Here is another of my late 2020/early 2021 Dancong oolong reviews. I think I actually finished what I had of this tea within two or three days of the Zhu Ye I just reviewed. I am guessing this because I did not have a ton of most of these teas (usually sample sizes), and I did not take any long breaks from drinking in either late 2020 or early 2021. Also, the notes for this tea are clustered with several other Dan Cong oolongs (the Zhu Ye being one of them) in my review notebook, so I must have consumed both within days of one another. This tea was a bit of an oddity. It had a lot to offer, but it was also a bit rougher and more unpredictable than some of the other Ya Shi Xiang I have tried over the years.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional 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, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of black cherry, sugarcane, earth, cream, vanilla, and orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke, cannabis, wood, plum, and red grape. The first infusion added aromas of baked bread, grass, cucumber, and apple. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, grass, baked bread, red grape, black cherry, and cream that were balanced by hints of butter, orchid, sugarcane, smoke, cannabis, apple, earth, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of roasted almond, lychee, nutmeg, marshmallow, custard, pomegranate, and longan that were underscored by subtle and consistent hibiscus and spinach scents. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of butter, earth, apple, and sugarcane emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, cucumber, orange zest, pomegranate, hibiscus, lychee, longan, vanilla, wood, marshmallow, custard, and caraway. Interesting hints of plum, roasted chestnut, spinach, eucalyptus, wintergreen, blackberry, and watermelon rind were present as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, baked bread, orange zest, cream, butter, vanilla, red grape, and black cherry that were chased by hints of blackberry, grass, cucumber, wood, earth, roasted almond, pomegranate, apple, caraway, sugarcane, wintergreen, and watermelon rind.

This tea was surprisingly complex, but it also struck me as being a bit prickly and at times overwhelming. Some of the aroma and flavor components could also be slightly unbalanced in places. Despite these nagging issues, this was still a very respectable offering. It was definitely worth a try.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Blackberry, Bread, Butter, Cannabis, Cherry, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Earth, Eucalyptus, Fruity, Grapes, Grass, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Lychee, Marshmallow, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Smoke, Spinach, Sugarcane, Watermelon

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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