Dry leaf: HERBAL, DRY SPICE, CITRUS (dry wood, dill, cilantro, cocoa powder, some baking spice notes, hint of dried red fruit. In preheated vessel – green stem, coriander, citrus, light lemon oil)
Smell: NUTTY, FLORAL (savory, green stem, nutty, floral – orchid-like?)
Taste: NUTTY, FRUIT, CITRUS, FLORAL. In the mouth, there is a base of woody “green stem” and black tea blend that, in initial steeps, combines with light nut oiliness and orchid-like floral notes. There are also notes of baking spices and cilantro. The finish accentuates floral note and sharp fruit/herbal notes. Aftertaste is complex, with peach, red currant, cilantro, and coriander.
Initial steeps are really fun – there is quite a bit of complexity and the flavor certainly changes between steeps. The in-mouth experience is not super complex, but the aftertaste is a lot of fun to explore and enjoy. After about 6 steeps, the in-mouth flavors are a general woody/green stem tea flavor, but the aftertaste remains strong and continues to develop for several more steeps.
This definitely accentuates the pleasant sharp, pungent notes of dan cong – what a lot of folks seem to associate with as “soapiness.” Definitely a fair observation, but I relate these flavors to the sharpness of red currant, with the pungency of cilantro and coriander. You can overdo it with your brewing parameters, but when done right, it is a tasty experience.
Final note – be sure to use enough leaf. It can be a bit watery without a fair helping of leaves in the vessel. You really have to gong fu this sucker – FILL UP the vessel with leaves and use short steep times.
Go get yourself some soap tea and bring back memories of cussing in front of your mom and being sent to the bathroom with a bar of soap in your mouth. Great times! (Just kidding – it really is pretty tasty soap!)