Posts Tagged ‘juicey honey peach’

Dan Cong Cupping Event … Week 3

IMG_9063The final series of teas in the Dan Cong Cupping Event contained two teas. One was a Shui Mi Xiang (Juicy Honey Peach fragrance) and the other was a very special “Qing Xiang” (Pure or Light fragrance) that was aged 12 years.

After completing their evaluations of all 8 teas, the Cuppers ranked each of the teas according to their own personal preference. They also offered their final thoughts on the teas and the Cupping Event in general. Finally, the combined rankings of all the teas were tabulated resulting in an overall picture of which teas were preferred the most and which the least. Some Cuppers clearly preferred one tea while other Cuppers were at the opposite side of the range.

Dan Cong’s are named primarily for their aroma (xiang). The infusion method used in this Cupping Event allowed for these varied aromas to take a prominent position in the evaluation. Usually, taste is more important but these teas were, for the most part, able to put greater emphasis on the aroma. In their comments, several Cuppers indeed commented that the light infusions had a milder taste and therefore made them focus on the aromas. In the end, they are named for their fragrance “xiang” so the aroma should be weighted more heavily, perhaps equal to taste.

Sample #007 – Shui Mi Xiang (Juicy Honey Peach Fragrance) – Super Grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
-  Slender, long, dark brown / green leaves. Medium length with some smaller leaves.
- medium, nicely intact leaves, not twiggy, medium brown, lively
- Dark green/black, long twisted full leaf
- Very even color, brown
- Dark brown, like coffee
- even brown broken  straight leafs, slightly roasted
- black, same size, beautiful
- uniform brown
- dark brown to black color tea leaves, not uniformly size, lightly curl, sometimes stems
- Long, twisted leaf but with an  inconsistent size. Leaf was dark greenish-brown alluding to a mid-oxidized leaf.
- 6 cm have twisted whole leaf (stems not apparent) dark reddish brown to black color, with occasional pale brown leaf.
- Long thin / Dark brown

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Fruity, sweet tobacco with slight burnt notes.
- over-ripe strawberry
- Mint undertones with some orange peel, cinnamon
- no fruit, slight almond
- Earth, ocean air
- very fruity, melon like cantaloupe
- It was just Dan Cong tea
- sweet honey
- sweet, fruity
- honey, apple juice, lightly red currant
- Very pleasant and sweet smelling with a hint of stone fruit, but also slightly floral.
- Coffee and baked chocolate with stone fruit, aroma very rich.
- Berries / Sweet / Malty

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Very dark brown/green plumb leaves. Still twisted.
- mottled dark green-brown, intact
- dark spinach appearance - stiff, shiny, velvet
- Dark green, still twisted
- same as dry appearance
- black, not yet open leaves
- reddish brown
- not uniformly colored
- Infused leaf was greener than anticipated, had a wide variety of color present and had many shorter broken pieces.
- Twisted unfurled leaf with a few short stems, predominately reddish brown with some army green color.
- Green-grey

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Sweet but slightly sour. Notes of burned gunpowder phosphorus (firework on a summer night). Deep.
- black pepper, spice, unseasoned roasted meat
- subtle, light, no body
- slight fruit, peachy - sweet and floral, honey
- sweet fruit
- deep fire taste, high quality
- same sweet honey character but more intense
- peaches, honey, apple peel
- The spicy-peachy aroma was lovely, something I took time to appreciate.
- Some loyalty to dry leaf, coffee & burnt chocolate.
- Berries / Meaty / Complex / Honey

Liquor Color:
- Pale amber with gold tints.
- medium pale copper
- slight rust, gold with a slight haze
- deep amber
- Golden color, honey
- bright shade of orange and yellow
- light brown
- brown gold
- brownish yellow color, pure, clear
- The honey-amber liquor was clear and bright.
- Brandy colored, slightly cloudy with medium brightness. Aroma with some loyalty to dry leaf (stone fruit).  Aroma present with every sip.
- Pinkish-Orange / Thin

- Fruity, nutty with light but pleasant astringency.
- wild weeds, dandelion, sharp, bitter, nice, interesting
- moss, light with some acidity, smooth, some sweetness, some tree bark
- minerals, slight fruit ; aftertaste definite peach
- One note, subtle flavor.  Smooth mouth feel all over.  Light floral flavor with a minty finish.  Delicate.
- slightly astringent, fruity front of the mouth flavor, full mouth buttery notes
- flower, clear, good
- complex subtle brisk finish sweetness there but very subtle as well
- fruity, juicy and sweet, little bit earthy in the end, apple juice, floral like ylang ylang flowers
- The taste was not as I anticipated. It had a long but mild finish with a light astringency after one minute.
- Bold taste
- flavors come through consistent with aroma, stone fruit, magnolia with touch of honey.  Body is very thin, but mouthfeel is strong with plus 2 min aftertaste.
- Sunflower-kernel-shell mouth feel / Melon sweetness / Tart cherry

- Nice looking leaves. The predominant fruity taste is quite nice, especially in the 2nd infusion. Over all a good balance. Mild but even. 2nd infusion is less sour than 1st infusion.
- There is a certain sharpness, almost wild or medicinal, about the soup. I normally wouldn't find it true-to-style, or even appealing, but for some reason its complexity convinced me to keep drinking, and I began to really enjoy it.
- Second immersion had a little more acid but all flavors were subtle and hard to distinguish
- Realized that the warm steam interfered with the aroma and the cold leaf was very fruity; also, as the tea cooled, the peach was much more apparent. Tried 1.5 min at 190, taste was more roasty and less minerality
- Easy to drink, but boring.  The leaf aroma, both dry and infused, was so strong and interesting that I had high hopes.  The infused liquor was just mild and uninterseting though.  Nothing offensive or bad about, just nothing terribly interesting.  If I got this at a resturaunt I would have nothing to complain about, but I wouldn't be compelled to buy some for home.
- very nice tea with strong fruity flavor hits the noise as you drink it.
- The 2nd was felt flower, but taste was weak. I think the making tea is good, but tea tree is not good.
- Very interesting flavor. Nice but I thought flavor did not stand up to aroma and appearance but would drink.
- Nice, full bodied tea, interesting juicy taste, which is long time on the tongue. Finish is floral with some heavy tones.
- I found this oolong to be a surprise in a couple of areas. The aroma after the rinse had a captivating fruity-floral appeal, but was very faint in the liquor. I tasted more floral notes than fruity, which was unexpected. I enjoyed the fishing and the light astringency in the cup.
- 2nd Infusion: loses everything, aroma almost gone and taste with no body but slight lingering of Dan Cong floral flavors in backend.  Chou Zhou clay pot infusion (7 gms new leaf, boiling for 20 sec) had similar profile to 1st 180F infusion, but somewhat lighter impression that leaf optimizes GongFu at plus 40 seconds.  No new flavor notes.  Mouthfeel and legs subdued when compared to 1st 180 infusion.  Chilled infusion (2nd Chou Zhou infusion, 30 sec boiling, then cooled in refrigerator).  At 53F, deep aroma of hydrangea, lily, with slight automobile air freshener, distinctly different from previous infusions.  Taste with bitterness up front but interesting combination of DC magnolia flavors and mint. Complex, but layering is more mixed than distinct.  At 62 F, aroma unchanged from 53F. Taste less bitter but astringency still upfront.  Not sure if this leaf could be served chilled in restaurant. May respond to long duration cold infusion.  Taste very floral with slight stone fruit and honey in background. Overall, a very flavorful tea that responds very well to diversity.  Very atypical Don Cong.
- Very complex
- lots of flavors but very mouth coating yet drying.

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 4 4 2
Leaf Aroma 3 6 3
Liquor Aroma 5 4 2 1
Liquor Flavor 5 4 2 1



Sample #008 – Qing Xiang - Aged
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown long leaves with some broken pieces. Lightly twisted.
- mottled browns: umber, sienna. Even medium fragments
- long twisted some gold full long leaf almost black
- red-purple black
- Dark brown, wiry
- long uneven stems, hits of some branches
- black, beautiful,
- uniform
- long brownish black leaves, some of them very long
- Long, lightly twisted leaves of consistent size with a darkish brown color.
- Reddish brown to charcoal black whole twisted leaf, 4 - 7 cm in length. Stem not apparent.
- Thick / Twisted / Dark-Brown / Leaf Pieces

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Mild, dry, light roast with hints of nut shells.
- grana Padano
- dark chocolate, herbaceous, orange, some aroma like grappa
- slightly roasty prune or fig
- Woody, Cedar
- very mild aroma
- like apricot
- very different woodsy aroma no honey or floral
- earthy, fruity
- black currant
- Toasty with a hint of spice.
- Roasted coffee beans with baked unsweetened chocolate.
- Musty dark moss / Sweet / Malty

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown/green. Some bright leaves, some dull. Mix of sizes.
- dark brown, medium fragments, dark green highlights - expanded leave, dark - looks like vanilla beans
- Dark green/brown.  Still twisted
- mainly brown w green undertone
- not yet open leaves, black
- dark brown
- not uniformly colored
- The color was that of amber/honey, clear, but with a bit of tea particles on the bottom.
- Army green to reddish brown unfurled leaf. No stem.
- Dark green mat

 Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Mild, light pear, lychee notes with some nuttiness. Smooth.
- mild fragrance, clean, fresh-washed laundry
- very very subtle, almost none, indistinguishing, lost all the aroma of the dry leaf
- smells like rain
- Fruity, like a grape type smell
- strong aged smell with sweet notes
- apricot, not yet come out taste, good
- reminded me of a nice sheng puer, a little smokey
- fruity, tangerine, hint of lemon, citrus peel
- Detected a soft floral note.
- Coffee, with burnt chocolate & stone fruit.  Burnt smell predominates.
- Sour / Slight honey sweetness

Liquor Color:
- Deep amber/brown with some depth. Gold tints.
- light brown, pink hue
- deeper rust with some gold, clear
- dark yellow-brown; like some beers
- light brown, shiny
- slight green
- light brown
- copper color
- brownish yellow color with pink tones
- Surprising astringent. Probably shouldn't have been a surprise considering it's been aged for 12 years.
- Brandy colored, medium brightness but no cloudiness. Aroma very light with slight perfume and lilac.
- Pale greenish-orange

- Deep fruity taste but mild. Preserved plum or stone fruit. Some astringency which lingers. Currants!
- meaty, full, chewy, mild, pleasant astringency, hint of tropical fruit (guava)
- mint, tannic bite, some astringency especially in the cak, flowery, pucker at end
- like something burnt; very mineral aftertaste
- Floral open with a more vegetal finish.  Smooth mouth feel, all on roof.  A little sweet
- full mouth upon first sip, soft round finish, slight green/grassy flavor, fruity/sweetness on the finish
- clear scent, making is good , I felt little itchy throat.
- round robust woody nice finish not at all sweet or floral
- fruity, intensive taste of tangerine, lemon in the end, earthy, fine, delicate
- That taste was astringent but mild.
- Flavors too subdued to pick up any layering but mouth feel very pronounced. Body light, even with astringency upfront. Bitterness very slight on backend.  Basic Dan Cong flavor profile, floral and honey with very slight fruit. Legs plus 2 min.
- Flat / Sour / Slight Astringency

-  A nice tea with fruity notes. The astringency is a little excessive but there is also a smooth character. In 2nd infusion the edge is less and currant taste is stronger. I like this one more each time I drink it. Clearly a Milan / Shuimi Xiang type. Pu Er lovers should like this one.
- Longer immersion really brought out tannins…second immersion was much smoother
- A nice complex changing flavor.  Very smooth no bitterness or astringency, very easy to drink - it was ok, the sweetness was mild but I enjoyed the full mouth feeling
- The 2nd was weak taste, clear, beautiful.
- very unusual for Dan Congs I have experienced. Could get used to this one.
- Very interesting taste of tea. I was surprised, that earthy of this old tea was so mild and nice. Finish of this tea is lemony.
- I'm not one for very astringent oolongs, so this one was a bit too tingly for me. The flavor was pleasant and I enjoyed the gentle floral notes.
- 2nd infusion at 180F: Aroma light with slight perfume and osmanthus. DC taste profile with floral notes upfront, but more astringency and bitterness. Long legs remain.  Chou Zhou clay pot infusion (7gms, boiling, 20 sec), yielded aroma of baked chocolate with slight cooked mushroom. Flavors still weak, but mouthfeel strong.  Aftertaste exceeds 180F.  Chilled (2nd infusion Chou Zhou, boiling, 30 sec):  At 53F, light pleasant floral (magnolia and jasmine?) aroma. Taste vibrant with astringency and bitterness upfront.  DC taste profile was in background.  At 53, too bitter for restaurant. At 62F, no change in aroma from 53. Bitterness predominates, covering up flavors.  DC flavors far in the background.  Aftertaste, 1 min.  Overall:  This tea is all about mouthfeel and subtle flavors.  I feel like there's unrealized potential, we haven't optimized this tea.
- No prominent initial smell, however a sweet smell as it cooled. Nothing of interest.

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 1 3 5 3
Leaf Aroma 2 3 2 3 2
Liquor Aroma 4 1 5 2
Liquor Flavor 3 3 5 1


Cupping Event Over-all Ranking

Name Ranks Combined (ranks/10) Final Rank
001 – Ba Xian Xiang 6,4,1,7,3,2,5,2,8,4 42 3
002 – Ye Lai Xiang 5,2,8,8,2,3,8,8,6,7 57 8
003 – Mo Li Xiang 5,5,4,2,1,8,7,7,5,5 49 7
004 – Shi Hua Xiang 1,7,6,4,8,1,2,5,7,6 47 5
005 – Mi Lan Xiang 8,8,5,6,5,7,1,6,1,1 48 6
006 – Ya Shi Xiang 2,3,2,1,4,5,6,1,2,3 29 1
007 – Shui Mi Xiang 3,6,3,5,6,6,3,3,3,2 40 2
008 – Aged Qing Xiang 4,1,7,3,7,4,4,4,4,8 46 4



Final Comments:
- I enjoyed the opportunity to compare so many teas that are Dan Congs but yet so different from one another. The differences in grades of teas as well as types gave a more rounded perspective. It was very nice to have the chance to compare an aged Dan Cong. I’ve been hearing about aged Dan Congs and I know it was quite special to have one 12 years old. I liked some better than others, with the sweeter, fruity ones at the top of my list. However, each one had its attributes. This infusion method clearly let me focus on the aromatic qualities more than the strength of the liquor. I brewed most of the teas a second time using different preparation timings, and water temps. The stronger infusions had more notable yet less complex flavors while the lighter infusions sometimes revealed more complexity. Thanks for the chance to join this event and I look forward to seeing the other people’s comments.
- Fascinating comparisons. This cupping technique really brought out the aromas well; the flavors were generally more muted, so it allowed me to focus on the complexity and depth of scents. In general, well manufactured teas, with a few real standouts: the Shihua Xiang, for example, and the Yashi Xiang. (Interestingly not as "poopy" as some others I've had.) The Qing Xiang is also interesting, first because it was not stylized with reference to another fragrance, and also b/c of its age. The only other aged Dancong I've had was about 5 yrs old, rather than 12 yrs. I really like the richness of flavor, and wonder how aged affects that criterion. The aroma, at least under these conditions, left me grasping for descriptors and so was less impressive than the complex, flowery, spicy, and fruity teas, unless the true-to-style of the moniker is that it would be pure and clean, in which case I'd say, "bullseye."
- Very interesting exploration into subtle flavors.  The warming of the gaiwan brought out very interesting aromas, very, very different from dry leaves.  Flower notes pervaded, so it emphasized the aromas of the tea -  I saw the names of the geographic subregions ( Fenghuang Mt, Wudong Mt, Bijia Mt) on the detailed information pages.  I had expected that the location would have had a larger impact on taste but it did not really seem to be a factor. I found I really had a consistent preference for the fruity and nutty cultivars.  The flowery-only or roasty-only, i did not care for them very much.   A more interactive exchange would have helped me learn more; I felt i was in a quiet vacuum of space, since i have to wait for other peoples' input.  A "chat room" for one tea might be a nice thing to try someday.
- Overall my prior experience with Dan Congs was fairly limited and I primarily viewed them as sort of expensive and esoteric teas.  Due to their generally high cost I hadn't previously explored them much.  These were much more daily drinker type teas than I was expecting which was a nice discovery.
- I like #003. It was like fragrance.  I think Dan Cong tea is special tea, but others were normally. The special tea has value 😀
- Very interesting and enjoyable event. Dan Cong knowledge not that strong before. Discovered some new favorites. Especially Shi Hua. Trying to learn subtle variations among aroma characteristics. Honey orchid, honey peach (more like cranberry to me). Thanks Dan-great job. I can see how hard you worked to put this together.
- Dan Cong Cupping Event was very interesting. I expected more curly oolongs, but I was surprised of very nice taste of these teas. It was great to try traditional way of preparation this kind of tea. I don´t have so much time at work to taste teas like this, calm down and smell to dry leaves, infused, etc. I learned from it and I would prepare teas this way again! I like floral taste of oolongs, so my winner is the tea with taste of lily. Thanks for including an old one oolong. I have never taste so old oolong tea and the taste was very surprising.
- I loved being exposed to teas from this area. It was a good way for me to devote time to cupping. I'm so busy running the shop that I realized from this experience, I need to spend more time cupping. I think I would have liked comparing these teas as they were mostly from the same garden/factory. The samples were very, very generous. I appreciated being able to cup the teas a couple of times. I even included my staff, which I hope is not against any rules. It provided a wonderful educational opportunity for them. Unfortunately, the timing of this cupping coincided with a busy time in the shop, so I was terribly tardy submitting my tasting notes during the second week. I plan to participate in the next session and will use it as an opportunity to schedule cupping "appointment" to adhere to the deadlines. Overall, I found it to be a tremendous experience.
- This is a case where vertical ratings may not tell the story.  I would buy the teas I rated 1 to 6, only ratings 7 and 8 were a problem for me.  I drink a lot of DC single tree and it’s hard not to compare the gardens to the single tree, even though the cost difference is probably 5 to 10x greater. I was very pleasantly surprised with both the quality and diversity. Single tree has a uniformity in profile, differences tend to be subtle. But it appears to me that the gardens are shooting for a diversity that the single trees can't provide, while still retaining that special DC flavor profile.  All 8 were very light body when compared to my single tree, but mouthfeel stood out for so many.  Single trees are noted for very distinct layering. None of these had that, but many showed bold upfront taste with an interesting flavor mix. I was amazed that several had aftertaste duration comparable to my single trees.  My hats off to all the tea makers and to Dan for putting this together. It’s nice to know that people can enjoy good DC's without cashing in their 401Ks.
- I was really looking forward to learning more about this style of tea. While I enjoyed only a couple of the teas, I found this to be a learning experience. The information that Dan provided about each tea was fascinating and educational.


09 2017

Dan Cong Cupping Event Results …. Week 1

Dan Cong Cupping Event

Dan Cong Cupping Event

Dan Cong, meaning “Single Cluster” is one of the famous types of oolong teas in China. With ancient lineage from the Shui Xian varietal, it is said that there are ten different types of Dan Cong tea bushes but “80 aromas”, ranging from flowers, fruits, nuts, and more esoteric resemblances, even Duck Shit fragrance! Wudong Mountain, about 60-70 km West of Chaozhou, is said to be the birth place of Dan Cong tea. Even today, a few of the old Song Dynasty (960-1279ad) bushes can still be found there.

There are two main harvest seasons, spring and fall however, depending on altitude, some farmers may have longer plucking periods for lower altitude bushes and shorter seasons for higher elevations. All the processing steps combined can take around 48 hours; a very labor intensive operation. Very often, leaves from several days harvest are combined to make larger batches. In this case, exact plucking date is not as important as the season. For many oolongs, a few months of resting after processing can “settle” the flavors and they taste better than when first produced. Dan Cong oolongs generally have a shelf life of a few years and can even be aged for a decade or more.

This Cupping Event included Dan Cong teas from different producers, different altitudes, different grades/qualities, single harvest and blends. We are very fortunate to have one sample aged 12 years. Eight different samples were compared in all with the first week including Ba Xian Xiang - 1st grade (Eight Immortals), Ye Lai Xiang - 1st grade (Tuber Rose Fragrance) and Mo Li Xiang - Super grade (Jasmine Fragrance).

Cuppers follows modified professional cupping procedures and recorded their impressions and comments. To remain consistent with traditional Dan Cong cupping methods, the brewing vessel used was a gaiwan rather than usual cupping set. Professional cupping procedure calls for intentionally stronger concentrations so as to detect more elements in the flavor. After making their comments on the full strength infusions, Cuppers were also encouraged to prepare the samples at a more pleasurable strength though these comments were not required to be recorded. Further, many Cuppers re-infused the samples and noted the differences from the first steeping. Following are the Cuppers comments with preference rankings on the four attributes of dry leaf appearance and aroma and infused aroma and taste.

Sample #001 – Ba Xian Xiang – 1st Grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
-  Dark green and black, long gently twisted whole leaves. Uneven grading with some stalks.
- nonuniform size fragments, dark olive green, particles of stem - Long, twisted leaves with some gold, small stems, some green some gold
- very long, wide heavy leaf, very dark brown - Dark green, almost black, large and twisted, not uniform, with some stems - Twisted pieces of varying length with a dark brown color
- Dark Brown/Green, whole leaf, twisted, consistent size - green with a brown overtone, long rolled leafs - Some branches, cut leaves, different sizes leaves, color is green and black
- long, slightly curled leaves with different size. Dark green to brown color.
- Long twisted leaves. Dark green in color. Realtively uniform in shape.
- Color: Army green to dark green with some brown. Length: Ave 4 cm.  Twisted bent leaf with some stem visible.
- Clean,uniformity,good rolling, normal clolor
- Dark brown to black with a slight twist

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Rich, full, earthy, baked/roasted. Vegetal sweetness with hints of tobacco and cocoa.
- Stale bread, old warehouse
- slight hay, earthy, slightly musty, vegetative
- vine or stone fruit, slight smoke
- Sweet and bready, with a faint floral note
- Sweet Creamy and slightly nutty - Sweet, floral
- sweet like honey
- flower
- very intensive aroma of hazel nuts in caramel, sweet, hint of cinnamon
- Slightly vegital, yet floral with a hit of gram cracker.
- Initial vegital aroma (black olive) disapates in seconds, followed by a dry coco with a slightly burnt wood finishing with hits of vanilla and coffee.
- Balanced fragrance (with nuo-mi xiang) (sticky rice)
- Savory / Mushroom / Woodsy / Green

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Dark green long leaves. Still twisted. Deep olive color. Some choppiness (not whole leaves). - medium green, purple
- dark green, leathery, long, still twisted
- very dark green, gnarled, firm like spinach or kale - Very dark green or black, long whole leaves, loosely twisted - Dark green with brown edges
- Whole green leaf, partially unfurled
- full leaf partunically uncurled
- green and black, still rolling
- big leaves dark green color, some stemps, not fully opened, doesn´t contain tips
- After rinse and first infusion, the leaf was still tightly twisted and about 2" long.
- Dark green unfurled leaf parts -
- maceration very obvious. A few stems and whole leafs. No buds, no bugs.  Fair amount of dust.
- Fresh natural green color,shapes in uniformity, good elasticity
- Unfurled / Copper 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Mild but with a slight edge. Some floral notes but firing dominates them. Light, sweet cocoa. Slightly burnt. Fishy.
- peach, vanilla, burnt pastry
- dry grass, herbal, slight lilac, some floral overtones
- woody, buttery toffee, lilly
- Bready and herbaceous and slightly floral
- a "green" scent
- Sweet, Creamy with a slight herbal scent
- Very floral and sweet
- roasted honey buiscuts - flower, fire taste is little
- sweet, honey, slightly floral
- Toasty with a floral hint.
- No loyality to dry leaf
- picks up floral notes (Camilla flowers).
- Balanced and complex fragrance - Smokey / Sweet / Hint of floral

Liquor Color:
- Thin, brownish yellow. Some brightness and depth but with a bit of sediment.
- dull yellow brown - Light golden green, clear,
- pale yellow with brown tinge
- Light golden, very clear
- Golden yellow with small particulate - Honey colored
- dull yellow
- light yellow
- golden yellow color, clear
- Liquor was a light amber.
- Clear apricot color. Mid range on brightness.
- Bright, light yellow
- Deep gold

- Dry, lightly astringent but ok. Too highly fired. Floral notes follow from the aroma but are overshadowed by the high firing.
- mild, sweet, toasted oats, late weak astringency
- Light flavor, pleasant but undistinguished, smooth, some floral
- minerals, pear, rain, bean sprouts, buttery; initial is vegetal/asparagras, metalic on sides of tongue, metalic breath afterwards
- Herbaceous and floral initially, smooth mouth feel. Full but light. Astingent aftertaste
- Honey/Caramel flavor with a hint of parsley in the finish, smooth
- Slight astringent, thick in the mouth.  Tastes of alfalfa, All up front with a bitter finish.  Little depth.
- toasted honey, floral stems
- Dan Congs feature, Fire taste is little
- Smooth, sweet, floral. Hint of jasmin flower, ripe pineapple and milk.
- The initial sip had a flash of astringency then a smooth feel on the palat. The finish was still lingering after one minute.
- Body is weak but has nice mouthfeel without distictive flavors. Undertaste of mushroom is not pleasant but disapates quickly. Backend slightly sweet. Nice aftertaste (>2 min)
- lingering sweetness and fragrance, some full
- A little bitter with some buttery and flowery notes at the back end.

Comments: - I liked the thick mouthfeel with the lingering sweet, floral notes. An average tea which would have been better if more lightly fired during processing.
- Second infusion brought more floral and stronger taste.  Probably great chilled.
- Although the 2nd infusion was optional, at about 2-1/2 min, 180 deg, it was definitely richer and even more lively than the first.
- In general a nice experience, but the aftertaste was too astringent after the light initial aroma and flavor.
- This sweet creamy oolong was pleasant to drink.
- Overall a mediorce tea, no real complexity to make me interested in drinking more.
- really enjoyed buttery/creamy floral tones, very pretty cup of liquor
- The 2nd infusion, Taste and aroma were down.  I think this tea tree is good, but making was rough. I want to have tea as every day's tea.
- Very nice tea with very sweet aroma and liquor flavor. Aroma of leaves is very interresting and full of nuts in caramel. Finish is very sweet and intensive with hint of tropical fruit.
- At 180/2min, this is a marginal tea. 2nd infusion (Gaiwan) at 180/2 min had no taste; however, leaf was still unfurled.  I followed with a new infusion using 7 gms in 150ml Chou Zhou clay pot for 15 - 20 sec at full boil;  Aroma came alive - Lilac and Jasmine. Liqure sweet with flora flavors. Undertones of nutmet and mushroom present during Gaiwan, was promenent at the finish but not overwhelming. Maintained good mouthfeel.  Next I chilled the Chou Zhou 2nd infusion (30 sec, full boil) to 62F (16.7C), then down to 53F (11.7C):  Very Good! At 62F, aromas were intense (using aroma cupping set) with diverse floral & perfume notes. At 53F, lost the aroma, but taste maintained:  no bitterness, astrigency building body. Flavors piggy-back on aroma.  Serve this in a resturant in a Champaign glass with the liquer at a slight chill off room temp.
- Good rolling and fermentation to achieve the balance of leaf and taste, esp. the elastic infused leaf and its natural color.Nice Dancong.
- While this is complex, and had enjoyable characteristics, it was a little all over the board. The second infusion was close to the same as the first, but no astringency, sweet tart taste in mouth.

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 6 5 3 1
Leaf Aroma 4 3 5 3
Liquor Aroma 4 8 3
Liquor Flavor 5 2 6 1 1



Sample #002 – Ye Lai Xiang – 1st grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown/black whole, long leaves. Gentle twist with some glossy sheen. Evenly graded.
- uniform, roasted cocoa nibs color, medium-sized leaves
- very dark, brown, long twisted
- narrow width, somewhat fragile
- Large twisted whole leaves, a few stems. Medium-dark green. A few stems.
- Twisted varying length leaves, light and dark brown in color
- Brown/Black, mix of whole and broken
- loose rolled, shades of bown and green
- branches, tea leaves were different sizes, color is black
- long, thin, slightly curled leaves dark brown, sometimes green color.
- Thin, long twisted leaf. Greenish in color (hinting to mild oxidation)
- Dark green twisted bent leaf (3 - 4cm) with some brown leaf.  Stems not visible on dry leaf.
- not in uniformity in shapes, some stalk
- Dark Green-Black / Some light pieces / Twisted

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Dark, heavily baked but not burnt. Roasted fruit scent (apples). Slight floral high note.
- fresh citrus (lemon-lime), marigold
- some cocoa, milk chocolate overtones, earthy
- delicate fruit
- Woody and Toasty
- Toffee, toast, dried grass or wheat
- Chocolate and Cherry
- melon fruit on yogurt
- smell is little
- roasted nuts, toffee caramel, peach in the end
- Spicy with a floral note and a hint of chocolate.
- Roasted almond with coffee, roasted cocoa, and a slight vanilla.  Luxurious aroma.
- Strong fragrance
- Savory / Fruity-sweet / Hint of Toastiness

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Dark olive green. Fairly uniform. Long and strippy. Still well twisted. Uniform shape and not choppy.
- green, brown, brined olive colors
- spectrum: green-black-red-purple
- overcooked spinich,dark green, looks"slimy" in some ways
- stiff, shiny, long-twisted
- Dark Brown, whole and loolely twisted. Uneven.
- Wirey long leafs of mixed color - Dark brown and black, still mainly twisted - light roasted green, smooth edge oblong leaf
- dark green, still rolling
- long, thin, dark green, uniformly colored, no tips, not fully opened
- Infused leaves measured about 2.5-3" long but were not uniform seeing many smaller leaves, perhaps due to packaging, shipping, etc. The color was greener than anticipated based on the dry leaf. Was expecting it to be more oxidized.
- Army green to brown. Very Unfurled! Maceration very prominent
- very thin leaf parts with a few stems. No buds.
- Uniform deep brown color, too tenderised to be squeezed by fingers
- Dark green / Twisted 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Green, floral, sweet, candy like cooked sugar. Good depth with light earthy tones.
- condensed milk, dulce de leche
- vegetal, herbal, light
- sweet, slightly ashy, honey-like
- Woody and toasty, and a little musty
- very light.
- Toffee, toast
- Slightly floral, a little burnt.  No strong aromas
- fruity and sweet with a hint of cigar smoke
- flower, swet, deep
- honey, roasted, lightly floral
- Bright, spicy aroma with a hint of rose.
- Woody pan fired smell
- no loyality to dry leaf.
- Strong and sharp fragrance, but disappeared to be light in 5 minutes
- Smoky / Metallic / Citrus / Woodchips

Liquor Color:
- Light brown with red tints. Thin but bright.
- energetic brown-yellow, slight copper
- medium gold, rich, clear, slight orange
- definite orange, not amber-brown
- Light reddish amber, clear
- Bright Amber, small particulate, but bright
- Dark orange
- golden yellow with orange undertones
- brown
- light yellowish brown
- Liquor had a honey/amber appearance.
- Peach color (burnt orange)  Somewhat dull color.  Wonderful light aroma of Camillas with hints of jasmine and lavender. Like walking outside of a flower garden with catching a light breeze.
- Deep yellow, some turbid
- Deep orange

- Astringent and a bit too highly fired. Strong mineral taste with hints of dried flowers. Not very complex. - light brothiness, lingering full astringency, fullness
- slight hay, mild, slightly burnt, some astringency/bitterness, earthy
- Taste was strong, bitter, sooty, harsh and floral together; like drinking perfume and burning wood; astringent on sides of tongue, stayed astringent on top-middle; the bitter is less noticeable after 10-15 sec; gritty like under-ripe peach or pear
- Highly astringent, floral in the back of the throat. Some vegetal notes.
- Herbal, vegital taste with notes of celery and an astrigent feel
- A melon flavor but quickly overwhelmed by bitterness.
- creamy mouth feeling
- flower, the 1st have not taste, roasted is good
- young hazel nuts, hint of peach, honey in the end
- Shockingly astringent on the front of the tongue. Mildly astringent after one minute.
- Nice!  Floral notes very similar to Single Tree Dan Cong Night Jasmine flavor.  Light body with astringency building mouthfeel on backend. Aftertaste +1 min.
- Burnt strong fragrance with some sweetness, but became light and disappeared immediately in mouth.
- Bitter / Tart / Roasted Green Pepper / Astringent

- The aromatic high notes were nicely complex on this tea with good depth as well. Some sweetness but fairly simple with minimal complextity.
- Overall quite good.
- Second infusion brought more chocolate flaver, more assertiveness, slightly bitter - Shared the tasting with some friends conscensus was this tea was better (milder) with 1-1.5 min.
- I am not fond of teas that are very astringent, so I did not like this tea much.
- The astrigent feel took away from the vegital flavors.
- The bitterness was very overwhelming
- one of my favorite dan congs, the creamy texture with a hint of smoky notes is amazing
- The 2nd infusion, I felt more deep butter. The 2nd was good. I think this tea is brewed more and more.
- Generally a nice tea, but quite weak in taste. Intensity in leaf aroma is not in taste. Finish is fruity and sweet.
- This is a tea you want to work with to optimize the codes. Very good 180F/2min 1st infusion, but had nothing left for 2nd infusion (still had lots of unfurled leaf).  Chou Zhou clay pot infusion (7gms, 150ml pot, full boil for 15 - 20 sec), yielded a much darker liquer, but flavors similar to Gaiwan. Notes not softer than Gaiwan but more balanced, yielding a better mouthfeel. Picked up some bitterness as cooled, also losing the floral notes.  Chilled (Chou Zhou 2nd infusion for 30 sec full boil, then cooled):  tea did not do well.  Bitter at 53F (11.7C) and 62F(16.7C)
- covered the flavors and mouthfeel. This tea was so good hot, I would try other leaf volumes before discounting the chilled.
- Some stalks, strong and sharp fragrance but disappeared later, no lingering flavor. Infused leaf is too tenderised, maybe over-fermented.
- Our group did not like this tea. It is very bitter on the first infusion with a metalic aftertaste. Second infusion had a damp foliage and forest floor aromas.

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 6 1 5 1
Leaf Aroma 3 5 3 4
Liquor Aroma 1 8 3 2 1
Liquor Flavor 3 3 3 2 4


Sample #003 – Mo Li Xiang – Super grade
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown with some black. Strippy whole leaves. Longer than samples 1 and 2. Farily evenly graded but some smaller broken pieces.
- dull, brown-black, highlights of deeply oxidized bronze
- medium length, dark dark green, little gold
- dark black with green hue
- Dark brown, medium length, twisted
- Wirey leaves of varying length, dark brown, almost black in color
- Black, twisted, whole leaf
- dark brown, tightly rolled
- beautiful, the size is same, all are black
- different size, quite long, thin, dark brown
- Dark green, long, thin twisted leaves.
4 - 5 cm twisted leaf parts with occasional whole leafs (thin).
Brownish charcoal color with some mahogany color.
- Very clean, almost the same thickness for each leaf, uniform shapes
- Dark Brown / Twisted / Hint of purple glossiness

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Dried grass. Tobacco. Light sweetness with some hints of burnt cocoa.
- distant fruit market, freshly picked berries
- earthy, malty, bright
- green honeydew melon, smoky, wet metal
- Woody, bready, and fungal. Slightly toasty.
- Manure/farm smell, wet hay and chicken poop
- melon
- fruit and honey salad
- flower, like perfume, very good
- floral, jasmin, sweet
- Aroma had pleasant herbal notes with hints of honey and flowers. I did not pick up on the jasmine, but did note its floral aroma.
- Roasted cocoa and coffee with very slight caramel on backend.  Rich satisfying aroma.
- Soft and natural fragrance, some light
- Sweet / Bready / Floral / Vegetal Notes

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Olive green, fairly in-tact, thicker leaves. Still well twisted with uniform shape and size.
- deep green, dull, wet sponge
- solid grren but little change in shape
- black color is now very reduced
- Sage green and brown, relaxed whole leaf
- Light to dark green in color, still twisted tightly
- Dark green, whole leaf, twisted
- lose curled long leaf
- green and black, still rolling
- not uniformly colored, some parts are green, some brown. Not fully opened, no tips
- Leaves remained tightly twisted after the first infusion and upon opening the leaves by hand, found them to be dark green with out much browing to the leaves.
- Twisted leaf still unfurled. No buds, no bugs. Very few stems. Maceration apperant but some whole leaf.
- Not uniform for the colors of leaves, even for each stalk and leaf. Good elastic feel.
- Dark Brown
- Dark Green / Slight Twist / Thin 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Light but obvious jasmine aroma. Sappy with slight vegetal quality. Firing is just right.
- unremarkable
- very slight aroma, earthy, floral in some way, honeysuckle
- wet mulch, sweet woody
- Light, slightly burnt, vaguely toasty/woody
- Wet hay, slightly sweet
- floral, fruity, not overpowering - fruity
- like perfume, very good, I hope to keep smell
- jasmin, hint of roasted aroma, light, white grapes
- The aroma was flora and pleasant.
- Slight loyality to dry leaf aroma with same roasted cocoa. Pleasant.
- Light fragrance with some sweetness,but balanced
- Malted / Sweet / Bright / Hint of Smokiness

Liquor Color:
- Dark amber/yellow with red tints developing as it cooled. Some brightness. Good body.
- pale yellow-brown, pinkish hue
- brownish gold, clear, light
- mild orange, not yellow
- Light reddish
- a little deeper than 1 & 2
- Yellow brown color
- light tan, like a light leather
- light amber
- light brown
- golden brown and yellow, pure
- The liquor was dark amber honey like.
- Color between aprocot and peach. Clarity neither bright nor dull. Aroma light and floral
- more camillia flowers and lilac than jasmine.
- Deep yellow, tuibid
- Dark Red-Orange

- Solid jasmine taste with sappy, thick mouthfeel. Some dryness as well as astringency but ok. Fills the mouth. Some hints of fire in the initial taste which then dissipate.
- sweet, milky, slippery, oily
-  little bit of astringency, clean subdued, hints of vanilla, straw
- very slight bitter or slight ashy with meadow flowers; sprouted grain, unflavored popcorn kernels; the dry hangs on end of tongue
- Green and vegetal, sharp and slightly sweet, some atringency, with a "cedar"-like aftertaste. Reminds me of a forest.
- Astrigent, vegetal in flavor, green bean, slight sweetness
- Pleasant on mouth, sweet finish. Bitter up front, alfalfa in the middle, and a sweet finish.
- roasted marshmellow with a lingering sweet plum
- taste was clear, like perfume, deep
- floral
- jasmine flower, lightly roasted, hint of nuts, black currant in the end
- The initial sip was astringent on the tip of the tongue and had minimal to vanishing finish after one minute.
- Not a lot going on. Slight sweetness. No flavors to complement aroma, but nice mouthfeel even though body is thin.  Bitterness builds substantially as liquer cools.
- Full and lingering fragrance and sweetness, smooth but light
- Spicy / Toasted / Floral / Astringent

- Some intensity in the aroma. Careful manufacture is evident in uniform twist of the leaves. A well-made, well-balanced tea. The gentle baking brings out an additional nutty note in the aroma. Hints of tobacco linger in the aroma.
- Warming of dry tea brought out more aromas…more malt, some sweetness  Second immersion accentuated earthiness and the astringency
- Maybe because it is mild, the lovely sweet/metal/woody aftertaste sadly disappeared in less than 1 minute.  Also, i think when the temp of the tea got about lukewarm, the taste diminished; so the trick was to drink it quickly.  I could see that a medium or large cup of this would be best to drink quickly, or, keep it in a preheated thermos.
- I very much like the aftertaste of this tea, and that it had some complexity to it. - Quite the surprise on how it tasted versus how it smelled. Pleasant to drink
- A nice light tea with good complexity
- love the color of this tea, smells very complex, the after flaver is my favorite part of the tea
- The 2nd, I felt like perfume, cool and beautiful. I can brew this tea more and more.
- Tea is nice, jasmine flavour remaind more overdried flowers, than fresh. Finish is sweet nutty.
- This tea is very fragrant with a sweet taste and smell; thick mouthfeel. Reminded me of sandalwood. The second infusion was better.
- I could not get a good flavor from this tea.  2nd infusion Gaiwan (180F/2min) still had a significant amout of unfurled leaf but taste was only slightly improved (slight Dan Cong Honey Orchid flavor).  Body remained thin but aroma remained good.  Chou Zhou pot infusion (7 gms, 150 cm pot, full boil, 15 - 20sec), was interesting in that the liquor aroma was now loyal to dry leaf. An undertaste of slightly sweet mushroom, burnt carmel and fig appeared prominent but not overwelming.  Chilled (2nd infusion Chou Zhou, 30 seconds, full boil, then cooled) did not work
- very bitter at both 62F (16.7C) and 53F (11.7C); however, it retained a light floral aroma at 62F but you would need a Champaign glass to serve.
- Very nice taste for full and smooth of liquor, comfortable and exciting smell of the infused leaf, reasonable degree of fermentation. I like this tea best.
- This tea is very fragrant with a sweet taste and smell; thick mouthfeel. Reminded me of sandalwood. The second infusion was better.

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 5 4 2
Leaf Aroma 4 4 5 1 2
Liquor Aroma 2 7 2 2 1
Liquor Flavor 5 4 4 1 1




07 2017