Sipdown that probably should have happened long ago. Quite light by now, but still a pleasant homage to what the tea was at its peak!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
“Sipdown that probably should have happened long ago. Quite light by now, but still a pleasant homage to what the tea was at its peak!” Read full tasting note
“I think this was my only other sipdown of anything larger than a 10 gram sample pouch this week. I recall finishing what I had of this tea right at the start of the week and before my schedule got...” Read full tasting note
“24 July 2020 Dancong oolongs are shapeshifters (much like sheng pu-erh) – starts off with a light fruitiness that is fairly unique to dancongs (but also reminiscent of a white tea or green tea),...” Read full tasting note
“Very Fruity Mi Lan Xiang, lasted me 10 or so steeps!” Read full tasting note
Mi Lan Xiang (aka Honey Orchid Aroma) Dan Cong is the most well-known Dan Cong style. Bai Ye varietal is used and was expertly processed over a period of a month to give it a special thick, sweet and floral (orchid) aroma. The leaves are larger and broader than may other varietals and the finished dry leaf is a deep brown color. The brewed leaves are also more brown (and less green) than most other Dan Cong oolongs. This higher degree of oxidation due to roasting brings out the delicious honey and orchid taste. When you experience the wonderful taste keep in mind it’s all due to the skill of the master who lovingly processed this tea into something so special and delicious!
April 2017 picking
Zhongshan Village, Wu Dong Mountains, Guangdong Province of China
Company description not available.
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I think this was my only other sipdown of anything larger than a 10 gram sample pouch this week. I recall finishing what I had of this tea right at the start of the week and before my schedule got crazy. I’m very nitpicky about Mi Lan Xiang, and while I enjoyed this one, it was hit or miss for me. I did two gongfu sessions with it. One was very good and very enjoyable. The other was enjoyable but kind of boring. The same goes for my two attempts at brewing it Western style. Overall, this tea was surprisingly temperamental, but when it was good, it was just slightly shy of greatness.
[Note that the preparation detailed below refers to the better of the two gongfu sessions.]
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 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orchid, orange blossom, honey, peach, cream, pomegranate, and vanilla. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, pear, and candied orange as well as a grassy hint and even stronger honey and flower aromas. The first infusion did not bring out any new aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of orchid, orange blossom, candied orange, pear, honey, peach, and pomegranate that quickly faded to reveal impressions of roasted almond, grass, cream, and vanilla. Notes of pear, honey, peach, orange blossom, and orchid lingered in the mouth after each swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of violet, cherry, apple, baked bread, butter, and sugarcane. New notes of baked bread, butter, minerals, cherry, sugarcane, violet, apricot, nectarine, apple, spinach, and watercress appeared in the mouth. As the tea faded, the liquor offered subtle notes of minerals, baked bread, apple, pear, grass, and roasted almond that were accompanied by almost ghostly wisps of honey, candied orange, sugarcane, orchid, cream, and vanilla.
Though my experience with it suggested that this was kind of an inconsistent, finnicky tea, it was never less than solid, and as the above description of the more successful of my two gongfu sessions indicated, it was very, very good when it was firing on all cylinders. Again, even at its worst, this tea was never really less than a solid offering. Sadly, I did not take any notes during my two Western sessions, but I do recall that they mirrored the two gongfu sessions. At its best, I would rate this tea somewhere between 87 and 90, but I have decided to knock a couple points off my overall numerical rating due to the tea’s inconsistency.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet
24 July 2020
Dancong oolongs are shapeshifters (much like sheng pu-erh) – starts off with a light fruitiness that is fairly unique to dancongs (but also reminiscent of a white tea or green tea), then evolves into the mature astringency of a sheng pu-erh and finally, an Wuyi oolong.
1st (181˚F, 15s): Wet leaf so sweet smells like prunes stewed in honey. The liquor is a gorgeous colour – clear champagne-y peach-y liquid.
2nd: (185˚F, 20s): Wet leaves already vegetal, mineral-y, not sweet anymore. The liquor aroma, though, is my happy place. Ambrosial – mangoes, sweet cream, plums, peaches, baking pastries, malt sugar, young florals. Colour is golden honey champagne with hint of redness like the inside of a plum. Tastes like perfumed fragrance, slightly sweet but slightly tart and astringent too.
3 (188˚F, 35s): Wet leaf: faraway smell of flowers in grassy meadow. Liquor smells still slightly sweet, but more mature florals. Tastes a bit vegetal and astringent, but still with some red fruit sweetness – like red grapeskins. Wonderful infusion.
4 (190˚F, 40s): Now a buttery / roasted fragrance has been coaxed from the leaves. Liquor tastes robust, roasty and nutty and bitter chocolate notes like a premium Wuyi oolong or Tieguanyin. Slight astringency and cacao nibs flavour. Liquor colour even resembles an Wuyi oolong now too – medium russet / chestnut colour. Ok a bit bitter and dry-mouth – like a sheng pu-erh.
5 (195˚F, 50s): Mineral spring water flavour and very familiar taste – OMG WHAT IS THIS. Kinda herbal and pleasantly bitter, and so smooth. Omg it tastes like a good craft beer. Has that hoppiness (flavourful but not yeasty), and amazing texture – smooth and astringent-dry and has the full body of a non-bubbly beer. I can’t believe this.
6 (200˚F, 55s): Liquor smell: More buttery goodness came out. Liquor taste: OMG suddenly more fruity sweetness has been coaxed out of these leaves from nowhere! In addition to the existing vegetal “sheng pu-erh” astringency.
7 (205˚F, 70s): Mineral-y.
7.5g in 170ml porcelain gaiwan
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Cacao, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Grapes, Hops, Malt, Peach, Plums, Red Fruits, Vegetal