Saturday, 16 February 2013

Close Your Eyes...

Good afternoon!

I've been meaning to write another blog post for a while now, but there's just been a bunch of stuff getting in the way. I think I can safely say that I've been very busy with volunteering. It's been incredibly draining and demands me to sleep early or suffering from weariness the next day. Sadly I haven't been sleeping early for the last few weeks. And as a consequence it's made everything, including blogging, rather difficult to accomplish.

Today looks like a good day for tea-ing... But then again, every day is good for one tea or another. It's slightly cloudy outside and it's starting to cool down, so that makes a warm and fragrant dancong quite suitable to for bringing back the feeling of summer and sunshine.

I'm listening to sweet and mellow jazz by Sarah McKenzie (whose music I highly recommend to everyone) at this moment and I am about to start a contemplative tea-ing session!

Ah yes, before I begin I suppose I should introduce these two adorable critters! Both were lovingly crocheted by the lovely and talented Yorumichii. The rabbit is Roger Rabbit, and the whale is Mr. Whale. Or Moby Dick. I haven't decided yet. But these guys will now be my tea mascots (I will NOT pour tea/water over either of them) as they are precious and meaningful possessions. They will always accompany me on my tea journeys :)

Anyway. This is the second tea from my share of the shipment! The Phoenix Dan Cong and the Purple Dehong Black Tea are both from Yunnan Sourcing, which is a great site for starting your journey into the world of (asian) tea! Dancongs are a variant of oolong teas, which are very fragrant and, sadly, short-lived teas. However what they do offer is far from pitiful! It is in fact worth drinking simply for the intense bouquet of sweetness. Let's see how this one pans out...

Inside the packet, I can smell grass/wheat, nuts and cereal... Typical dancong/oolong fare. That's not a lot. But upon taking it out of the packet and exposing it to the open air, I noticed a far more interesting and subtler tier of aromas which included potatoes, orange, pineapple and a nice general floral scent.

I'm not sure that it's such a good idea to swim around in there, Moby...

In the teapot, after all the tea's been poured out, there's a wonderfully intense smell of lychees wafting into the nose. It sets up a very sweet bouquet and segues nicely into the floral notes, wheat and incense. Smelling this intoxicating panoply is basically the best part of the dancong!

The aroma from the the tea itself is very much the same, except with a far lower intensity. But it is in this stage that some smokiness reveals itself to the drinker, and is quite reminiscent of smoke from burning wood and incense smoke at the same time.

"Oh I wanna see the colour too! ^^"

Now the taste is where all (or most) dancongs start to drop off. Sadly, there is very little left to give at this point since all of the goodness was left in the leaves at the very start. However there are some nice features to take note of. In contrast to the honeyed tones of the nose, the tea itself offers an interesting change of pace in the smokiness and bitterness that creeps in as you steep it for longer times. The latter endures into the aftertaste well after the tea has departed from the mouth. Of course, when I say bitterness, it is sort of a pleasant kind of bitterness that is associated with teas... Perhaps it is an acquired taste, much like strong coffee, but I think it adds that extra oomph, especially for this type of tea.

A word of warning: If you steep it for too long it will slap you in the face (or tongue) with a whole load of bitterness. Of course every other element will also intensify, so it's worth a try anyway.

Overall... This tea gains the Rogiraffe Seal of Approval! It is fantastic for when you just want a quick pick-me-up so you can power through the day.


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