Very excited to be trying out Dancong Oolong tea for the first time. Shannon’s family has been growing high elevation tea in China for more than 80 years. They have 20 kinds of tea. They’ve been so kind as to send me samples to try (from different altitudes and tea tree ages) so I can taste and compare. I’ll also be trying them out in my new gonfucha set. You can get in touch with Shannon via instagram @Wudongtea or check them out online here.
I tried a few of the samples already with a couple of friends. Our tasting notes varied wildly from cup to cup, it took us a while to figure out that it was my pouring technique (which could really use some work). In the gaiwan, every second counts, every second is another layer of flavor.
We laid a towel down so that I could pour back and forth between the cups, emptying out the gaiwan completely so that the leaves don't oversteep between pours.
Drinking gonfucha style you use a lot of leaves in a small vessel and steep for very short periods of time, repeating the process several times. It's a very active way to drink tea, but rewarding, as each cup draws new flavor out of the same leaves.
One of the oolongs we tried was Xue Gong Xiang. Thick twisted leaves with a dark blue stem and touches of light green, each about 3 inches long.
The smell of the wet leaf was like soil, an earthy forest floor.
As for our notes we steeped the same leaves 8 times varying the seconds as we went (beween 3 and 6)
1st cup (3 seconds) - honey, floral, a very mild whisper of tea, smooth and buttery
2nd cup (6 seconds) - very faintly green, lilac taste, and ever so slightly tart. Light flower petal flavor.
3rd cup (6 seconds) - floral, toothy, astringent, with a citrus finish.
4th cup (6 seconds) - darker liquor with a honeysuckle smell. Very grassy, and coats the tongue like olive oil.
5th cup (6 seconds) - spicy, honeysuckle again, this was our favorite cup for it's smoothness.
6th cup (6 seconds) - good color, like green tea with nectar. A slight astringency and dry.
7th cup (6 seconds) - dry, white sugar, bright but with less lilac.
8th cup (6 seconds) - at this point the tea was diluted and weak, and was a little like drinking warm lemon water.
Overall we were very impressed with this tea, an light floral oolong with some surprising citrus notes. Can't wait to get everyone together to try the rest of our samples from the Wudong farm!