Tasting Notes: Dan Cong Wulong
The Feng Huang ‘Phoenix’ Mountain range of Guangdong province, is home to some really old tea plants some claiming to be as old as 1000 years. They are part of a deep ancestral culture that spans many centuries. Old tea plants like this hail from a time, prior to industrialization, when all cultivation and manufacture was done manually: from the seed to the finished leaf.
As a plant, Camellia Sinensis has the ability to mutate quite easily resulting in single trees from the same garden having their own genetic nuances. Naturally the taste and aroma chemistry of the leaves also has its own unique make up from one individual plant to another. Over time certain tea plants exhibiting interesting flavour profiles were pampered and named by their owners. These unique, precious tea trees are highly respected and sought after by both producers and consumers. The title Dan Cong meaning "unique tea tree” is given to plants that reveal such specific character. Harvesting is done individually so that no plants yield is blended with the neighbouring plants. Teas of this style originating from this region are called Feng Huang Dan Cong. A blend of the plants genetics and the techniques used to finish the leaves results in each batch having a different signature.
This year, we have two of these single tea tree Dan Cong that both originate in Da An in Wudong village (in the Feng Huang Mountains). They were harvested in mid-April and processed by Mr. Huang, who is also our Chi Ye producer.
From the first seconds of steeping this wulong releases captivating fragrances and a real explosion of aromas. Scents of citruses (tangerine, grapefruit) mixed with warm traces of caramelized sugars from its light roasting over wood fire. Blended in its creamy texture are some more fruity notes (exotic, litchi, guava…) and sweet, silky finish. A tea with exceptional persistence, and lively brisk vitality.
Translated as « ginger fragrance », this wulong shows rare complexity and balance even amongst other teas of this quality. No matter where you put your nose, you breathe scents of fruits (peach, melon), blooming flowers (orchids) and baked cookies. Evolution in the mouth is remarkable, with a delicious fruity attack that develops into renewed depths. An accessible rarity with its bold and enticing flavours, subtle perfumes, creamy textures and a lively hint of acidity lingering pleasantly into the aftertaste.
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