I used a 100ml gaiwan filled between one third and one half full with dry leaves.
My, my, my. This instantly became a favorite of mine after my first taste. Harboring upwards of 15 high-quality steeps, this tea continues to bring forth surprise after surprise as these large leaves unfurl and release brilliant flavors and aromatics into the cup.
It begins malty, fruity, and quite floral, with tones of peach, orchid, and honey. Body is very smooth, light, and the flavor lingers tenderly on the tip of the tongue and already begins constructing a distinctive and mouthfilling aftertaste.
Into the second steep the body becomes stronger and fuller, with greater peach flavors, and a slight astringency felt on sides of tongue. Resonance is clearly a great attribute in this tea. The liquor’s aroma is strong, flowery, while the wet leaf’s aroma is powerfully pungent, with a very wine-like aroma and undertones of pine, stone-fruits, and citrus.
Then, as the citrus notes begin to climb, the malt flavors subside, making way for new tones of spice and honey. Overall, the flavor becomes much more calm and less robust, yet the complexity remains with tons of subtle nuances. The mouthfeel is smooth and full while the aftertaste remains refreshing and sweet.
At steep four, the liquor’s aroma is very strong and complex, and is one of the more aromatic liquors I have had the pleasure of smelling in a while. The citrus, peach, and honey tones that were tasted seem to have burst out of the liquor itself and fan out through the air. The flavor of this steep has awesome character and rounds together all levels of sweet, bitterness, astringency, floral, and even slight spicy notes in near-perfect harmony.
As more steeps continued to pour out of my gaiwan, the tea I tasted towards the end seemed to be a completely different tea than what I tasted in the beginning. As the leaves opened to their fullest extent, greener flavors started to drift into the liquor and subtle grassy tones were appreciated. In addition, the malt, fruit, and honey flavors so strong at first became subtle and harder to find as nuances of earth, wood, caramel, and roasted nuts come into play, all held together by a body with a more pronounced “tea” flavor and aroma.
The only downside to this tea is that it can become tricky to brew without near-perfect steep times, especially in the first few steeps. The astringency and floral tones can become a little too overpowering. This minor hindrance aside, this dan cong provides a fantastic experience for a reasonable price.