It turns out that I had a few more of these spring 2016 Dancongs than I thought. I’m now prioritizing finishing them before I move on to some of my remaining 2017 teas. Those of you who read my reviews should expect a steady stream of Dancong reviews with a few breaks here and there for at least the next two weeks. As of this writing, I am down to my last 3-4 grams of this tea and have come to the conclusion that this is an exceptional Dancong oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, I detected an orchid scent coupled with hints of stone fruit and something like caraway. The rinse brought out a much more intense orchid aroma as well as aromas of pomegranate and citrus. The first infusion then brought out a peach-like scent. Yunnan Sourcing’s description mentioned something about dried cannabis flowers, but I did not get anything like that. In the mouth, the soft, smooth tea liquor offered a dominant orchid note with some underlying stone fruit hints. Subsequent infusions retained the strong floral character, but also added impressions of peach, honey, plum, candied orange peel, pomegranate, tangerine, malt, toast, minerals, and marshmallow underscored by hints of caraway and damp grass. The later infusions were heavy on mineral notes, though I could still detect infrequent impressions of toast, marshmallow, orchid, citrus, and damp grass.

A surprisingly refined, mellow tea with admirable complexity and a respectable layering of aromas and flavors, this reminded me of a somewhat less fruity Mi Lan Xiang. I loved the way the alternately sweet and pungent orchid impressions filled the nose and mouth, and I also appreciated the fact that the liquor never turned all that soapy. If you are a fan of floral oolongs, make a point to give this one a try. I doubt you will regret it.

Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Plum, Toast

6 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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