This was a more recent sipdown of mine as I finished what I had of this tea back around the beginning of the month. I’m normally not huge on Xing Ren Xiang Dan Cong oolongs and will not often go out of my way to spend money on them, but I received a free 8g sample of this tea with a Wuyi Origin order in the spring and finally ran out of reasons to put off trying it during the first week of the month. Though I did not find it to be a perfect offering, it still kind of blew me away. This was easily the most powerful Xing Ren Xiang Dan Cong I have tried.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of almond, cream, and custard that were underscored by hints of orchid and citrus. After the rinse, I noted a much stronger orchid aroma as well as scents of orange blossom, vanilla, and geranium. The first infusion brought out aromas of pineapple, peach, and tangerine that were underscored by subtle rose scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, vanilla, almond, tangerine, orange blossom, orchid, pineapple, and geranium that were chased by hints of rose, peach, violet, and grass. The subsequent infusions brought out violet, grass, wood, and nutmeg aromas. Stronger and more immediate rose, peach, violet, and grass notes appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging custard notes and new impressions of nutmeg, wood, minerals, steamed milk, and pear. I also noted hints of blackberry, cucumber, honeydew, and roasted chestnut. The bulk of the infusions also saw the tea liquor finish very dryly with pronounced notes of almond and wood in the aftertaste. By the end of the session, the tea liquor was offering impressions of minerals, grass, cucumber, cream, steamed milk, almond, and wood that were chased by subtler notes of roasted chestnut, vanilla, pear, and tangerine before the expected dry finish that saw impressions of wood and almond reassert themselves.

Though this tea displayed a consistently dry, astringent finish, it was very enjoyable nonetheless. I have a feeling the astringency was due primarily to the tea’s youth anyway. Otherwise, this was a mostly nutty, creamy, fruity, and floral tea, one that produced a liquor with exceptional depth, complexity, and longevity. The other teas of this type I have tried do not really compare to it. Check this one out if you are looking for a quality Xing Ren Xiang Dan Cong.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Blackberry, Chestnut, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Geranium, Grass, Honeydew, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Rose, Vanilla, Violet, Wood

5 g 3 OZ / 88 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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