Okay, here is yet another review of a spring 2018 Dancong oolong. This one comes from just a little further back in my review notebook for 2020 and early 2021. Yunnan Sourcing’s Zhi Lan Xiang is another of their Dancong offerings that I tend to greatly enjoy from year to year, and well, there weren’t any surprises for me with this tea. It struck me as being yet another more or less excellent offering of this type.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 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 emitted aromas of orchid, cherry, pomegranate, cream, custard, and vanilla. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of wood, grass, sugarcane, and plum. The first infusion added aromas of coriander, violet, and orange blossom. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented pleasant notes of orchid, orange blossom, wood, cherry, grass, cream, sugarcane, lychee, and honey that were balanced by hints of plum, pomegranate, sour apricot, and vanilla. The majority of the subsequent infusions altered the tea’s bouquet with the addition of baked bread, honey, apple, pear, peach, lychee, roasted almond, tangerine, and subtle spinach aromas. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of plum and vanilla came out in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, spinach, pear, apple, violet, roasted almond, orange zest, baked bread, and tangerine. I also noted hints of custard, butterscotch, coriander, banana, cinnamon, and peach. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, orchid, grass, tangerine, wood, sugarcane, apple, cherry, violet, pear, and roasted almond that were chased by a swell of subtler, more delicate spinach, orange zest, orange blossom, honey, lychee, plum, sour apricot, and butterscotch flavors.

As mentioned earlier, this was another winner among the spring 2018 Dancong oolongs released by Yunnan Sourcing. Again, this is one of their teas that I tend to look forward to each year. This was basically a superb Dancong oolong. Teas like this continue to make me wish that there were more Zhi Lan Xiang Dancong oolongs available in the West. They’re hard to find compared to the ubiquitous Mi Lan Xiang, but in my opinion, they can be just as rewarding, sometimes much more so.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Butterscotch, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Spinach, Sugarcane, Tangerine, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

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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