The term Cha Yun4 has troubled me for a few years, especially when I was in the stage of trying many teas I had not had or heard of before, not that I know all teas now, but I had enough to find a love of my life, which needless to say, Dan Cong.
Through years of drinking, I heard many people refer a tea's characteristics as cha yun. Each tea has its yun, each location, region, mountain all have their yun reflected upon tea. How do we determine the term? From my understanding out of my experience, 2 things might be mixed when we speak of cha yun. First is varietal flavor, Tie Guan Yin is distinctive from Dan Cong, Dan Cong is distinctive from Taiwan oolong. Roughly speaking, these are varietal flavors, not Cha Yun. Chicken will taste like chicken whether its free range or caged although one taste like good chicken and the other taste just like chicken. Second is the indescribable yun. What makes up cha Yun is the subtle characteristics which remind you of the place, the people and the happenings where you had the tea?!
Yun is an up in the air term. Literally it means Rhyme, the ending of 2 phrases rhyme with each other. The music tones rhyme. It's a term to describe sound.
When yun is used to describe human, it takes on a totally different meaning. Women have lady yun which girls don't. In this context, it means aura, character, charisma, personality.
How can we describe cha yun? To me, it's how a tea makes you feel, the energy created in your body that reminds you of something consistently when drinking similar teas.
When I drink Long Jing, the lightness, greenness, and the shapes of floating young leaves make me think of the infamous beautiful ladies of Su Zhou and Hang Zhou, the silkiness associates with real silk also a famous product of Su Hang. ladies of Su Hang are famous for being thin, soft spoken and fair skin with a fragile look. Long Jing is a shadow of all those above. I don't drink much green tea including LJ. Not for the lady like reason, or is it?! :p
Aged pu-erh gives me a nourishing feel, grounded and protected. It's the aging effect I suppose. Like a father caring for his child. I associate pu-erh with a masculine energy, Wuyi rock tea also give me the male masculine energy.
Dan Cong, reminds me of an out side world unlike any metropolis or even a country site. 世 外 桃 园 a peach garden out side of this world. The floral aroma will lighten your feet, lift your spirit off the ground, the honey taste is warm to the soul, leaving you worry free.
Each person perceive things differently, and each tea effects every one differently as well. That's why cha yun will vary for each person.