Friday, 21 September 2007

Song Zhong Dan Cong

2007 Song Zhong Dan Cong from Teaspring.

Description from Teaspring:

'Song Zhong Dan Cong are harvested from old tea trees descended from the Song Dynasty specimen. These trees grow in the high mountains of Feng Huang Shan, about 1,000 metres above sea level, where the soil, sun light, clean air and water provide an ideal environment for it to grow. Song Zhong is the best of Dan Cong variety and is considered a treasure in Chao An county, where only close friends and relatives are served with a tea of this grade. Like Pu-erh tea, this tea improves with age.'


'the dried leaves are very aromatic even before they are steeped. The tea has a distinct orchid-like sweet taste and a pleasing aroma. Delicious and refreshing.'

First off to say that I would really like to taste an aged variety of this tea, I have not come across any aged dancong in my tea adventures. The more I read the more it appears there are aged varieties of almost all teas, not counting old tea I don't like at the back of my cupboard.

One curious thing about this tea is that in later brewing, beyond 14/15, the tea does not give the usual weak, sweet water taste but a rather more unpleasant, faintly bitter, water. This does not really detract from the tea, as all the brews that count and more are fantastic, although it does seem a little strange.

I have experimented gaiwan & yixing brewing with lots & little amounts tea all giving pleasing but different results. Using a large amount of leaf means the first few brews need to be lighting fast and even then are a little bitter. I don't mind a little bitterness, some of my guests do.

This tea, along with the Meghma oolong have drawn by far the most interest from non tea friends - hopefully soon to be tea drinking and sharing friends.

The tea itself is of large, full, twisted leaf and perhaps appears more roasted than it it is. The liquor has the wonderful smack of lychee I come to expect from dancong but brings with it a beautiful sweetness of caramel that comes through in both the taste and aroma with great strength. It has enchanted a fellow tea head so much that he been regularly begging for 'just a few grams to take home'. Luckily I have some just arrived in from Teaspring, hopefully of the same caliber.

This is the finest dancong I have yet tasted and is still very affordable. The only trouble is that it will simply encourage me to spend even more on the genre. Although the tea has delighted me in many ways it has also given me a new standard from which to evaluate this class and given me a good hint as to what I can expect in the future.

In the mean time I will have fun experimenting with the new batch and explaining to my friend that if he wants any more I'll send him the link.

1 comment:

Khalipha said...

Keep up the good work.