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“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – X

Catching up again! This is the closest thing to an “X” tea that I have, so here we are. Dancong hasn’t historically been a favorite of mine, but this one came in a Bitterleaf sampler that I ordered a few years back, and I’m willing to give it a chance!

Used 5 grams for about 120ml of 190°F water, and steeped 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 30s or so.

I was surprised to find this not very floral at all. It actually reminded me of a Bai Hao, with sweet honey and syrupy dried fruit notes over a base of crisp autumn leaves. There was a bit of fig, apricot, and golden raisin all rolled into one. I also tasted brown sugar a couple of steeps in, and then it got more leafy and woody for the last few steeps. At one point there was a lovely spun sugar note at the end of the sip.

It was tasty! It lost a bit of complexity as the session went on, but this is also from 2017 so I’m sure it’s lost a lot of its subtleties at this point. I was just happy it wasn’t floral overload! :3

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Cotton Candy, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Raisins, Roasted, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
gmathis

I think you should get bonus points for having an X on hand!

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gmathis

I think you should get bonus points for having an X on hand!

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Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ 2021 SIPDOWN CHALLENGE! ~
~ November Sipdowns: 33
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 485

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kusmi
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Lupicia
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/tea...

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