April 12, 2016

Tea Review - Yunnan Sourcing Da Wu Ye Dancong

I am really happy that I subscribed to a tea box albeit only for a couple of months. I am really one of my new year's aspirations to discover and explore more tea. I have tried several teas I have never drunk before. I will likely reactivate my subscription later this year. I am a slow tea drinker and for now I have a lot of tea and I worry about waste if the teas go stale.

Today I am sharing my notes on a dancong called Da Wu Ye 'Snowflake' from Yunnan Sourcing. The oolong was part of the February Jade Club. The other teas were Silver Needles White tea of Feng Qing (Autumn 2015) and Light Roast Premium Tie Guan Yin Mini Tuo Cha Anxi Oolong Tea. I was a bit forlorn when I prepared the last mini tuo. Da Wu Ye translates as Big Black Leaf. The tea leaves are uniquely shaped; long, slightly flat, but also with a twist. Most of the leaves are dark but some are green and and some have reddish brown highlights. Click here for a close up photo of the leaves. When steeped, the leaves are mostly green or brown. The specific tasting notes are from the final session with this tea. I used a bit over 8g of leaves in 120mL gaiwain with 195F water. The water temperature varied between 190 and 195F degrees. I felt that 195F was too high of water temperature to properly prepare this tea.

I rinsed the leaves for 5s. (The water used to warm teaware was used to rinse the leaves.) The steep times were 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 45s, 50s, 60s. The liquor and aroma of the first steep was floral and creamy with a steamed green vegetable finish. The wet leaves smelled like summer squash. The second steep yielded freshly cut wet grass and cherry blossom scents. The liquor from the third steep was cloudy. The tea smelled like a heady perfume. The green vegetable taste was still present but sips had a citrus rind finish. The liquor of the fourth steep smelled so creamy. The taste was first of green vegetables but ended with canteloupe. The liquor of the fifth steep was a blend of citrus, tropical fruit, and floral notes.

For the sixth steep, the water temperature was exactly 195F and it extracted a bitter note. I should say that the bitterness was like that of Nocino, an Italian liqueur made from raw, green walnuts . However, citrus, tropical fruit, and floral notes were not overshadowed. I made another discovery with the 60s steep. The citrus I had been tasting might actually be eucalyptus. It had a cooling quality. By this point in the session, much of the floral notes had been extracted. I rarely discard my tea leaves immediately after hot steeping. I cold steep them, and recommend this practice.

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