Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2007 Dan Cong Yu Lan Xiang

This is the second dan cong from Tea Habitat. The name, Yu Lan Xiang, translates to magnolia blossom fragrance.

Yesterday I was in a hurry, so the reveiw was rather hastily written. Though I can't gurantee that tonight's will be any better, I will try harder.

For the six dan cong that I am reviewing this week, I took my notes over the course of two sessions, the Tea Habitat one day and Tea Spring the next, so even though the reviews are seperated into individual posts, they are all part of the whole. My tasting notes inevitably compare and contrast the teas against each other, even if it is not explicit. It may help to know that these posts are written in the order that the tea was sampled.

I kept the brewing parameters largely consistant, 5 grams in a 150 ml gaiwan, though brewing times and temperatures varied depending on what I felt was best at the time.

The dry leaves are smaller, not as long.

The peachy aroma is more visceral, sweeter, a wet texture. Clean and fresh. Like summer peach.

The tea is smooth with just the faintest hint of something that could one day grow up to be astringency. If it eats its spinach. I give it a 2.5 on the peachy scale. The second infusion is fuller-bodied, has a more golden liquor, and develops some of the same smokey-astringent finish as yesterday's oolong.

I talk about astringency a lot. I think the word is in almost everyone one of my tea reviews. Either I need to expand my tasting vocabulary, or astringency is very important to me. I think its a balance, too much astringency makes the tea harsh, brassy, but just enough gives it texture and sass.


Salsero said...

At least for Indian and Ceylon teas, I think some people call it bright when it's nice and astringent when it's too much. I haven't been seeing the term bright much lately. Maybe it has fallen out of favor or maybe it just isn't usually applied to Chinese teas.

Either way, I agree with you that it really is critical in some tea types, probably Dan Cong, Sheng Puerh, Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Assam more than any others. Chinese blacks initially struck me with their near complete absence of astringency. In both its evil and its benevolent manifestations, astringency is a topic I'd like to see more about. Thanks for raising the issue.

And thanks for another nice post on Dan Cong.

Brent said...

Agreed- I think you're right about astringency. Kam of ChineseTea101 posted about various types of astringency, which I think is helpful. Sometimes it dries your tongue out, sometimes it stimulates salivation, and sometimes its just plain bitter. I think drying/stimulating is the optimum level, and gives tea texture.

I definitely agree with Salsero on the importance of some astringency in Dan Cong or Darjeeling (probably the others too, but I don't have much experience with them).

Anyhoo, thanks for another great post!

Imen said...

Pictured tea does not look like my Yu Lan Xiang Dan Cong. Tea color is too roasted for Yu Lan Xiang to begin with. You can see my earlier post of this tea at:

Thanks for taking the time to write up the articles. :)

Space Samurai said...

Imen, thank you for pointing that out, its been corrected.