Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Results of first tasting

Past Sunday was perfect for tea tasting, small group and lots tea! We had 11 teas, 9 of 2009, 1 of 2008 and the 70's Liu Bao.

Here are my personal favorites after the first tasting. I may change my mind later with few teas to have at the same time.
You Hua - Pomelo Flower <---- like it alot Lao Cong Zhi Lan - Old bush Cattleya Orchid <--- love it
Lao Cong Dan Cong - Old Bush Dan Cong
(no specific aroma) <----- very good
She Men - She's Entrance
<----- very good (She is the oldest tribe living on the hills of Phoenix Mountain. This tea is one of the very old and original before all the new mutated varietals we know nowadays)
Zu Ye -Bamboo Leaf <---- like it alot
Updates: After drinking this tea for 3 or so times, I can say a couple more things about it than "like it alot". :P

This tea is rather delicate, a classic Dan Cong that's floral of the Zhi Lan Xiang type, clear light yellow liquid is a sweet fragrant nectar, refreshing as a young girl, creamy as an educated young mind. Sweet and delicate!
Looking at this thin pointy shaped leaf, you know why it's named Bamboo Leaf.

Ju Duo Jai - Almond aroma <------- Like it
Ya Shi - Duck Shit (Yup!)
<----- Love it
Gong Xiang - Tribune Aroma
<------Love it
Huo La Cha - Fire Spicy Tea
<------ Like it
Mo Li - Jasmine Aroma
<----- like it alot (Very limited production of this particular aroma of DC on the hills, even smaller than Ginger Flowers. Most of the time, you can only hear of its existence without ever lay eyes on the tea. NOT the same as Jasmine tea!)
The Mo Li-Jasmine DC leaves are particularly beautiful, even size, nicely rolled with a sheen of shine, very tender leaves of even redness-sign of even fermentation. The aroma is beautiful as well. It's a master piece.


Herb Master said...

There are some fine sounding names and teas here. I was wondering if you would brew Duck Shit in the same pot that one used for thief shit?

But your tasting notes suggest that it should share the same pot as "Lao Cong Zhi Lan - Old bush Cattleya Orchid " and therefore al Zi Lan Dan Congs?

I have just started drinking your 1998 Hai Mei Zhan - and would never have guessed it was a Dan Cong, the early brews as you pointed out were very wuyi-ish. The later brews did show some extra finesses but as I am unfamiliar with plum wine I could not ascertain your taste analysis - possibly winey or gamey came to mind.

what does the Hae element of the name mean, mei Zhan is a well known cultivar in both Min Nan and Min Bei - is this a similar cultivar in Fenghuang or a totally different one given a similar name?

Steven Knoerr said...

Thank you for your blog, which I've been reading through hungrily (thirstily?). I've never tasted Dan Cong teas, though I've read about them. I am a tea lover and appreciator, but I'm a little afraid that I'm not wise enough in the way of tea to truly understand this type of oolong; or that my palate isn't discerning enough.

How does one prepare to drink these Dan Cong teas, and what kind of palate does it take to really understand them?

ItsAboutTea said...

I think it is so awesome that you get to sample so many fine varieties of tea. Especially the almost non-existent ones. Would love to taste them with you.

Imen said...

Herb Master,

You can share a same pot for all of the above teas, or any Dan Congs within 3 years of the same roasting. I use a different pot for aged Dan Congs. Commercial grade Dan Congs should use a separate pot if you can.

Lao Cong Zhi Lan is Zhi Lan Xiang type, mother tree of many commercial crop Zhi Lan Xiang.

Hai means ocean. It's a Phoenix Varietal and not a transplant from Fu Jian. Given the close proximity of the 2 regions geographically, they must share some similar varietals, whether they are grown commercially or not, it's a choice of the locals and local government. Distinctiveness most likely is the choice, therefore Hai Mei Zhen is not a popular choice, hence small production, so small that it's relatively unknown.

Imen said...


Thank you for reading! :)
Tea is a wonderful world, isn't it?!

Dan Cong is no different from any other types. There are good Dan Congs and there are not so good Dan Cong. There is industrial grading systems to sort the good from the bad. This practice is hardly reflected through retail sellers.

To become wise on tea, the more you drink the wiser you become. And the wise way to learn about tea is drink the same type of tea side by side. Once you drink a commercial DC and an Old Single Bush DC side by side, it's effortless to identify which is better, there you can build up a taste/texture profile for your palate. It doesn't take a particular palate to appreciate DC. The tea itself builds your palate.

Here is a detail article about how to brew DC:

For easy brewing, 1 to 2 grams in a cup or gaiwan, drink as you go without worrying the timing. Good DC will not turn bitter. This is how I drink my DC on a busy day.

Imen said...


I'm grateful and consider myself extremely lucky to have such wonderful teas.

If you are in LA area, we have Sunday tea tasting, or you can give me a call to schedule a weekday tasting for your convenience. :)

ItsAboutTea said...

I unfortunately live in Michigan so that is not likely to happen. I do come out to the west snowboarding in the winters. Perhaps if I get close enough...

thewulongkid said...

My first attempts at blogging...a little behind the times...probably spend too much time drinking tea.

Anyway, just received the tea stove and waiting to fire it up. Can't decide what to order as far as the '09 Dan Congs yet, but I do appreciate the comments by Imen about the different pots. Need to invest in some more Yixings.

Any recommendations for quality poys at reasonable prices?

Imen said...


You are welcome here any time. :)

We also offer sample packs for you to try at your convenience.

Imen said...


We will soon offer sample packs of the 09 DCs.

For Dan Cong teas, Chao Zhou red clay pots are the most suitable ones. We sell them at the store, but not posted on line. If you want to use Yixing instead, Zhu Ni or Zi Sha are both good clay, pot shape is better with round toward flat, must be thin walled, thinner the better, small size is also a better choice, 100 ml or less is ideal.

Steven Knoerr said...

Imen, would you please let me know when you have the '09 Dancong samplers ready? I'm very anxious to try. Your description has me fidgety with anticipation.

You can reach me via Twitter by direct messaging me at 39steeps, or you can email at steven (at) chicagocaptioning (dot) com.

I would want to explore the teas and write up the experience on my blog, which I use as a notebook of what I'm learning about tea. I wish I lived nearby, because I'd be in my car right now, heading over to your tea shop.

Imen said...

Hi Steven,

Yes, the sample packs are ready at my website teahabitat dot com.

Did you receive my email in respond to your email? :)

Steven Knoerr said...

Imen, I keep coming back to your blog to fantasize about your dan cong teas. I hope your stock won't disappear before I can afford to buy your sampler!

thewulongkid said...

I keep coming back to this blog almost every day, too, Steven, and to the website. It's my fantasy tea-shop visit. I buy what I can when I can, and the best thing about it is that the Wulongs, especially the Dan Congs keep well, if not get better with age.

I look at it as my stash for retirement. It's not going to spoil. When I want, I take out a few grams of the older suff, roast it up a bit, and treat myself.

So fantasy is good, but a gram of tea in the hand is worth two on the bush.