I wanted to start by thanking Yunwei tea for the opportunity to try all of these
amazing teas! They offer a tea "flight" which is a box of 7 of their best teas you can try all at once.
The tea flight only costs $20 and is a very good deal considering you can try 7 of the best teas from China in one shot! Make sure you know how to brew before trying them out though!
In this review, we are going to do things a little bit differently. I am attempting to brew the tea "gongfu style" which means lots of leaves, very little water and very short steep times. I will try to get at least 5 brewings out of each of these teas, but I may stop if I can no longer get flavor out of the tea. the first 3 steepings will be about 10 seconds and then I will add 5 seconds there on out. This is a very fun way to brew tea, and if you haven't tried it yet I would really recommend it. It lets you appreciate each layer of the tea at a time, instead of all at once. This is a good way to pick up on all the subtle complexities of the tea, and have a truly enriching tea tasting experience. Anyways, let's get started!
The smell of this Dancong oolong is one of the more powerful I have experience in this tasting. There is a strong oak aroma along with a smokiness and earthy scent. All of these aromas combine to make it a tea with a strong scent profile.
While the tea leaves are brewing, I am beginning to detect the peach kernel this tea is famous for. It is quite sweet and delicious. The first sip is very sweet and pleasant. There are fewer notes in this tea but it is just very welcoming and enjoyable. I am not noticing much bitterness to this tea, and I am not picking up on the mineral taste I found with the others. I’m noticing a tiny bit of astringency with this tea as well as a wonderful aftertaste. So far, the first steeping is quite mild compared to some of the other teas I have had. I do get a tiny bit of a floral taste, but I really need to concentrate in order to find it.
The wet leaves have a nice aroma of fresh oak. I also am picking up on the peach aroma more and more as the leaves are used. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this aroma develops over time.
Typically the first steeping is a little bit sweet and then the 2-4th steepings are where the body begins to develop. Based on the last 4 tastings I have done using the Gongfu style, the 3rd steeping is generally my favorite, and then the 4th, followed by the 2nd and the first. The second steeping of this tea really hasn’t been able to fully develop its flavor yet, so it still remains sweet and aromatic. I am noticing the mineral flavor is coming out more and more and I am really hoping it continues to expand because this is one of my favorite parts of the Dancong oolongs.
I just wanted to observe that even after the 3rd steeping, the leaves still have yet to unfurl completely. Usually, with some teas the leaves unfurl nearly completely, or at least halfway after the 2nd steeping. I think this has to do with the rolling of this particular oolong. I noticed that this one had an extremely tightly coiled strip shape to it
The third steeping is slightly bolder, slightly smokier, but still maintains a bit of lightness to it compared to some of the others I have tried. There is a little hint of that mineral flavor, but it is not that much stronger than it was in the second steeping. I am beginning to feel an elevated sensation from this tea. It is so good that it makes me feel good to drink it. It is not a caffeine “buzz” it is more of a relaxing sensation this time. It is pouring rain outside right now and it feels good to be able to have some nice warm tea to enjoy inside while I work.
The leaves are still just as shriveled up as they were after the first steeping. I am wonder if they will even open up at all. I am noticing that the scent is beginning to fade. What once smelled like rich oak, now smells only of a faint peach kernel. It is still quite lovely, but it is easy to tell that the aroma is beginning to fade away.
The fourth steeping is quite nice. Very similar to the 3rd steeping except for a little bit more mild. I think I will only attempt 5 steepings of this tea because they are starting to taste quite similar to one another. The notes of this tea are becoming softer and flatter. I also am noticing a different feeling with this tea. While the last one left me calm, this one is making me a bit more energized. I’m hoping I will stay like this because I have a lot more work to get to, but who knows what the next steeping will bring!
The leaves after the fifth steeping are just about halfway unfurled. This will be my last official steeping before I really go all in. The aroma of a distant smokiness and peach aroma lingers on the leaves. The scent is fading but it is still there and quite pleasant.
With a 15 second steep time, I was really able to pick up on some bitterness with this tea. There is a lingering aftertaste that produces a nice, mouthwatering sensation. I normally find that the later steepings tend to just taste like a low-grade oolong, but this one is different. It still maintains the nice floral notes, all the way until the fifth steeping. This is quite impressive, and no doubt the mark of a high quality tea. I really have enjoyed every steeping of this tea, and now I am ready to just soak the leaves for the final steeping and really capture all that is left!
The last steepings were surprisingly sweet. The tea really had so much flavor to give. Overall, this tea was really enjoyable, although it is a “slow burn”. No single steeping was incredible, but all of them were quite good, which is rare. I am going to put this tea at #2 because although it was very good, the Almond aroma Dancong oolong had 2-3 standout steepings that were better than all of these teas. The peach kernel aroma didn’t really have that as much.
#1 Almond Aroma Dancong Oolong
#2 Peach Kernel Aroma Dancong Oolong
#3 Zhengshan Chigan Red Tea
#4 Unroasted Peach Kernel Dancong
#5 Mengsong Gushu Sheng Puerh