Whenever a vendor offers a black Dancong, it ends up in my cart. This one is from spring 2019. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of honey, malt, hay, orchids, apricot, plum, and other flowers. Togo noticed olives, which I can also detect now. The leaves were so long and spindly that I had trouble getting some of them into the pot. The first steep is very soft, with milder than expected notes of honey, malt, cereal, orchid, apricot, hay, sugarcane, wood, and zucchini. Raisins, plums, and cherries make an appearance in steep two, and the tea is a little more floral, though still very vegetal and woody for a black Dancong. The florality increases in the next couple steeps, though the tea is still more sweet and vegetal than fruity, with a drying sensation in the mouth and an aftertaste similar to sugarcane. There are hints of apricot and caramel in steeps four to six, along with lots of honey and tannins. Letting the tea cool, as I did accidentally on the sixth steep, brings out the apricot more strongly. Apricot, cream, honey, and malt are even more present in the next couple long steeps. The session ends with honey, malt, tannins, wood, and lingering stonefruit sweetness.

Unlike most teas, which flatten out after the first few steeps, this one became more fruity and pleasant as the session progressed. It is unassuming for a black Dancong and it was hard to pin down some of the flavours, probably due to it being stored for so long in my tea museum. In the three sessions I’ve had with this tea, using more leaf brought out the fruity notes, while using less leaf highlighted the florals. I tend to prefer more fruit-forward black Dancongs, but I’ll have no trouble finishing this tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Drying, Floral, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Olives, Orchid, Plum, Raisins, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tannin, Vegetal, Wood, Zucchini

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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