resteep. It is fairly sweet, but definitely floral and savory. The savory notes are squash like, maybe close to sweet potato, but there just enough sweetness that reminds me of a sugar cookie amidst some subtle roast notes and buttery ones. I’m having a hard time pinning down the florals right now. Chocolate orchid, maybe? I don’t know, I’m at a loss right now. The overall smell is also like finely cooked vegetables, specifically squash right now.

The later steeps do have fluxes. I swear I get a little bit of violet and hyacinth in the florals, though the hyacinth is subtle. Cashew and graham cracker slowly creep in and rises at steep three and four. I’m just using flowery adjectives, so what do I know?

I’m quite impressed with this one. Despite some contrasts in the notes, they combine together in a balanced whole. The tea is very easy to drink, and it might be good for intermediate drinkers, probably good for slightly more experienced drinkers, but not daunting for any new drinker to try. I think a newer drinker might be board if they are looking for bursts of flavor, but might learn the virtue of layers and nuance.

It deserves a hard 90 right now. I might increase it as time goes on because this tea is fairly reliable. I have yet to gong fu it properly, but I think it might be well suited to grandpa style anyway.

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I’m really into this one. I knew it would be a sheng that I’d like because I basically rely on Andrew’s preferences for pu-erh, but I am surprised this is a good taster. Most of the tasting notes are a bit more akin to oolong and white, but this is definite sheng all the way through.

I started off with a very light ten second rinse, and the smell was very fruity and floral. I got apricot, marshmellow, peach, grass, and a little bit of sheng astringency amidst a soft, cotton texture. “Viscous” is also a good adjective.

Moving onto the second steep, more florals pop up, namely orchid and, perhaps, honeysuckle. More cotton notes showed themselves, and more stone fruit ones followed.

Steps three through four so far have gotten more astringency and a very pleasant bitterness. I would not say it’s sour, but it is a little bit like a longer steeped Shan Lin Xi. Think green/white grapes. The grape notes were particularly noticeable in the recent steep, and the earlier rinse now that I think about it. I can even feel a little bit of dryness on my teeth and the roof of my mouth. The texture contrasts nicely with the fruitier tones.

I am enjoying this one greatly. I have yet to feel any effects yet since I am not power brewing it in my basic 4.5 grams to 6 oz ratio, but I am enjoying it for the sheer texture and taste. I’m curious to see what someone else’s opinion of this one is. I’m probably going to up the rating as time goes on.

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Thank you for the sample! I should have bought more than a sample!

I missed darker dancongs, and since I was trying this company out, I asked for a sample of one of my favorite types of tea. This one is especially fruity, and extremely good.

I was going to gong fu it, but it turned into a western session at an accidental three and half minutes. That was not a problem because it was insanely good. White peach is a good name for this tea, as it smelled and tasted like something made in an orchard. Immensely peachy, sweet, soft, oddly fuzzy, and then complex. Some floral notes of peach blossom sprang up in the smell, and in mid sip ending in wood and honey. Minerals rose as the tea cooled down, and came up again in the later steeps. It just kept on giving, and it was such a nice return during this cold weather.

I am also holding off on rating this one, but it is very, very good. My only complaint would be price at $27.59 for 2 oz, but I will say it does compare to the higher end Dan Congs I’ve had. I only wish I knew the varietal.

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When I saw the picture of this tea, I thought finally! A Dancong style American oolong! I was wrong as it is more Taiwaneese, but still, it is the kind of oolong I like.

I brewed it an easy western, starting off at around 50 seconds. The description of this one was apt; it looked like a dark Baozhong, and tasted very close to a Baozhong and a Four Seasons of spring. It had a savory squash note too, but it was very green and IMMENSELY floral. I got orchid, lilac, gardenia, watercress, and more green and mineral based qualities. It did make me think of a swamp interestingly enough. Perhaps that was psychological, but there it was.

You could probably pass this as a Taiwaneese oolong to someone just getting into teas, but the bizarre mineral, green quality was what set it a part. It was almost earthy and sour like a sheng, although the tea overall was not too astringent or bitter. It was very pleasant, and I do think it can compete with standard Taiwaneese teas. I am also glad I got this before it sold out, because it is that good. I’m holding off on a rating just in case I give it a high novelty rating, but I will say it’s good and I hope there is some way to encourage more American grown teas in this style. It’s a shame that the demand for this kind of tea is so niche, though.

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Tea grown in the mainland of the U.S.A. was a bit of a quest item for my tea journey. Most American teas tend to be herbal or traditional takes on green teas and English Breakfasts, so it was awesome to find an oolong that was not in those fashions, and not from Hawaii as they can be very expensive. This was grown in Mississipi, and I will say that I’ve had very few teas that taste quite like this one.

This was on the darker end of the oolong spectrum, but the apricot and honey notes and lighter body denoted oolong. Himalayan or Indian oolongs might be the best varietal to compare this to despite the difference in elevation, but there were some aspects that reminded me of an Oriental Beauty or Darjeeling black. The smell is very sweet and honeyed with a little bit of a savory end, and some dryness like an autumn leaf pile. THe same could be said brewing it up.

This tea was incredibly flexible, responding well to short and longer steeps. I’ve done it western at four minutes, and not a single brush of bitterness or astringency sprang up. Honeysuckle began the sip, smoothing out into apricot, butter, and a sweet honey finish. I swear there were some cocoa hints, but those could just be in my imagination. I’ll have to write about this tea again to see if I do find any. Shorter steeps at 45 seconds emphasized honeysuckle more, and a slightly lighter sweetness. The rest of the brews both short and long were much the same in terms of notes.

I was surprised by how savory this one could get, making me think of squash and butter on occasion. The mouthfeel was just as thick and enjoyable. ’m also impressed with the longevity-I got 5 rebrews western and 7 in my shorter steep version. It does lighten up, but it was giving a lot.

I do not have too much to add about this tea right now, but I’m very impressed with how smooth it is. I am very glad I at least have an ounce to savor.

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Backlog, and to be continued log. I cannot thank Alistair enough for including this generous sample. The leaves are beautiful to look at, having an almost purple hue amidst is white tips, darker brown and black highlights. The dryleaf smell is also very interesting, giving off an especially earthy smell like clay. There was a bit of a plum hint, and it had the weird fruity smell that plato does.

In my appartus it went, and I alternated between longer and shorter steeps a bit more akin to western brewing. I went light the first time at 45 seconds, and the tea tasted like, well, tea. Surprisingly malty with a hint of tannin, but something else developed. The blackberry sneaked into the middle aroma and taste of the actual tea, and ended with a plum aftertaste-not too sweet, not too dry, not too bitter. The overall texture was smooth.

My consecutive brews were longer, going to a minute and 30 sec, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, then shorter at 2 minutes, 1 minute, and 4 minutes. I know, weird. The malt was prominent in the second steep with only fruity hints and a bit of tannin backbone that was almost woody, but not nearly as woodsy as its Taiwanese predecessor or its Darjeeling cousin. I almost was hoping for something like dry leaves, but fortunately, the texture was always smooth.

As I got into steep four and five, the black berry note become much more prevalent with a plum finish and a bit of mineral emerging texture. The minerals and blackberry was the strongest in the last steep, being the lightest drink overall with the lightest color, but having the sweetest finish out of all the session.

I am not going to rate it quite yet since I need to do it properly western, and gong fu. I played with it too much, and I want to get less malt. Otherwise, I do recommend people trying it. Oriental Beauties are strong hit or misses for me anyway because of their fruity notes and inherent dryness, but this one was not too dry and a little darker in fruit which is fairly impressive. It reminded me of the notes I got with the Shan Cha, which is one of my favorite blacks so far.

If you like blackberry flavors, this one is not a bad match, and I also HIGHLY recommend trying the Taiwanese Shan Cha Black Tea.

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Backlog. I’ve still been experimenting with this one, and I admit that I’m a bit challenged. Only a few Dancongs have been this finicky. The tea does have some tropical fruit and citrus notes amidst a floral barrage and flecks of woodiness, but it becomes very sharp and florally bitter a little too easy…if that makes any sense. The aroma is strong and milky, and the mouthfeel is definitely oily, but the flavor balance has been a little overwhelming. I usually love lighter dan congs, but this one was almost too floral without a decent balance of fruit in the other notes. One of my favorite dancongs is on the floral greener spectrum right now, but I have yet to figure out this one without making it too bitter or too light with short steeps. I’ll get this one to budge eventually, as typical as it is for this varietal to be so particular.

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I’m enjoying this slowly. Rough, incoherent day amidst twenty degree weather. Hyperglycemia clouded my head to the point of me running into my bosses office’s wall and turning of the lights for 5 seconds.

Now, onto something positive, I cannot thank Alistair enough for this opportunity. Opening up the cake, it was a thin one made out of wire tendrils of black leaves tipped with an amber hue giving off some scents of bakers chocolate. I dropped the subtle, yet aromatic cake into the vessel. The seal of the cake opened just a little bit, revealing the delicate and precise holds of each leaf.

Steep one was nice after about 15-20 seconds. Cocoa in the aroma, and something not too far off from gotu kola in terms of nuttiness, albeit faint nutiness. Tasting it, more cocoa, rose hints, and an oily but sweet finish.

Second steep at 30 seconds was much the same, more rose and a little bit of honey accompanying some mild savoriness, like the butter in chocolate chip cookies. It got a little sweeter as it cooled.

Third had more intense cocoa in smell, and a bit of something tannic peaking through the background like you would in coffee or darker wine. Initial sip after about 50 seconds lead to more of a honey taste, or mildly fruity and salty. Think chocolate covered raisins, though not nearly as think or pronounced. Nice drying finish despite the tea not being astringent or bitter. Smooth, and almost silky, but not quite there yet.

Fourth steep after definitely over a minute (probably a min and 45 sec), more honey sweetness. More cocoa. Malty aftertaste. I keep thinking cherry, but it’s not that strong.

I might write more about this one, but know that I enjoy it and recommend it for lighter black lovers. It’s a comfort tea for sure.

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First Off, Current Targets:
Taiwan Sourcing Luxurious Jade Sampler (FRICKIN’ PRICEY)
Taiwan Sourcing Longhan Nectar Red Oolong

The best Alishan and or Lishan for the best price
The best Jade Oolong Period.
The best Dancong Period.

Nepal Jun Chiyabari ‘Himalayan Tippy’ Black Tea
Lishan (I’m always stocking up on it)

My wish list is fairly accurate though it is broad.

Current Favorites:
Shang Tea/Phoenix Tea:
Tangerine Blossom

Golden Tea Leaf Company:
Iris Orchid Dancong Oolong
Dung Ting Oolong (green)
Ali Mountain Oolong

Taiwan Amber GABA Oolong
Vietnam Red Buffalo Oolong
China Yunnan Pure Bud Golden Snail Black Tea
Taiwan Lishan Oolong
Kenya ‘Rhino’ Premium White Tea

Hugo Tea: Vanilla Black Chai

Liquid Proust Teas:
French Toast Dianhong

Floating Leaves Tea:

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.:
“Old Style” Dong Ding


I am an MSU graduate about to become a high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii with a dominant Eastern Asian influence. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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