Here is another sample sipdown for everyone. I have had two other Dan Gui variants from Verdant Tea, but both have been rolled Anxi oolongs. Dan Gui, though a newer cultivar, is most strongly associated with the Wuyi Mountains and is typically used for strip-style Wuyi oolongs. I wanted to see how Verdant’s Wuyi Dan Gui compared.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. In order to keep my brewing methods for these Wuyi oolongs consistent, I followed pretty much the same approach I have been favoring lately for other Wuyi teas. After the rinse, I started by steeping 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted lovely aromas of fresh flowers and fruit. It was like a blend of dates, citrus, and osmanthus. There was a hint of cinnamon there too. After the rinse, I again detected aromas of dates, citrus, osmanthus, and cinnamon. The first infusion produced a virtually identical bouquet, though I could detect hints of honey and lemongrass. In the mouth, I picked up on notes of osmanthus, lemongrass, yuzu, pomelo, and lemon rind underscored by fleeting impressions of butter, cinnamon, and dates. Verdant’s tasting note insisted I was missing a flavor of marigold, but I didn’t get it. Subsequent infusions faded fairly quickly. Citrus aromas and flavors tended to dominate this tea, though at one point in the early goings, the lemongrass and osmanthus were more assertive. The final infusions came across like a wash of butter and minerals backed by ghostly impressions of citrus, lemongrass, and osmanthus that gave the tea a very light, perfumey presence in the mouth.

While I appreciate that the teamaker kept the roast comparatively light, this tea came off like a citrus bomb. There wasn’t much subtlety to it, and subtle balances of aromas and flavors are what I tend to enjoy about Wuyi oolongs. They may not be deep or have a ton of body, but they are complex on the surface with a texture that focuses the nuances they offer. This one was very aggressive in that it really bludgeoned the drinker with citrus, citrus, and more citrus before ducking out early. I found it hard to maintain interest in this tea over the course of a long session since it seemed to be so unbalanced. While I wouldn’t necessarily caution curious drinkers to avoid it, I would provide the opinion that Li Xiangxi does far better work than this and may not have this one where it needs to be just yet.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Dates, Honey, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mineral, Osmanthus

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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