Subscription tea from a long time ago. This was a tasty enough dancong oolong, but nothing stuck out in particular to me, especially when writing this note the next day.
“Subscription tea from a long time ago. This was a tasty enough dancong oolong, but nothing stuck out in particular to me, especially when writing this note the next day.” Read full tasting note
“With the weather absolutely abysmal, I’ve been hiding inside most of the day. The heat and humidity here have been awful. Avoiding the sun, however, has allowed me plenty of time to catch up on...” Read full tasting note
“I may have got a bad sample. While the aroma was a bit floral and a bit vegetal, there were strong notes of roasted black tea. On the palate the tea tasted dry with some cocoa notes, and an...” Read full tasting note
“1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes 15 seconds. I know, I know: what’s with that criminally long steep time? I got distracted. Much longer, and the tea liquor might bite back with a...” Read full tasting note
Ya Shi is infamous for its name- which translates to “Duck Droppings.” The story is that this varietal was so delicious and so scarce that the locals wanted to think of a name that would stop anyone from trying the tea to keep the secret for themselves. Naming aside, Huang Ruiguang’s family Ya Shi Dancong is picked once a year from well-situated mature stock in the famous Wudong Shan region, and brews with a startlingly consistent ginseng-dominant focus and intense sweetness.
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With the weather absolutely abysmal, I’ve been hiding inside most of the day. The heat and humidity here have been awful. Avoiding the sun, however, has allowed me plenty of time to catch up on chores and drink tea. Today I allowed myself the opportunity to try a new Dan Cong. I’m still very new to Dan Cong in general and I’m still figuring out what I like and what I think is good. This was my first Ya Shi, and while I liked it well enough, it had a few quirks that caught me off guard.
Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. As usual, I kept my rinse short (no more than 8-10 seconds). After the rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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 a unique combination of aromas that reminded me of cream, butter, violet, rose, tea flower, and ginseng. After the rinse, I began to detect damp grass, almond, anise, and gardenia. The first infusion displayed a powerful bouquet that allowed for the emergence of pomelo and mild ginger. In the mouth, I did not get the soapiness mentioned by at least one other reviewer. Instead, I discovered a light body and gentle notes of almond, damp grass, ginger, ginseng, tea flower, cream, butter, violet, and rose. Subsequent infusions briefly brought out the gardenia and pomelo on the palate, as well as touches of pomegranate, licorice, golden raisin, vanilla, hay, cashew, caraway seed, rye toast, candied lemon peel, and something distinctly vegetal that put me in mind of watercress. With each infusion, the minerality built and the stereotypical Dan Cong soapiness gradually appeared. The tea washed out fairly quickly, and by the time I got to the later infusions, the liquor was heavy on minerals, grass, cream, and butter underscored by ghostly herbal and nutty notes.
I am not sure I have any clue how to rate this tea. It was a little odd. I seemed to get more floral complexity, more graininess, and more herbal and vegetal characteristics than other reviewers, but I am not certain my breakdown of this tea even remotely comes close to passing muster. I found this to be an exceptionally difficult tea to describe. My lack of familiarity with Dan Cong oolongs no doubt also put me at a distinct disadvantage when it came to analyzing this tea. Right now it falls into a gray area for me. I didn’t dislike it, but it also didn’t blow me away. Once the floral aromas and flavors started to fade and I began to pick up more ginseng, licorice, anise, and caraway, I began to lose interest since I tend to dislike all of those things. In the end, I have to grade this one conservatively. Given my preferences, somewhere in the 75-78 range feels about right.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Fruity, Gardenias, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Lemon, Licorice, Mineral, Nutty, Raisins, Rose, Rye, Toast, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet
1.25 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes 15 seconds.
I know, I know: what’s with that criminally long steep time?
I got distracted.
Much longer, and the tea liquor might bite back with a soapiness. It does bite back a little, clinging to the tongue. But that’s okay, because it’s also offering florals and spices and fruit and some faint incense and …
A thickness, too, almost creamy. Ginseng notes.
A rewarding tea. I really like this one.
I got my kettle today!!!!!! http://bonavitaworld.com/products/10l-digital-variable-temperature-gooseneck-kettle — This one! IM SO EXCITED TO PLAY WITH IT! It’s so beautiful, I love it.
Anyways, this tea!
Very roasty woody aroma, with a jumble of spices and a hint of cocoa or baking chocolate on steep one, with the second steep aroma bringing in deep floral that I want to say is violet? But I dont know my flowers, that’s just what I immediately thought of, so maybe that’s what it is. It brews up a pale mustard yellow, and a taste that makes me reminiscent for a moment of vanilla ice cream. Of course, there’s mostly roasty chocolate notes, with the wood and earth from the aroma, but I also get notes of rice, orange zest, florals, vanilla, cranberry, lime zest, coconut, cream, and grapefruit. This is some pretty complex tea. Also I’m on like steep 5, and I feel extremely tea drunk already. It’s very thick and creamy with a bit of astringency and some bitterness (which may or may not be my inexperience brewing dancong showing its face), further notes of asian pear. It has an amazing bittersweetness thing going on, I’m also getting a hint of sour candy, like sour keys.
I didn’t really notice any other flavours past steep 6 or 7. The creaminess steeps out shortly after, then slowly the roasty chocolate, earth and wood which dominated the taste begin to fade, though never are completely gone, leaving a nice, mostly fruity (apple/pear), lightly astringent, still very nice and drinkable tea. I absolutely love this one.
No rating because this is my third ever dancong.
I did a 7-8 second rinse (woulda been shorter but I’m not used to the new kettle, it pours slow) and then I used 100C water for the first steep, 99 for the second and 98 from there on out. I’d estimate I did about 5g of leaf in my 120ml gaiwan, but I don’t have a scale so I don’t know. It was filled about 2/3 of the way to the top
Flavors: Apple, Candy, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coconut, Cranberry, Cream, Floral, Grapefruit, Lime, Orange Zest, Pear, Rice, Roasted, Toast, Vanilla, Violet, Wood