We often receive emails asking for recommendation. It's not easy to pick out a tea base on the name, look or tasting notes. There are many rating systems out there to help tea lovers to know more about a tea. Such as how many stars for aroma, flavor, smoothness, so on. It's much easier to use such a system when teas are quite different in style, quality or far off by region. I find it difficult to apply this rating system when teas have very similar characteristic and quality within a small niche.
Dan Cong oolong evolves as time continues on. Fresh new tea is aromatic in the nose, a year or two later, it's aromatic in the mouth, 5 years later, it's all in the texture. Something may not
be outstanding in a bunch now, it might become extremely appealing a year or two later. I often find surprises like this. Periodically re-cupping our selections to track the development is a big task from time to time. Although drinking tea is a daily activity of mine, drinking mindlessly and cupping are rather different matters.
As an attempt to make it easier for our customers to select teas, here is a list of teas I revisit in recently which I think that have reached prime. This condition can last 2 to 3 years in sealed container. Two key characteristics I look for in teas are aroma and texture, aroma must be present in flavor that is drinkable not only detectable by nose, texture is rich and smooth leaving your tongue smooth like silk afterward. A good tasting tea leaving your tongue feeling like sand paper does not quality as great tea. A great tea must satisfy these two requirements.
2012 Hong Di - Red Stem (very good with the right water, extremely sensitive to water quality)
Note: keeping tea air tight is very important in sealing in the flavor. I have lots open bag teas laying around, some are in zip-lock foil bags. However no matter what you use to close, tea quality do deteriorate over time. I had a bag of Ba Xian in a zip-locked bag for over a year, every time I drank it, it was not satisfying compared to others. Today I open a heat sealed bag which was sealed 2 years ago, wow, the fragrance is there, the texture is smooth, butter is the word! It performs very well as an old tree Dan Cong should be. A great buy for the value! It's a lesson to be learn and practice consistently for some one who has a lot of teas laying around. :P