drank Da Dan by Verdant Tea
1048 tasting notes

After sleeping in way later than I had planned, I took the remainder of the morning to gongfu a 5 gram sample of this oolong. Prior to trying this, I do not recall ever having a tea made from the Da Dan cultivar. I found it to come off as a slightly awkward hybrid of a Tieguanyin and a Dancong. It was worth trying, but it was not my thing.

Obviously, I gongfued this one. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of butter, cream, custard, lilac, violet, sweetgrass, and citrus. The rinse allowed scents of vanilla, osmanthus, and cilantro to emerge. The first infusion produced a near identical bouquet. In the mouth, I detected notes of violet, lilac, osmanthus, sweetgrass, butter, cream, custard, vanilla, and some sort of citrus. Subsequent infusions brought out touches of leaf lettuce, rose, mild cinnamon, and minerals, as well as definite touches of orange peel and pomelo. The later infusions were dominated by butter, mineral, cream, lettuce, cilantro, and sweetgrass notes underscored by barely perceptible touches of citrus and fresh flowers.

For me, two things happened that limited my enjoyment of this tea. First, this tea peaked way quickly, faded early, and did not change all that much with each successive infusion. I could tell where it was going pretty quickly, and quite frankly, that bored me a little. Second, the almost soapy slickness that I get from many Dancongs (especially Chou Shi Dancongs) became more prominent with each infusion, and since that texture is not all that appealing to me, I had to fight off the urge to give up on this one early. At this point, I would also like to add that, in terms of flavor, there was not much separating this tea from many jade Tieguanyins. If I hadn’t known what I was drinking, I probably would have thought that someone had ruined a perfectly good spring Tieguanyin by washing the gaiwan and not rinsing it out all that well prior to brewing. Judged solely on the aromas and flavors on display, this was not a bad tea, but it didn’t thrill me in any way either.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Mineral, Orange, Osmanthus, Rose, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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