Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What-Cha: Guangdong Big Black Leaf 'Da Wu Ye' Dan Cong Oolong, A Tea Review

Remember about a month ago when Ben let me borrow his computer to play the Minecraft demo? I have not been able to go back to the Xbox version since then, I tasted the forbidden fruit and now I cannot go back. Sadly my computer is garbage, so I have come up with a plan...I am going to save my money and get a desktop PC. I will get the cheapest I can (that will still play my beloved Minecraft) and then add to it as I get more money and can upgrade it. My next goal would be to make Let's Play videos (mainly for my mom to watch, hehe) it is going to take forever, probably about six months before I can do it, but it will be a thing of beauty. Wish me luck!

But enough about my geeky goals, it is time for tea! Today's tea is from What-Cha, a new tea company from my ancestral homeland of England (ok, not that ancestral since my dad was English.) Before I get into the review I have to point out their company logo. It is a Chinese dragon wearing a top hat and sipping tea...I have never been more in love with a logo EVER, if it ever gets made into a tea-shirt I would wear it constantly. 

Anyway, Guangdong Big Black Leaf  'Da Wu Ye' Dan Cong Oolong  is a lightly roasted curly leaf oolong from Guangdong Province in China. I admit, I did not know much about this particular Dan Cong, so I did a bit of research (like I do) and discovered that Da Wu Ye belongs to the orchid aroma category and it is one of the teas suitable for making the Ginger Flower Fragrance or Jian Hua Xiang. The aroma of the dry leaves is heady and very sweet, there are intense notes of orchid and orange blossom, this sweet flower nectar aroma also has a creamy quality and a hint of lychees and a tiny little blip of toasted sesame at the finish. I might have spent the entire time the tea kettle was heating up with my nose in the leaves, just enjoying their delicious aroma. 

And into the gaiwan it goes for a nice, brief steeping. The real trick to get the most out of a Dan Cong is a short first steep and then longer ones on the later steeps, at least if you are brewing it in a gaiwan. After their steeping, the leaves now have a milky and nutty aroma, still sweet but only a fraction of the previous sweetness, it is very rich. The liquid is quite interesting, with notes of milk, black walnuts, honey, and sweet undertones of flower nectar. The aroma has a heaviness to it. 

The first sipping is delicate, with a flowery beginning of orchids and nectar sweetness. This fades to a creamy fruitiness that is a blend of lychees and scuppernongs. The finish is fun, it has a sharp taste and mouthfeel that reminds me of black walnuts. It is a bit uncanny how the finish is just like I ate a handful of black walnuts, such delicious and intense nuts. 

For the second steeping, the aroma is much more floral than the first steeping, there are sweet notes of orange blossom and orchid, the finish is nutty. The taste starts out sweet and smooth, with floral notes and a touch of honey. This transitions to black walnuts with a sharp, slightly dry finish. The black walnut taste lingers as an aftertaste. 

Third steeping time! The aroma is faintly sweet, a bit of nuttiness and a bit of floral. It is pretty faint compared to the previous steep's aroma. The taste this time around starts off with black walnut, there is still a touch of sharpness, but it is not as strong. This fades to a gentle orange blossom sweetness that lingers as an aftertaste. Well, what I have learned from this is I really need to try more Dan Cong Oolongs, all the ones I have had have been unique and very enjoyable. I also look forward to trying more of the samples that What-Cha sent my way. 

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