46 Tasting Notes
2014 Lao Cong Honey Orchid dancong, from Tea Habitat
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, full of leaves, boiling flash infusions at first. After infusion 5, dropped temp to 190 and increased steeps out to chase flavor
Sessions with this tea: 4
Taste/fragrance: I’m going to start combining these categories for dancong reviews because what’s even the point of reviewing the taste of a dancong, is all about the aroma.
When I was growing up in North Carolina I used to have to walk to the bus stop through my little town. Half my walk was along the edge of the woods, and there were these big honeysuckle bushes that grew by the road. On spring mornings there would be dew covering everything, and when the sun was coming up the flowers would put out this thick sticky sweet smell which went with the humidity in the air to create a feeling like being trapped in a fragrant patch of thickened air. I would walk over and pick some of the flowers and pluck the stamens and lick them as I stood and waited for the bus.
This tea has the real deal. It’s thick and layers in the room. I can smell a citrusy fragrance pervading the room, when I put the soup in my mouth and inhale I get the honey, almost like tupelo honey, or honey with little bits of orange rind chopped in. As the tea steeps out the citrus fades into the stickier sweet honeysuckle bush. If you let the tea soup cool down, this is the flavor of the tea as well. I didn’t much enjoy this sticky sweet flavor, so I just drank it very hot.
Body: light and smooth together, very effervescent mouthfeel and “bright” energy
Tea: white2tea May club box: 2017 Lincang fresh puer green tea and 2017 Lincang fresh puer maocha. Reviewing them together since they’re “related” and this seems to make more sense. I’ll call the first “green” and the other “puer.” They’re both extremely green and not surprisingly somewhat similar.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 3-5g. I’ve used both boiling water or cooler ~90C water. Mostly flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 20s, etc..
Sessions with th(ese) tea(s): 5+
Taste: The green has a very open and round flavor to it. It has nuttiness and vegetal notes, I suppose as expected from a fresh green. I can’t put my finger on exactly what the note is but it somehow reminds me of a breakfast cereal? The puer is very similar, but it doesn’t have as much “roundness” in the flavor. It has more bitterness and I guess I can see the beginnings of a young cake. Both are extremely aromatic, both last around the same number of steeps. 2dog notes fruitiness in these teas, which I’m not really finding, and he notes the green has more bitterness than the puer, which I find to be the opposite. He also notes the green has a cooling sensation, which I do find to be true, and is very pleasant.
Body: mouthfeel starts medium, eventually turns thinner. Moderate energy, I keep clenching my jaw after drinking these. It doesn’t sit as heavy in the stomach as a lot of fresh greens, which is a nice thing.
Summary: is interesting to note both how similar and how different these teas are. I enjoy the green tea processing more than the puer. This was a really nice club idea from 2dog.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 3-6g, boiling water, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 20s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 5+
Taste: Bitter/sweet. Very mild flavor, maybe tiny bit oniony? I certainly don’t get fruity as was previously mentioned. I dunno, the flavor isn’t the highlight of this tea.
Body: where this tea shines. Thick like melted butter, mouth-coating, returning sweetness. Noticeable salivation. Sits mid-chest with calm warmth. Gentle energy. Very pleasant mouthfeel and body.
Pleasant tea at a decent price point without a lot of taste but a lot of mouthfeel, and a nice even-flow body.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, enough tea to cover the bottom of the gaiwan, boiling water, steep x1 then let it sit with the gaiwan lid on for 5 minutes so the leaves open up. Then 10s, 15s, 20s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 8
Taste: Ok a lot of people are describing specific notes for this tea. There is maybe a vaguely citrusy opening note and a vaguely nutty note after you swallow. Later steeps have a more vegetal note, lettucey.
Body: thick, coating, pleasant
Prep: 140cc shibo, 4g, 85C water, rinse x1, 40s, 50s, 60s, 80s, 90s, 120s
Sessions with this tea: 1
Taste: Opens like a black tea, with typical tannic and cocoa notes. After steep 3 it settled into more familiar oolong territory, with some playful woody notes.
Body: thin/medium thickness, more astringency than expected on the first 2 steeps, but then settled down and was actually somewhat lackluster in terms of body. Mild energy, not very stimulating.
Leaf: normally don’t comment on this, but this leaf is quite chopped up. It steeped out longer than I expected given how chopped up this is, but I ended up using a shibo with straining edges rather than my gaiwan for this reason
Overall I need another session with this to evaluate. Not my favorite off the bat, because of the black tea opening, but interesting nonetheless
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, full to brim or mostly full, boiling water, flash steep x3, 10s, 10s, then chase flavor
Sessions with this tea: 7?
Taste: This is a citrus/limey dancong at heart. This silly description on YS website says eucalyptus, and when I read that initially I was like “oh ha ha it’s probably just some mentholy note that he is trying to describe.” But now it’s like “yup that tastes like eucalyptus smells.” But that note isn’t very big in the mix, is much more citrusy
Body: medium thickness, more astringency than expected from a dancong but not unpleasant. I tried to tune down my brewing parameters because I thought this note was an accident, but I can’t get rid of it, I think it’s part of the tea. Again, not unpleasant, just ate almonds feel.
Fragrance: big aroma, kinda vaguely floral/citrusy
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 3-6g, boiling water, flash steep x2, 10s, 10s, 20s, 20s, etc..
Sessions with this tea: 10+
Taste: This is a beautiful, clean, dew-sweet grassy flavor. Not grassy like some green teas are like freshly mowed thick summer grass, this is like early spring just turned green, first thing in the morning dew-drop covered. The bitterness is mild and understated. Little warm sweaty energy with the first few steeps, but the back half doesn’t present much energy.
Body: moderately thick in the mouth, bitterness-returning-sweet with good salivation, some strength in the jaw. The sensations of this tea feel “separated” somehow, or maybe “layered,” and are more individually distinct than blending together.
Fragrance: I make this a separate category because of how strongly present the aroma is with this tea, which I didn’t expect from an 8 year aged tea. It isn’t a special aroma, very similar to the flavor, but is still quite pleasant.
This is a lovely tea, very clean and very enjoyable, at a good price point. I may seek out more of this in the future.
Tea sent via the monthly tea club, so relatively small quantity.
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, almost full, boiling water, 10s, 10, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60
Sessions with this tea: 2
Taste: This is primarily a fragrance lover’s tea. Medium-spectrum malt and roast notes, some light fruitiness. There’s not much to the taste of this one for me though. But the fragrance pours off of it and fill room with rich floral notes.
Body: Medium mouthfeel, not as thick as I look for. Not much playfulness across the tongue. Not much minerality to this one either. Really not much at all going on in the body of this one.
Ultimately this tea is too light and delicate for my taste, and doesn’t steep out as long as I would like. I do enjoy fragrant teas, and this tea would be excellent for oolong lovers who love chasing brightness in their tea.
Tong Qin Hao 2007 shu. Some tea sent to me by a friend.
I steeped 4-5g in a 60cc gaiwan with boiling water, had 2 sessions so far, which is all of this I was sent, which is unfortunate. I got really excited about this tea, in my relatively limited shu experience. The taste was a deep, rich, creamy nuttiness, almost coffee-like. Most of the shu I’ve had so far have had a relatively thin texture and mouthfeel — this was thick and slippery on my tongue and gave me a buzzy feeling in my mouth and jaw. Teas like this make me sad I’ve neglected the shu world for so long while drinking sheng. Very enjoyable, no clue how to acquire more, may have to investigate.
Review for some “90s blue mark” sent to me by a friend.
Wet manure, grass clippings piled and left in the heat to compost in the Carolina summer sun. Absolutely unappealing. Pleasant buzzing in my jaw and good warmth in my shoulders and upper chest, but I could not continue drinking this post-lawnmower wasteland.