For 2017 spring we selected dan cong teas that have been growing in gardens that are at not quite as high an altitude as many of the gardens, and plucked from younger tea trees. We were looking for tea with good flavor, long-lasting qualities for re-steeping, and an aptitude for multiple-year storage. Dan congs can quickly become rarefied and expensive when certain conditions exist: elevation of the tea garden, age of the tea trees, the number of tea trees being plucked, etc. We also considered ease-of-steeping for this year’s dan congs, as we realize that older, larger-leaf dan congs can be notoriously difficult to steep successfully.
So, our 2017 dan cong selections are generally less expensive than the aged & rested dan cong teas we have in inventory from several years past, and offer good taste at an excellent price.
Ba Xian is a lovely dan cong for the tea enthusiast who wants a dan cong experience without the sweet high floral notes in the aroma and taste. We detected a little soft whiff of rose blossoms, but not the saturated magnolia or orchid “heavy” aromas found in other dan congs.
The dried leaf has a pleasant, clean, natural aroma that is more elusive than specific. The overall first impression of the tea is a bit astringent, but by the 3rd steeping a smooth, woodsy, sweet, chestnut flavor begins to emerge. And as one re-steeps this tea the flavor gently builds. In texture and mouth-feel, the liquor has heft and richness. An appealing fruity/vegetal style suggests nuances of dry cinnamon, sweet potato and yams in the flavor. Some roasted root vegetables, such as carrots, too. This liquor has a nice amount of returning flavor (hui gan) which makes the flavor even more noteworthy.
We would expect its youthful complexity to develop into a wonderfully balanced and focused, superb dan cong in several years time if given proper storage. If only one can wait, as it is envigoting and delicious right now!!