My generous new friend J (who I first mentioned in my previous post) left me with several wonderful oolong teas to sample. 謝謝你!
One of these new teas was a very intriguing dancong (with a very long name) called: 2007 Winter Fenghuang Wudong Old Bush Dancong "Huang Jing." J got it from Hou De Asian Arts in Huston, TX.
Dancong (单丛) tea is most commonly translated as "single bush" and is considered an oolong tea. The trees used to produce dancong are usually mature plants with a single trunk and deep roots. I really don't have much experience with dancong tea but I have learned a lot about it from reading the Tea Obsession blog.
The leaves for this particular dancong were hand-picked from 50 year old tea bushes. Its thick and leathery leaves were folded and tightly pressed because the winter leaves are more difficult to roll. Other dancong teas that I have tried have had long, twisted leaves (slightly resembling Wuyi mountain cliff teas) but this "Huang Jing" is made up of many long fat leaves and has a mix of earthy autumnal colors. For more specific information about this tea click here.
I have never seen a tea like this before and had no idea what to expect. I filled my gaiwan about three quarters full of dry leaf before pouring in boiling hot spring water. My nose, at least a meter away from the lidded gaiwan, immediately picked up a sweet aroma. This tea is very aromatic with hints of ripe plum, dark wood, and fresh baked cinnamon rolls.
The tea soup has an amazing amber color and intoxicating perfume. It is heady like spiced wine and distinctly fruity. My first sip caused me to sigh and exclaim "Whoa... now that's a good tea." My tasting notes for the next eight infusions included: honey, malt, delicate smoke, smooth, and raisin. It also has a nice aftertaste.
After the tasting session I marveled at the massive yellow tinted leaves. They are very thick and beautiful.
This is by leaps and bounds the best dancong tea I've ever tasted.