Two days since posting my last set of reviews, it seems that I am still in the mood to write about Dancong oolongs. I polished off a ton of them around the end of last year and the start of this year before moving on to other things, and honestly, I was a little surprised by how many I had left to review. This was one of those oolongs that I finished around that time. I had high expectations for it. I loved the spring 2017 version of this tea, so I wanted to love this tea just as much. While I was not quite as into this tea, it was still an excellent offering overall. Zhu Ye Dancong has a very pleasant and intriguing profile that I tend to enjoy.
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 orchid, plum, blackberry, sugarcane, and strawberry. After the rinse, aromas of roasted almond, orange blossom, grass, black cherry, and pomegranate emerged. The first infusion added an orange zest aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, sugarcane, grass, roasted almond, blackberry, and strawberry that were balanced by hints of plum, orange zest, lychee, pomegranate, orange blossom, and black cherry. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of lychee, coriander, wood, apple, dandelion, longan, butter, and baked bread. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of lychee, orange zest, plum, and orange blossom appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, coriander, spinach, wood, apple, dandelion, longan, cream, baked bread, and butter notes. I also noted some occasional hints of blueberry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, wood, orange zest, sugarcane, orchid, butter, and cream that were chased by hints of pomegranate, blackberry, coriander, roasted almond, baked bread, longan, dandelion, apple, and black cherry.
It took me a little while to adjust to this tea, but once I did, I was able to get a ton out of it. Compared to the previous production, this tea produced a liquor that was darker, richer, and somewhat subtler. It took more time to reveal its charms and more effort for me to appreciate as a drinker, but there was a lot to like about this tea. I still think I prefer the spring 2017 version to the spring 2018 version, but I also think it’s a good sign that I still remember this tea with fondness nearly a year after I last drank it.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Coriander, Dandelion, Fruity, Grass, Lychee, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Plum, Spinach, Strawberry, Sugarcane, Wood