Tong Tian Xiang Phoenix Mountain Dancong from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

This Dancong offers a full and engaging tasting experience.  In early steepings, a crisp mineral or stone quality dominates the texture with a rosewood quality on the sides of the palate.  Soon, a mouth-watering juicy note of apricot makes an entrance and continues to build up a thicker body for the tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have tried Dancong teas in the past, but I don’t think I’ve tasted one quite like this one.

The first two steepings produced a flavor that is very mineral-y, I can almost feel the minerals on my tongue!  This experience was a little jarring – ok, quite jarring – because I found myself having very little to say about those early sips except for the taste and texture of mineral.  As I continue to sip, I notice fruit tones – yes, apricot, just as the description suggests.

These first steepings are thinner than I expected from an Oolong, but that is not meant to sound like a bad thing, because I find the texture to be quite interesting, especially the almost grain-y kind of feel on the tongue.  The flavor is light but it teases the palate with flavors to come:  more sweet, juicy apricot, hints of wood, and a honey-esque sweetness that slowly develops in the background and then begins to wash over the palate with every sip.

With the third and fourth steepings, the mineral texture and taste remained, but it had softened somewhat, allowing for the apricot notes to shine through more distinctly.  The sip starts off soft, almost silky, and soon develops a mouthfeel that reminds me a little bit of a Darjeeling tea with its light, crisp quality and dry, somewhat astringent finish.  Even with the astringency, I find these steepings to be remarkably soothing, especially at the start with its silky soft (it’s almost fluffy!) presentation.

Later infusions become softer in texture.  The mineral-y taste and texture is but a memory, and now I have a tea that is much more like an “Oolong.”  That is, much more like what I might expect from an Oolong.  The flavor is sweet and slightly creamy.  I notice hints of spice and wood which meld together in a taste that I want to describe as “wilderness” – it is as if I can actually taste the “wild” in this wild-picked tea.

Quite remarkable, really, this tea.  But really, as Verdant has proven itself to offer nothing but the best, I expected nothing less!

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