Don't worry, it's not what you think. This tea is famous is the oolong world, but can sound a little off-putting if you don't know the history. The leaves are large and soft and go through a multi-step oxidation process to enhance the honey-like aroma. Steamed, the leaves have an irresistibly full, creamy, toasty, floral-sweet aroma. The first steep is buttery smooth and rich with notes of sweet cream and fruit. Each steep opens new notes in the leaf and the tea gets progressively more floral and green as the toasty fire notes recede. This tea will go for many steeps and is best enjoyed with an aroma cup to fully enjoy all the of aromatics it can offer.
Dan Cong oolongs are plucked form Phoenix Mountain in Guangdong, China. The term "Dan Cong" translates to Single Bush, which historically meant that the tea was all plucked from the same tea tree. More commonly it is used to describe teas from Phoenix Mountain which have been plucked from the same cultivar and are allowed to grow into large trees. They are famous for adopting various aromas and this tea is no different.
According to legend, the farmers who made this tea plucked the leaves from tea trees growing in soil that was a yellowish-brown color. The tea was so exceptional, they called it Ya Shi Xiang (Duck Shit Aroma), hoping to prevent people from stealing their tea or taking cuttings from their trees. Think of it like the old Greenland/Iceland switcharoo. It didn't take long before word got out about how good the tea was, though, so here we are!
Harvest: Spring, 2023
Origin: Guangdong, China
Grown in the foggy hills of Kirishima, this tea is made by two brothers who are producing some exceptional quality teas. The moisture of the air and fertile soil from the nearby volcano create a perfect environment for growing complex teas. This Sencha is plucked from a single farm that is completely self-sustaining and bio-dynamic. This is one of the most full bodied and balanced senchas I've had the pleasure of cupping. Part of that is because the tea plants are nearly 100 years old with gnarled trunks and roots reaching deep into the earth to pull up all the minerals the volcanic soil holds. The aroma of the leaves is invigorating and fresh and steeps to an amazingly smooth tea. The mouthfeel is silky with a deep umami character and a bright finish. This is an asamushi tea so the leaves are not as broken as the Asatsuyu, creating a softer tea that is often more approachable for people new to Japanese greens.
Region: Kagoshima, Kyushu
Plucked from wild trees growing high on Ai Lao Mountain, this loose leaf shou cha is perfect as an introduction to puerh or as a refreshing breather for the afficionado. It has been sorted to include only the tips and has an effect that is clarifying and uplifting.
The first steep yields a bright and vivid infusion, with each consecutive cup reaching deeper notes of the leaf. The mineral content of the soil is prevalent in the cup with bright, energizing notes of copper, and grounding undertones of cocoa and damp earth. The liquor has a silky mouthfeel and leaves a lasting coolness in the throat, unusual for a tea of this style.
Origin: Yunnan, China