1 (edited by michael 2010-03-10 21:20:50)

Topic: Learning about Dan Cong

My hope is that a "second wave" of members can revive this site. I've been following the site for a while but just joined. My sense is the original members may have gotten the info they need and moved on. Anyway, I would like to reopen a discussion of Dan Cong, parallel to the "Learning about Wuyi" thread from earlier.

I've read all the Imen/Tea Obsession-generated discussion about brewing and drinking Dan Cong, but I still have some questions.

I just today got Phoenix Dan Cong (from YS) to yield its subtle but definite "orchid" aroma (Imen says "orchid" doesn't necessarily mean it smells like the flower). It was technically the first full infusion but after an initial wetting of the leaves. What I smelled was more like magnolia flowers I remember from my youth in the South -- not the late decadent ones but the early young ones, just bloomed. And maybe it was mixed with a little citrus at the very top.

I'd been disappointed in the aroma until today, especially after all the hype about it onlline. I brewed it with the green pot I posted in the teaware section -- a very hard, roundish pot with a comparatively quick pour. What worked well today I think was that I got the pot very hot BEFORE the first infusion. I then dribbled a small amount of water on the leaves, not a full pot, and shook it off very quickly (I had not been rinsing before per Imen's instructions). The first full infusion was about 10 seconds. The aroma didn't last for long. Later infusions returned to the more familiar "honey" that I had experienced before (no complaints about the honey; just had never gotten the magnolia).

However, I still think I can control Dan Cong better with a gaiwan. The timing seems very sensitive to me. But, as I said, I think the heat is more important than I realized. I tried heating up the gaiwan before infusing -- not warm like usual; hot. But I didn't get the magnolia in the gaiwan. But I still like the control so I'll keep trying.

Did any of you ever try the Choa Zhou pots? Are they so very magically different with Dan Cong? Do any of you prefer gaiwan, too?

Other experiences appreciated. Second wave of knowledge.

Re: Learning about Dan Cong

I prefer a thin gaiwan like yourself. 90ml gives room for the larger leaves.
Have you tried the aroma from the gaiwan lid immediately after pouring and again after the lid cools and the oils dry up?
Or bottom of cup aroma shortly after drinking it all up.

I am sure I am remembering correctly that Imen does not prescribe any kind of "dribble" for the initial infusions, but rather a strong stream from high up, giving us the idea of "forcing out" more tea goodness.

About the site, no one really gave up and moved on in my estimation, most of us have known each other and tea for a long time now and without fresh ideas or questions we've run out of things to ruminate on amongst ourselves :) Glad to have you.

Re: Learning about Dan Cong

I also prefer to use a gaiwan to brew phoenix oolongs.  I like to give my Dan Congs a quick rinse before infusion.  The aroma after the rinse is so strong and fragrant that it almost sets the tea up to be somewhat of a disappointment.  Don't get me wrong, I love drinking phoenix oolongs but I just think that I almost get more just from the aroma of the wet leaf. 

I've also found that Gong Fu is the best way to brew this tea since it can go bitter quickly.  I usually find the smell of the damp leaves to be reminiscent of apricots and I love the way the the leaves turn from dark amber-brown to a pale green.

Dan Congs are quickly becoming one of my favorite teas


4 (edited by cazort 2010-09-22 20:20:30)

Re: Learning about Dan Cong

I too have been following this site, and hope it can become more active--I just wrote about it on my tea blog, which has a moderate following; perhaps that can spark some participation!  I have found this site to be an outstanding resource, especially relative to the low post volume, and I think it offers something unique relative to other internet tea forums.

I am truly only a beginner to tea.  I find dan cong to be challenging.  When I've ordered it, if the sample is too small, I often find that I can't experiment enough with it to learn how to brew it well.  Some dan cong I've brewed a couple times and not really enjoyed it...but then I've gotten better results on a subsequent attempt.

I tried a dan cong from Adagio teas and it had a very strongly fruity aroma, much like apricots as chanteas describes.  More recently I tried the 2010 Mt. Wu Dong Red Tea Dan Cong, which I received as a sample from Life in Teacup, and it was completely different.  There was absolutely no fruitiness in the aroma; instead it was smoky and savory, with a lot of herbaceous tones.  I liked it, but after finishing up the small sample, I still felt like I did not know how to brew the tea effectively.