This season, 2019/20, for our offerings of spring dan cong teas, we looked to the cultivars and “fragrances” that have been the classics that have been reliable and persistent throughout the years.
We have been blessed with offerings from trees that are grown both lower down the mountain and not; plucked from younger tea trees and yet also having a representative selection of leaf from older trees.
We were looking for tea with good flavor; concentrated solubles for re-steeping; potential for resting and ageing (with hopefully improvement over the years and not just good ‘keep-ability’; and all at a reasonable, or at least competitive, price.
Dan congs can quickly become rarefied and very 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 always consider ease-of-steeping when tasting dan congs, because we know that older, larger leaf dan congs can be notoriously difficult to steep successfully. And for our many clients who are not that familiar with oolongs in general and dan congs in specific, our goal is that the drinking of the tea should be fun and relaxing, not stressful and challenging-to-appreciate!
So, while our 2020 dan cong selections are generally less expensive than some of the aged & rested dan cong teas that we have had in inventory in years past, several are slightly higher than what we had last year, but will offer both good taste now, and the ability for you to age them or not, depending. Any ageing will mitigate cost, as these teas only continue to rise in price.
The flavor of this Huang Zi Xiang is super accessible and the tea is easy to steep. It has a bouquet of light floral notes but is not as sweet in aroma and flavor as some of our current dan cong offerings such as our Chou Shi or current Yu Lan Xiang. This Huang Zhi Xiang has a gentle sweetness and rich body with an almost ‘chewy’ texture. This fairly dark oolong has an elegant mouth-feel and smooth body in the cup. Its flavor is suggestive of the sweetness of roasted apricots or ripe peaches.
There are delicate sweet florals in the cup suggesting white peony and iris. We detected a touch of woodsy-ness too, that has been contributed by the fact that the trees are wild-grown; this balances with the floral qualities quite nicely.
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