Wu Dong Mountain "Cao Lan" Dan Cong Oolong from Jiao Di Village * Spring 2017

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Oolong Tea Leaves
Almond, Anise, Apricot, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cream, Cucumber, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Jasmine, Lychee, Melon, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
6 g 4 oz / 118 ml

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Cao Lan is a special varietal grown only in Jiao Di Village in the Wu Dong mountainous area of Guangdong, and as such the entirety (worldwide) of Cao Lan Dan Cong tea is produced by less than 20 families with an output of less than 300 kilograms per harvest. Cao Lan (草兰) varietal is medium-large leaf size with obvious ridges, the leaves are sturdy and thick and require extra rolling and breaking during processing.

The word “Cao Lan / 草兰” is a type orchid-like flower called Cymbidium elegans. Our Cao Lan Dan Cong has something akin to this aroma and flower taste. It also has a very vibrant honey sweetness to counter the subtle floral vegetal bitterness. Again very difficult to describe this tea, it just makes an impression that is very memorable and dream-like. The world of Dan Cong is truly “博大精深”!

May 2016 harvest

Cao Lan Varietal

Altitude: 1200 meters

Area: Jiao Di Village, Wu Dong Shan, Guangdong

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1 Tasting Note

1048 tasting notes

This was my most recent sipdown. I purchased a 10 gram pouch of this tea last year, but quickly discovered that the pouch actually contained a full 12 grams of loose tea leaves after cracking it open. I got two gongfu sessions out of that amount, one Wednesday evening and the other yesterday morning. Both were very enjoyable. I have gotten a little better at describing the aromas and flavors of Dan Cong oolongs over the last year or so, and I expected to get more out of this tea than the 2016 version I previously tried because of this, but this tea actually shocked me with just how aromatic and flavorful it was. The aromas it offered literally filled my nose, and its flavors were so robust that they seemed almost explosive in places. After finishing both of my gongfu sessions, I was walking around with the smell of this tea in my nose and a lingering aftertaste in the back of my mouth. This was powerful stuff, to be sure.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. I stuck with the same preparation method both times I drank it, but did not really take clear or comprehensive notes during the first session, thus I am limiting myself to a description of what I experienced during the second session in this review. 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: 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, cream, vanilla, pomegranate, black raspberry, and strawberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of candied orange, orange blossom, grass, peach, and white grape. The first infusion introduced scents of plum, almond, and apricot. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orchid, orange blossom, candied orange, peach, cream, vanilla, plum, pomegranate, and almond that were chased by hints of strawberry, butter, and white grape. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of lychee, honey, violet, pear, and cherry. Hints of black raspberry belatedly appeared in the mouth along with stronger, clearer, and more immediate notes of white grape and butter. Notes of apricot and grass belatedly appeared too. I also noted impressions of honey, watermelon rind, jasmine, violet, lychee, minerals, pear, cherry, and cattail shoots as well as hints of cucumber, anise, and green apple. By the end of the session, I could still pick out notes of minerals, cream, almond, butter, orchid, violet, and cherry that were backed by fleeting hints of anise, pear, lychee, white grape, and plum.

This was a truly impressive Dan Cong oolong with ridiculous depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth. Though it did fade quickly towards the end of my review session, I loved its strength and boldness overall and appreciated it never coming off as harsh or unsophisticated. This tea made me wonder why Cao Lan is not more widely known and more extensively cultivated because it was just so enjoyable. Honestly, if you’re looking for a Dan Cong oolong that is absolutely chock full of wonderful fruity and floral aromas and flavors, look no further.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cream, Cucumber, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Jasmine, Lychee, Melon, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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