• Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Duck Sh*t Oolong– Yashi Dancong from Mei Leaf


    On Dec. 29th, I was asked to go to a friend’s and make some tea for them as we haven’t gotten together in a while and we were on a two weeks break. I asked my friends what tea they would like to try, and they replied with “something sweet and fun.” So I thought, why not Duck Shit from Mei Leaf— as I thought it would be the perfect tea for the occasion. Even just the name; is intriguing.

    The name, 鸭屎香, which translates to Duck Shit Aroma, creates many people to have misunderstandings that this tea will actually resemble “duck shit.” But in many cases; it’s the complete opposite. Baked notes, fresh, out-of-the oven type of smells are very common characteristics of this cultivar, and as well as floral notes, lilacs, orchid, and other sweet smelling things. It’s supposed to be delightful, and make your senses dance. The farmer who named this cultivar Duck Shit is incredibly clever, as he/she didn’t want others in the village to know how wonderfully delicious this tea can actually be.

    There are many different flavors or different cultivars/ sub-flavors/cuttings of Dancong. Such as 蜜兰香 Mi Lan Xiang,玉兰香 Yu Lan Xiang,杏仁香 Xing Ren Xiang,八仙 Ba Xian,通天香 Tong Tian Xiang, and many others. All of these names are representations of what the varietal of this type of Dancong is supposed to remind you of. For example, Mi Lan on one side is renowned for it’s very peachy, honey like taste;while the Xin Ren Xiang is supposedly very herbal and bitter, with almondy characteristics. In the future, I would love to make a blog post on the differences between these varietals, to really dive deep into the world of Dancong. My first Dancong I tried was a 东方红 (Oriental Red Dancong), and it blew me away completly. Since then, I have not incountered anything that tasted better than that one. I asked if the tea was expensive, and my friend’s mom said. “It’s Chairman Mao’s signature Oolong.” I was speechless at how vast and rich the flavors were. Now, let’s get right into the tasting of this tea!

    Duck Shit Oolong  


    Leaf
    This is from Mei Leaf’s webpage as I forgot to take pictures of the dry leaf. Upps.
    But, nice glossy leaves. Very whole.


    Basic info about this special tea:

    • Ya Shi Cultivar
    • May 2017.
    • Wudong, Fenghuang, Chaozhou, Guangdong China
    • Up to third or fourth leaves
    • 1200 m elevation

    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)

    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)

    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)

    Steeping Time ( less than 20 seconds per infusion, and every  infusions increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info

    Nice leaves. But quite green. I got very milky, soft peachy notes from the wet leaves.

    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.

    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, almost like dried cherries .

    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Flower Garden with peaches and a little bit of butter mixed with it. Purely unique.

    Taste Profile: See Below

    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like fresh citrus peel. The mouthfeel is lighter than other Dancongs I’ve tried. But still good enough to appreciate the different faces of this tea. Easy going, very friendly tea.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Warming, slightly energising. Rising warmth or “chi” towards the heart area. Friend’s loved the warmth of this tea!

    Price:  42.5 Canadian Dollars/ 30 grams

    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    This tea had a lot to say, but first things first. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy pouring for my guests and was focusing on tasting. I have my tasting notes for every two infusions below.

    I tasted a lot of cream, nuts, apricots and that greenish, viny taste that I associate with a lot of lighter roasted Dancongs. Sophia, was like “Oh, it tastes so comforting.” I knew right off the bat that they all liked this one. It’s just super easy going—- easy to drink. Good for any occasion; even with sweets. I feel like this tea will go really well with sweets, especially, like those very light, cream based cakes. The first two infusions had very mild astringency and bitterness, and leaves your mouth coated with the essence of goodness.

        The third and fourth infusions of this oolong was probably the most delicious brews, as the bitterness was just right and it had a very nice heart warming chi afterwards. Me, Jenny, and Sophia all agreed that our bodies felt warm after drinking the fourth infusion. We were all enjoying the tea, to a point that no one spoke for around 5 min! Perhaps, a little tea drunk?

        After the fifth and sixth infusion, I felt extremely calm, grounding, and warm. Notes of more florals, different type of fruit maybe; almost like mandarins.

    On the eighth infusion, I pushed it hard. Added 5 min, and the tea was almost like stew, offering this herbal, very silky and smooth but nicely creamy tea soup that was a different experience as well.

    Although this tea did not blow me away completely, it still provided us with a great experience of  what quality Dancong is supposed to taste like. I just found it a little light and too green to my liking. But nonetheless, it still deserves to be called as one of my favorite lighter , more aromatic Dancongs I’ve tried. It’s also very balanced and easy to drink.

    I told my friends, “Maybe this was the best sh*t you’ve had so far.”

    LOL;)

  • Longjing,  Mei Leaf,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Imperial Green 2018/ Mei Leaf

    Imperial Green 2018 from Mei Leaf

    Basic info about this special tea:

    Picked on
    19th March 2018
    CULTIVAR
    Long Jing No.43
    ORIGIN
    Xinchang, Zhejiang, China
    PICKING & PROCESSING
    Bud and one or two leaves
    ELEVATION
    600 m

    The leaves are thin, and all is proportionate.

    Temperature ( 83 degree Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (120ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 7 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds depending on the infusion)
    Main Info
    The Number of Total Steepings: 6 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Superbly green, some vegetal notes, white chocolate, raspberries, and hints of banana.
    Aroma of Warm Dry Leaf: Spring berries, citrus cream, almost like a meringue pie.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Smoothe, no itchiness in the throat. Very comforting and warming.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: I feel like this green tea speaks to me, my body is constantly reacting with the different notes and sometimes the sweetness can be felt on your tongue, sometimes on the back of your throat, and mostly on the sides of my cheeks.
    Price: 22CAD /40 grams

    Even after 5 infusions, the smell of the wet leaves are very much like fresh and green. No stewed notes.

    Introducing this tea.
    I first wanted to share some info on this tea provided by Don on his website for Imperial Green. This will explain some of the misconceptions a lot of people have when associating with Longjing.
    “Authentic Longjing tea (otherwise known as Dragonwell) must be grown in Zhejiang province. If it is grown anywhere else then it is considered a fake (much like champagne). Every year we taste many samples of Longjing to find our batch for the year. For the past couple of years, we have selected a tea from outside the West Lake area because we feel that it has a much higher quality compared with the West Lake tea.”

    “This is a Pre Qingming tea picked on the 19th March giving a lightness and delicacy combined with a powerful fragrance and taste. Any Pre Qingming tea from Xi Hu (West Lake) is exorbitantly expensive and whilst it is often excellent tea, we felt that this batch won out in terms of flavour and we are not paying the extra price tag for the name of Xi Hu.”
    “Please note that you may find white yellow fur on the tea and little balls of fur in the tea. This is NOT mold but is tea fur showing that the tea is a very early spring tea – it demonstrates the quality of this Longjing.”

    Don Mei

    Now that we understand what really makes true Longjing green tea, let’s go into our tasting notes for every infusion. Notice how each infusion is different and how this contributes to the overall experience of tasting this green tea.

    Light but full on the pallet. A true green tea.

    First Infusion
    The first thing I noticed when I took my sip was how delicate yet full it is. In some poor quality Longjings, yes the tea is delicate and soft, but it doesn’t have the character and richness that a really good green tea or especially Longjings would carry. The first thing you smell would be grass, and perhaps some sweet minerality but not the full green pea, and white chocolate sort of richness that you can get from this Imperial Green. It is a really good tea from the start, and I want to mention this as well. Good tea will have character and it’s own unique system of revealing itself to you, but it will always make a good impression on you. It is like some people that take a job interview. In order for you to be hired, you have to make a very good first impression. This is the key. This tea has very special qualities of brightness and a very rich taste. The notes of early spring, the freshness in the air during spring. This is the first feeling I got. I got notes of ripe strawberry, peach and star fruit. The nuttiness is there, but not super obvious. I have to dig on and it seems to come later after the fruits and lasts at the tip of my tongue.
    Second Infusion
    Less intense aroma, more broth and umami concentrated. However, still fresh, and keeps improving in the mouth. Surprisingly, I did feel some energy from this tea as well. The energy moved from the tip of my tongue to the shoulders and went down to my stomach. The tea will keep going.
    Third Infusion
    On top of the minerality, there is a floral note. The one I am getting the most would have to be jasmine. Jasmine with white chocolate and lightly sprinkled hazelnuts would be the best description of what it tasted like on the third brew.
    Fourth and Fifth Infusion
    Very different from the rest of the infusions in that the cooling aspect is coming out. Real sensation in the throat, not minty but more like watermelon coolness. Honeydew can also be used as an example of what I am trying to describe. It isn’t a cooling sensation nearly as obvious as the ones from Tie Guan Yin’s, but rather fruity.
    The sixth infusion.
    Wow, the leaves are still fresh. Sweet spinach aroma floating from the gaiwan, and the tea still tastes good. In most cases, after the third or fourth brew, the tea is finished, but it is not the case for this tea. I can keep pushing and the result is still nice. Classic seaweed taste with a lingering zesty finish. Delicious.

    What a creamy colour. Stunning.

    Final Thoughts and Conclusion
    I would rate this tea a 9 out of 10 because it simply deserves the high ranking. The tea is clear, persistent and yet constantly evolving. It makes me appreciate and connect with the world, and just like any other good tea, it makes me feel good. Distinctively special Longjing. Very good tea overall. I think that this would be the second best Longjing I’ve ever tried.

  • Dahongpao,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Rock Tea,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Yancha

    Empress Oolong from Mei Leaf

    Wuyi Zhengyan Da Hong Pao Qi Dan Varietal From Mei Leaf

    It’s so cute. Like a mini treasure packet, waiting for me to crack it open.

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qi Dan Varietal
    May 2017 Tea
    From Zhengyan, Wuyi, Fujian.
    Picking Grade: Up to third or fourth leaf.
    500 m above sea level.
    Temperature ( 99-100degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)

    Leaves look dark, but not black: Great roasting.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: 8 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Freshly made coffee, almost smoky but quite. Deep and grounding, well rounded.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Medicinal, distinctive rocky terroir aroma. A little bit of citrus at the end.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Honey like thickness with incredible body. I have to mention that for this tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Changes through each infusion. Mainly chocolatey and sweet, but turns more into fruit in later infusions.
    Price: 22 CAD /30 grams
    Attitude Ranking: 8.5 /10

    Soup is thick and mouth-watering while being fragrant. Good vibes.

    A little bit of history behind the tea and where the terroir comes from.
    “Da Hong Pao is one of China’s most revered and highly sought after teas. This tea is grown on Bai Yun Yan mountain in the protected area of Zhengyan in the beautiful Wuyi mountains of Fujian Province, a nine peak mountain with vast rocky fingers pointing to the sky. The mineral rich, fast draining terrain make it the only place to grow true Empress Oolong.”
    “The tea is produced by hand and is then roasted for many hours slowly over real charcoal fires. This adds a warmth, smoothness and nutty depth to the tea. We advise avoiding any of these roasted oolongs for at least 6 months after they have been produced in order to let the ‘fire’ taste of the charcoal roasting to reduce. This is why we always stock tea picked in the previous year.”
    Don Mei

    After brewing for roughly 20 min, the leaves indeed show it’s nature. Beautiful brown-black leaf with a greenish undertone.

    These two paragraphs really made me thirsty for this tea! I would love to visit Zhengyan one day. But, it is a World Heritage Site, so getting access into the area is very expensive. People have told me that just to get in you have to pay around 50 dollars per person. However, I do think it’s an amazing area for tea lovers and people who want to explore more of China and see something eye-opening. The rocky terroir makes it such a good area for tea to grow, and it is said that many Oolong and Black teas originally came from the Wuyishan area. I believe that Wuyishan can be called as one of the few birthplaces to tea and especially to Oolong and Black teas.

    Tasting through the Infusions.
    First Infusion: Delicious, and very savory at start. Body and depth is excellent, while the balance between the roasting and preservation of the original characters of the Qi dan Varietal is well done. I can notice the flavors changing slowly with time as the savouriness develops into sweetness. Huigan is coming out but not fully present.

    Second Infusion: Taste turns 180 Degrees: Flavors change from the coffee like start into more of a strawberry or ripe apricot taste. However, it is a dry taste; the flavors are on top of one another and hidden. A very complex turn inside and out, as I am starting to feel something from my shoulders.
    Third to Fifth Infusion : The tea is so complex that I can’t exactly pinpoint what I am tasting. But very thick on the pallet, with a fruity overtone before swallowing. The minerality is definitely strong, with a deep apricot taste arising in the cup more. Sounds funny but I kinda think that the infusions taste more like a broth than tea. The sweetness and after taste or huigan is stronger than previous infusions.
    Fifth to Sixth: Notes are too complex by now, resulting in incredible sweetness. My tongue cannot stop salivating. I have never experienced this from a Yancha before; was truly amazed. The taste is not particularly medicinal, not fruity either. It is more of it’s own taste.

    The 8th Infusion tasted like a soup of somekind. The closest thing I can think of would be like a chicken base carrot soup. The carrot is from the minerality and it’s own rock taste. But with a savory kick.

    Sixth to Eighth.
    Silky smooth with a bit of astringency and a little bit of chestnut if you dig hard enough, but I couldn’t get anymore out of it. I think Yanchas are a little less durable for consistent infusions of more than 10 brews. Each brew is very thick and if you can brew it for at least 8 that would be considered a good Yancha.

    In Conclusion…

    I am very new to the world of Yancha and Oolong, but I did very much enjoy this session of Qi Dan Dahongpao from Mei Leaf. The energy and mouthfeel combined with the aromatics of this Yancha just made me wow. I gave a 8.5 out of 10 because I did find that the tea ended a little bit too fast. I wished that the fruity and chocolaty aroma lasted just a bit longer, but the taste transformed throughout different infusions so that was super interesting.

    I am excited to try something that’s again roasted, but a traditional TGY from Fujian that’s full of baked fruits and sweet candy notes. Should be delicious and fun to review.