I’m slowly coming to the end of my long list of 2017 Dancong oolongs. I’ve enjoyed most of them, though I have encountered a few serious misses along the way. This was another strong offering. It was a little more biting and astringent than Yunnan Sourcing’s Wu Dong Ba Xian that I always seem to like from year to year, but it was still a very enjoyable tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 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 cream, custard, nectarine, orchid, peach, and orange blossom. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of rose, tangerine, and sugarcane. The first infusion introduced aromas of baked bread, grass, white grape, and roasted almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, roasted almond, orchid, wood, baked bread, and orange blossom that were chased by hints of tangerine, white grape, sour cherry, grass, sugarcane, peach, and honey. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of violet, honey, vanilla, wood, strawberry, apple, and coriander. Notes of nectarine and custard came out in the mouth along with stronger and more immediate impressions of sour cherry, tangerine, grass, and peach. Impressions of minerals, violet, apricot, pear, vanilla, orange zest, and nutmeg also appeared alongside hints of rose, strawberry, apple, and coriander. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, wood, sour cherry, cream, roasted almond, orchid, violet, pear, and orange zest that were underscored by hints of custard, sugarcane, baked bread, coriander, apricot, honey, white grape, and rose.

This was a quality Dancong oolong with a bit of an edge. As my gongfu session progressed, I noticed that the liquor became livelier and more biting while a noticeable astringency built. It is not unusual for that to happen with Dancong oolongs, but I found it to be particularly noticeable with this one. Fortunately, it was only a little distracting and did not detract much from the wonderful aromas and flavors this tea had to offer. Fans of Dancong oolong teas who are looking to get into Ba Xian probably should not start with this tea or another one like it, but for Dancong drinkers who are a little more familiar with teas of this type, a tea like this one would be a good option for expanding their horizons.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Baked Bread, Biting, Cherry, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Rose, Stonefruit, Strawberry, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

6 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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