Review of Mt. Wu Dong Mi Lan (Honey Orchid) Dan Cong

8 of 105 of 54 of 580 of 100
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I often find Dan Congs to be fascinatingly complex teas, and this one is no exception. This tea I also found a bit easier to work with, in that it was easy for me to bring out the qualities that I enjoy most. It was a little more like a Wuyi oolong in overall character than other dancong I've tried. The dry leaf is not particularly aromatic, but upon briefly rinsing with hot water, it explodes in aroma. The initial aroma of the wet leaves is exactly what the name would suggest: a strong suggestion of honey and orchid, with the familiar deep tones in common to most Dan Cong. There's more honey than orchid.

The honey and orchid, especially the orchid, in the aroma is fleeting; if you make a first, brief infusion, it draws off much of these qualities. On the other hand, I found this cup unsatisfying and settled on a different way of brewing.

I found that the qualities I liked in this tea were very slow to infuse. I made the first infusion of 5 minutes, with an amount that I'd usually use to make a 3 min. infusion for oolong.

The result was a cup with the pleasing honey and orchid aroma, but also a strong roast that was not evident in the smell of the initial rinse, and a powerful freshness and lightness to it, There are even some herbaceous tones, suggestive of dried spearmint. There's a peppery quality as well, but very unlike anything found in Yunnan teas: it's more like an up-front astrigency that fades into a smoother finish. Flavor is mild and a little bit tangy. Surprisingly thin-bodied, however, for its strength of aroma.

The second infusion has noticeably less roast, more herbaceous tones, and more of the peppery quality. It is just as floral, but the floral quality is less recognizable as honey and orchid in this infusion, and more similar to black teas that exhibit floral aspects. Subsequent cups become more herbaceous, less floral, and somewhat less roasty.

Very pleasing; I imagine that I'd discover more about this tea if I had more leaf and were able to experiment more with the brewing. Not cheap, but reasonably priced given the high quality and the mileage I was able to get out of a small amount of leaf.

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