Dan Cong Cupping Event …. Week 2

IMG_9212In week 2 of the Dan Cong Cupping Event, Cuppers tasted and evaluated three teas; Shi Hua Xiang (Persimmon Flower Fragrace) Super Grade, Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid Fragrance) 2nd Grade and Ya Shi Xiang (Duck Shit Fragrance) 2nd Grade. The comments demonstrate a wide range of taste preferences with some Cuppers clearly preferring one tea while others preferred another. This week compared different grades as well as flavor and aromatic subtleties.

 

Sample #004 – Shi Hua Xiang (Persimmon Flower Fragrance)– Super Grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
-  Long dark black, lightly twisted whole leaves. Some lighter pieces and smaller pieces. Fairly graded.
- uniform, dull, pale olive brown, medium sized leaves, some stems
- dark green, long twisted, uniform
- fat green-black strips, broken, about 5% gold leaves
- Dark green to black, long, uneven and slightly twisted
- Long twisted dark brown to black leaves
- Dark Green/Brown, mix of whole and broken
- green with shades of brown, rolled evenly shaped
- branches, big and small leaves
- uniform twist style dark brown with green hue
- long, thin, lightly rolled leaves, dark green to dark brown color
- Dark green, short, slightly twisted or folded leaves.
- Wiry twisted 5cm ave length leaf. Dark green to black. Some stem showing
- Different thickness shapes, not uniform in with yellow parts
- Twisted / Black / Glossy

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Dry roasted, bread crust, burnt coco, nutty
- peach (faint)
- earthy malty, some kale, malt, dry stove
- very woody, figgy-apricot
- Strong bready aroma with a slight sweetness. A "soft" aroma.
- French toast aroma
- creamy toast with honey
- Wet heavy
- sweet pitted fruit, lightly roasted chestnuts
- sweet, little flower
- cranberry mild and sweet aroma
- roasted (popcorn), sweet, honey, light nutty aroma, buttery, hint of tropical fruit
- Dark green, short, slightly twisted or folded leaves.
- Roasted coffee with chocolate and almond.
- Mild and natural
- Bready / Nutty / Malty

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Dark green, spinach. Still twisted. Good, vibrant color with some yellow highlights.
- medium green, vibrant, uniform, tightly rolled
- wet tea, long leaves uniform in color
- dark green, like slightly cooked spinach; wiry and velvety
- Loosely crinkled, whole, uneven leaves, dark to medium green
- Tightly twisted deep green colors
- Green leaf, starting to unfurl
- green broken leaves with minimally roasted edges
- sweet, little flower
- beautiful dark brown
- long, thin, uniformly colored, leaves sometimes have brown edge, no tips, not fully opened
- Nice bright green long and twisted leaves looking as if lightly to moderately oxidized.
- Army green with stem more present. Leaf still unfirled. No buds. - light yellowish green, natural and elastic
- Twisted / Dark Green 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Salty, sweet toasted, creamy, rich. Light vegetal green notes. Smooth with fruity finish.
- Delicious, rose petals, cumin seed, orange blossom, boiled potatoes
-  some seaweed, kale, malt essences
- fresh cut wood with mild seaweed
- Bready, soft, golden, and grassy
- Herbal dry grass and sweet creamy
- Sweet honey, floral
- heavy almost burnt roasted nuts like almonds or hazelnuts
- like butter, fire and little flower
- subtle pleasant perfume like aroma
- buttery, sweet, tropical, hint of maracuja, lily flowers at the end
- Toasty with a slight floral note.
- No loyalty to dry leaf. Baked smell with Don Cong floral fragrances in the back.
- lmild and natural fragrance
- Savory / Salty / Sweet / Fruity

Liquor Color:
- Pale straw yellow. Clean and clear with good brightness.
- pale yellow-brown
- light gold, clear
- very light yellow wash, pale yellow-brown
- Light golden, clear
- Hay yellow with very little particulate
- Golden Yellow
- light gold color
- light yellow
- pale gold
- light yellow, clear
- Light amber but there were lots of particles in the bottom of the cup.
- Slightly cloudy. Yellowish with slight brown tint.  Aroma very light with very slight vegital smell.
- light yellow
- Yellow

Flavor:
- Smooth, nutty. Notes of plain bread. Simple with some floral notes in the finish. Some creamy mouth-feel.
- full, chewy, crisp, satisfying
- clean smooth, neutral, soft water taste (Calcium?) a little metallic
- light flavor of vegetable stems, no fruit, no roastiness, light flowery
- Slightly sweet and bready, medium astringency, some asparagus notes. Bright and light.
- Dried grass, herbal with a well balanced mouthfeel
- little sweet and floral.  Thick mouth feel.  Plesant and easy to drink
- smooth full body and mouth tea, sweet grass/herbal tone
- I think 2min, infusion time is short
- smooth and pleasant, extended finish
- creamy, buttery, sweet, tropical fruit, nutty in the end. Fine, light.
- A slightly astringent, smooth mouth feel. The fingering was light and lingering after one minutes. Noted a floral and vegetal yet slightly sweet taste.
- Very thin and lacking. Almost no body. Slight metalic flavor behind some stick. Way too clean. Picks up some sweetness and mouthfeel as cools. No legs.
- mildly complex fragrance and sweetness
- Malty / Savory / Nutty / Hay / Slight bitterness / Smooth mouthfeel

Comments:
-  Over all a nice tea though better sorting/grading could have improved the final infusion. It had some complexity and while a nice tea generally, was a bit mild. 2nd infusion was much milder than first. There was more clarity to the flavor but less complexity. Still, it was smooth, creamy, mild and elegant.
- This is a really lovely tea that, at least under these conditions, hit on nearly all dimensions.
- Second infusion brought out more character
- a little tinny, the effect on tongue was like eating a popsicle stick or peanut shells
- I liked the lightness and softness of this tea.
- A pleasant tea with a well balanced mouthfeel and lingering herbal aftertaste.
- Overall a pleasant tea with a good, thick mouth feel.
- very nice tea with gentle flavors
- The 2nd was felt little flower.
- impressive lingering back of throat finish, nice "qi"  would drink as everyday tea
- Very  nice tea with interesting flavor palate, balanced. Finish is creamy.
-
- 2nd infusion (180F-2min) had no appreciable aroma and taste decreased over 1st infusion, but appeared to have more mouthfeel. Leaf still unfirled.  Then did an infusion of new leaf with 7gms in 150 Chou Zhou clay pot for 20 sec at boiling: still nothing in flavors, mouthfeel improved along with aftertaste. Only flavors were woody vegital. I took a 2nd infusion from Chou Zhou (boiling 30 sec) and chilled to 53F then 62F:  At 53, very light aroma of jasmine & lilac. Flavors very subduded but not unpleasent - better than 180/2min, but still lacking substance. At 62F, aroma more intense with same notes as 53. No change in flavors or over all taste. Chilling did not improve mouthfeel or aftertaste.
- Dry leaf looks not so nice, but it tastes very good with its mild,natural and complex. The best taste this week.
- While the aromas and flavors are complex, they cancel each other out resulting in flavorless infusion.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 2 5 5 3  
Leaf Aroma 3 5 4 3  
Liquor Aroma 1 7 3 4  
Liquor Flavor 4 4 3 2 1

 

Sample #005 – Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid Fragrance) - 2nd   

Grade Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Long black, wiry leaves. Slender with twist. Some smaller pieces but well graded.
- charcoal black, long wiry leaves
- slightly smaller leaves, some broken, dark brown
- black-brown smallish pieces, stems 15%
- Dark brown/black, some stems, long, uneven leaves, slightly twisted
- Very long leaf almost black in color with a tight twist
- Dark Brown/Black. Twisted, primarily whole leaf
-
- Black
- uniform size, shape and color
- long, thin, slightly curled leaves with different size, dark brown to black color
- Long, lightly twisted leaves of varying length, not uniform and dark green.
- 5cm well twisted leaf without stem showing. Dark green whole leaf.
- some dark, in uniformity with its color and shapes
- Dark Brown / Twisted / Wiry

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Very fruity. Sweet, nutty. Dry with baked notes.
- unripe banana
- musty, mushroom, dirt, corn flakes
-
- milled grain
-
- hoppy after warming
- woody, very roasty, dark chestnuts
- Sweet and winey, slight floral overtone
- Ash and tobacco smell - Plum, woody
-
- flower
- upfront honey nose
- intensive floral aroma
- lily; hint of ylang ylang flowers, sweet, cane sugar, honey
- Tropical, floral, lovely fragrance with a hint of wet wood.
- Roasted coffee and Brazil nut.
- Sharp and strong fragrance
- Fruity / Sweet / Woody

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown/green color. Still twisted. Dull color.
- olive green, tightly rolled, brown, rusty
- dark green, slushy
- brown-black, some dark yellow leaves; soft & a little velvety surface - Unevenly twisted and open whole leaves, dark green and brown
- Still twisted tightly with a dark brown color
- Dark Brown, twisted.  Not unfurled
-
- not open leaves, green and black
- uniform brown
- different size, not fully opened, very thin, no tips
- Leaves will quite twisted after the first infusion.
- Dark green to black with stems present in predominantly whole leaf.
- Brownish color, no elasticity at all,
- Coppery to Dark-Green 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Fruity and nutty. Pumpkin notes. Medium body with some slight smokiness and a rough edge.
- pineapple, bubble gum, musk
- corn meal, rye overtones
- woody with wet pennies
- Light, slightly sweet and bready, very slightly fruity
- Herbal, dill smell with a slight ash note
- Minty, plum.  Floral
-
- flower
- intense honey aroma
- intensive honey aroma, floral – lily
- Perfume and floral but not as forward as in the dry leaf (in hot teapot).
- Picks up some floral scent with burnt smell and cooking candy
-
- complex.
- Sharp and strong fragrance
- Fruity / Herbaceous / Rosemary / Mineral 

Liquor Color:
- Pale amber. Thin but bright and clean.
- amber with pink reflections
- light gold, some orange
- yellow-red color, clear
- Light reddish brown
- Bright orange brown with no particulation
- Chestnut brown, nice shine
-
- brown
- copper color
- light orange brown color with pink tones
- The honey/amber color was clear and bright.
- Burnt orange
- medium brightness, but with slight viscous apperance. Rich aroma with some loyality to dry leaf but with caramel & magnolia added.
- Deep golden color with brownishness, bright
- Orange-red / Purple

Flavor:
- Fruity, sweet. Thin but smooth. The finish lingers.
- nearly flavorless, slight petrochemical, medium astringency, fullness
- some "rust' with clay/earth/ some astringency, nice throat, hint of honey
- very roasted taste, warming
- Winey and slightly floral vapors, medium astringency, bright and golden aftertaste. Bolder than other samples.
- Sweet grapefruit and herbal taste with a slight puckering effect, very forward in the mouth
- lychee, heavy flavor on the tongue. Slight astringent aftertaste.  Very one note.
-
- clean, flower, throat was rough
- very flat and disappointing especially with such an impressive wonderful aroma
- floral, with deep taste of lily, balanced, intensive, full, white grapes and honey, juicy
- The first sip delivered an unexpected flash of astringency on the front of the palate. After one minute, a light finish remained.
- Both honey & orchid came through
- along with some caramel. Body somewhat thin, but wonderful mouthfeel and aftertaste exceeding 3 min. - Strong fragrance with lingering feel
- Herbaceous / Spicy / Floral / Pungent

Comments:
-  A good tea for its grade with balanced characteristics. The finish remained on the palate for a long time. Not too astringent despite the edginess in the aroma. 2nd infusion was still fruity but nuttiness came through more. Good balance. In the finish the astringency increased and lingered but so did the fruitiness. -
- Second infusion seemed to have eliminated astringency
-
- produced greater flavor with accents on honey
- not at all fruity but some floral notes
- I liked the bright taste of the tea, and the additional facet of flavor in the liquor aroma. Very nice tea to drink.
- Very interesting tea with citrus and herbal, the mouth feel was not well balanced. - A good tea but very simple. Easy to drink but uninteresting.
-
- The 2nd was felt fire. I do not this tea.
- Very confusing how a tea with such a wonderful aroma could have such a disappointing flavor
- Very interresting tea with intensive aroma, full bodied, very nice different taste which are nice balanced. Finish is floral with white grapes.
-
- 2nd infusion at 180/2min: Much thiner than 1st. Lost honey taste but kept the orchid taste and smell. Aroma slight. Next new infusion with 150 ml Chou Zhou clay pot (7gms-20sec-boiling): Slight burnt taste. Lost some honey & orchid. Still very good but tea probably optimizes somewhere between 180 & boiling. Improved mouthfeel & legs over 180.  Next, 2nd infusion of Chou Zhou (30 sec/boiling) then chilled to 62F then 53F:  Very rich aroma at 62F! Orchid, lilie and rose. Intense floral taste astringency and slight bitterness. Body still light but functional.  At 53F, aroma very present but less than 62F. Bitterness more up front - this tea may not work chilled. Taste decreased over other methods.  This is the best Honey Orchid I've ever had from a garden but I think it needs some heat.
- Dry leaf seems nice, but strong fragrance.
- The herbaceous taste in this tea was pleasantly surprising.  The flavor improved in the second infusion as the leaves opened.  Even though there was a rosemary-like flavor, it wasn't bitter.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance   3 6 5  
Leaf Aroma 3 4 4 3  
Liquor Aroma 5 3 3 3  
Liquor Flavor 6 1 1 5 1

 

Sample #006 – Ya Shi Xiang (Duck Poop Fragrance) – 2nd Grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Large, green/dark green bulky leaves. Some twist. Some long wiry leaves. Some mix of sizes. Average grading.
- long, intact gray-green leaves, tips pale green, stems yellow
- small mottled brown, some broken
- black with brown tinges; 5-7% yellow leaves, stems
- Very long and loosely twisted, dark green ranging to light sage green
- Plump large leaf, twisted, hunter green in color
- Dark green, very dark - loose rolled or crinkly, multiple shades of green and brown, uneven roasting
- same size, same color , not branches
- large leaves of varying size and color - long leaves, lightly curled, dark green color, sometimes light green color
- Long, green, lightly twisted leaves.
- >6 cm leaf length with a very loose roll (2 cm width) not bent. Color dark green to black whole leaf & parts with some light brown & green leaf.
- Thick and strong leaf with yellowish color, uniform shapes
- Long straight / Dark green with brown streaks

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Floral, green leafy. Mild and well balanced.
- applesauce, black pepper
- bright, sweet, orange undertones, lily of the valley, lilac
- wonderful fruity, apricots
- Vegetal and floral, very light green aroma
- Spicy, herby, lemon/lime - nutty, floral
- herbal, grassy - flower
- sweet aroma-not quite honey
- sweet, nutty - pistachio, hint of peaches and honey
- An unexpected light aroma with no dominating floral fruity notes.
- Intense aroma of roasted coffee, chocolate, and almond milk but with an earthly under aroma.
- Heavy fruit fragrance
- Brown sugar sweetness / Floral / Savory

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Rich dark green with some yellow bits. Still well twisted. Long and slender leaf shape.
- ropy, dark forest green with lighter highlights, brown speckles
- dark green, various size
- wonderful fruity, apricots
- Medium green, long open leaves, loosely crinkled
- Light green, tightly twisted
- Green, twisted. Not really unfurled - broken uneven coloring - green, not open leaves - more uniform reddish
- long leaves, not fully opened, no tips, not uniformly colored, sometimes with brown color
- Leaves remained lightly twisted after the first infusion and were a dark greenish-brown.
- Dark green unfirled leaf with a few stems.
- Fresh and natural color. Leaves are very natural.
- Dark green / Whole leaves 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Fresh, floral, sweet, creamy, juicy. Excellent!
- Irish Spring soap, cooked zucchini
- lilac, honeysuckle
- light, sprouted vegetable
- Sweet and bready and very soft
- Sweet citrus, lemon/lime, hay and dill
- very floral and sweet, honey. Very pleasant
- strong grass or roasted hay
- butter, flower
- sweet
- fruity – overripe fruit, peaches, hint of strange smell reminds sauna
- The aroma was reminiscent of a fruity candle.
- Not loyal to dry leaf. Lavender & orange blossom with creamy smell in back. Earthiness didn't come through.
- Fruit fragrance, some strong
- Fruity / Sweet / Starchy

Liquor Color:
- Light but rich. Spring honey yellow.
- pale yellow-brown, shimmery
- clear, gold, little rust, light green
- light amber-yellow, slight brown, clear
- Light reddish amber, very clear
- Creamy yellow, no particulate
- pale yellow, shiny
- muted marigold
- light brown
- pale gold
- sparkly yellow
- The cup was a dark amber and clear.
- Light yellow with tinge of mustard color. Clear and not viscous. Aroma has indistinct floral notes with hints of the earthiness from dry leaf.
- Yellow color, maybe the standard color, bright
- Thin / Yellow

Flavor:
- Rich, juicy, mild but green and fresh. Light astringency but within range. Some minerally notes.
- sweet, apple juice, mid-tongue astringent, nice
- silky, peach that is slightly ripe, floral,  fresh violets
- honeysuckle with grape after about 3 seconds
- Floral initial flavor giving way to slight astringency, then a bright and slightly green flavor. Very light and slightly sweet.
- Dill and citrus flavor with a spicy aftertaste that lingers, astringent
- nutty, all over the mouth, good mouth feel.  Not bitterness or astringency.  Light floral taste with a minty finish.
- smooth at first with storng character. Finish is slightly astringent and dry mouth
- throat was rough
- pleasant mouth feel, sweet but not much finish
- floral, sweet, honey, dried apricots, light, young hazel nuts in the end
- The taste was bright, floral with a long finish.
- Very well balanced! Flavors not real strong but strong body & legs makes this tea grow on you by 3rd taste. Plus 2 min legs. Picked up astringency & slight bitterness as cooled but added a slight cream and honey-orchid taste.
- Heavy fruit fragrance, full and smooth
- Pungent / Grapefruit / Mouth-coating / Tart

Comments:
- My favorite tea so far. Though sorting could have been better, the complexity of aroma and taste were quite pleasing. Loved the infused aroma. Taste was better than the grade would indicate. The second infusion was not as sweet as the first but still rich with creamy, floral and juicy elements.
- Nicely manufactured. I would love to see them making this tea.
- Second infusion brought out more of the characteristics as described in 7
- satisfies thirst a little; pleasant tannins, mellow, balanced, buttery, thick continually for several minutes; floral on top of tongue (exhale); cooling on top of tongue (inhale)
- I like this tea for its ability to relax and draw attention towards the tasting experience. The light and bright flavor makes it good for an intentional tea "break".
- Interesting flavor with the spicy after taste. Definitely astringent, drying both the tongue and roof of my mouth.
- a delicate mouth feel with subtle flavors.
-
- The 2nd was felt butter, fire. Throat was felt rough.
- I liked the dry leaf appearance with varied size shape and color. Was expecting more flavor
- Interesting tea, quite light, nice aroma of dried leaves, but taste was different, light, not too much body. Finish is fruity.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the appealing light, floral scent. The taste was smooth with a mild astringency. The long wide leaves showed red edges that I expected would provide a deeper flavor. I was surprised by the slight smooth and floral flavor. My favorite of the tasting thus far.
- 2nd Infusion at 180/2min, was much more floral tasting but aroma was more subdued.  Still had unfurled leaf.  Followed 2nd infusion with Chou Zhou clay pot infusion of new leaf (7gms-150ml-20 sec-boiling): aromas were unchanged but the taste came alive!  Complex flavors of magnolia, almond milk, with slight vegetal undertones. Dan Cong flavor profile but floral notes were subdued. Wonderfully balanced with strong body and plus 2 min aftertaste.  Next, chilled 2nd infusion from Chou Zhou (30 sec boiling) to 62F, then 53F:  62F had floral aromas but with a light cedar smell in back. Tea became very bitter at 62 (more than 53) and this overshadowed other tastes.  At 53, aromas were light but complex - like walking in a garden.  Astringency & bitterness present with floral notes but no cream. Tea was better at 53 than 62 but not servable in a restaurant chilled.  This tea needs Gong Fu
-
- very, very good.
- Infused leaf is very natural and fresh, the most excellent infused leaf this week. It tastes are nice
- Second infusion was calmer, but still pungent with notes of chrysanthemum.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 4 3 7 2  
Leaf Aroma 2 6 5    
Liquor Aroma 4 5 5    
Liquor Flavor 6 5 1 2  

 

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09 2017

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