This is another unusual dan cong, and one of our favorites; it is of a modest production from a small harvest. The dried leaf of this late-spring harvested dan cong is somewhat darker than many of our other dan congs and has a wonderful, mature aroma. The leaf is incredibly elegant: slender individual leaves with a rich cordovan finish.
This tea comes from some of the oldest tea trees in Fenghuang, hence its name: Song Zhong – from the Song Dynasty. There are trees in this section of garden that are 300 years old, and still in production. This is an incredible dan cong and has developed into a real taste treat along with the Ji Long Kan from the same season.
In the cup, the taste is fruity, not excessively floral or sweet. We tasted dried stone fruit, litchi, and walnuts, ‘biscuit’ and lightly toasted sweet breads such as challah. And a little sweet potato. Being a dan cong, there is a presence of floral sweetness somewhere in the background but this tea is definitely not primarily floral; it is quite refreshing and bright.
There is a fleeting sense of cinnamon stick or eucalyptus in the finish – reminiscent of a flavor characteristic of Rou Gui oolong. The 2nd steeping brought forth an aroma and flavor reminiscent of the rind or stem end of ripe late summer melons such as canary or casaba melons. The 3rd steeping was very similar to the 2nd steeping, and no doubt the tea could have gone on for many more.
This dancong has good staying power in the cup. The aftertaste is pleasant and leaves the mouth feeling very clean.
Many tea enthusiasts find that dan congs require several tries to steep successfully. We recommend that you try cooler water and longer steep times for better results in general.