Please some advice on Dancong

Semi-oxidized tea
brutusK
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Fri May 03, 2019 9:56 am

Victoria wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 8:49 pm
Bok wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 7:49 pm
LuckyMe wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 4:36 pm
Part of what makes Dan Cong challenging, at least in my experience, is that its a very finicky tea to brew. It doesn't really do well western steeped or grandpa style. Gotta gongfu and lock in the right steeping parameters.

I've had some exquisite dan congs from Verdant Tea but I usually just buy samples because the top-shelf stuff ain't cheap.
Only the low to medium grade is finicky, good quality Dancong is forgiving to brew.
Hmm.. when distilled water is recommended by TeaHabitat for Tong Tian Xiang - Through the Heaven Fragrance and Dao Hua Xiang - Rice Flower Fragrance I’d say that’s pretty finicky. I’m curious Bok which DanCong you are especially enjoying? Curious, because we both like roasted DongDing/High Mountain oolong and all the DanCong I’ve had so far has been on the light side. Maybe I’ll explore some darker ones.
Funny you bring up Tong Tian Xiang, that was one of my least favorite dancong offered by Imen, even with that water recommendation. The similarly priced Ba Xian is mindblowing though and less finicky on the water.
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Tillerman
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Fri May 03, 2019 10:49 am

theredbaron wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 6:17 pm

Interesting. I just ordered a few samples there, also from their Yancha (i won't hold my hopes high though...), and what i found very interesting the traditional rolled Wulong and Tikuanyin - maybe they come close to what these teas once tasted.
A quick note on "traditional rolled" oolong and TGY: most reputable vendors of TGY whom I have consulted (e.g. Seven Cups, Zhen Tea, etc.) have suggested that the ball rolled form for TKY really only dates to the 1990's when the Taiwanese began investing there; prior to that the standard was a twisted leaf an in the Wuyi area. This corresponds to my own (mostly speculative) research on the Taiwanese side of things (https://tillermantea.net/2018/02/ball/). I currently am trying to research information on technology transfers between Fujian and Taiwan to determine which way the procedure moved. Documentation is dreadful, however, so I'll need to be looking at newspaper records mostly. The point is, there doesn't seem to be much evidence extant that the balled form is traditional for TGY. I'm happy to be shown to be wrong; I'd just like to know the truth here.
theredbaron
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Fri May 03, 2019 3:53 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 10:49 am


A quick note on "traditional rolled" oolong and TGY: most reputable vendors of TGY whom I have consulted (e.g. Seven Cups, Zhen Tea, etc.) have suggested that the ball rolled form for TKY really only dates to the 1990's when the Taiwanese began investing there; prior to that the standard was a twisted leaf an in the Wuyi area. This corresponds to my own (mostly speculative) research on the Taiwanese side of things (https://tillermantea.net/2018/02/ball/). I currently am trying to research information on technology transfers between Fujian and Taiwan to determine which way the procedure moved. Documentation is dreadful, however, so I'll need to be looking at newspaper records mostly. The point is, there doesn't seem to be much evidence extant that the balled form is traditional for TGY. I'm happy to be shown to be wrong; I'd just like to know the truth here.
Indeed previously Ti Kuan Yin was not ball rolled, but more twisted similar to Yancha. The first Ti Kuan Yin i bought in the early 90's was twisted and not ball rolled. I even found some years ago a tin of Ti Kuan Yin (i believe it may have been Sea Dyke) from that time and which i have completely forgotten about. The leaves were not ball rolled but twisted.
Point i was making was that i saw on verdant teas a maker who did twist and not roll the leaves, which i find very interesting.
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Bok
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Sat May 04, 2019 11:40 pm

Finally opened the tea I bought in Guangzhou for sampling: Beitou Yelan xiang, according to the seller three times charcoal roasted and not machine processed.

Leaves red edges indicating that it is indeed hand processing.

Brewed in a gaiwan first, later comparing to modern CZ pot. Pot is a tad nicer, less edgy.

All in all a good tea, not quite as my benchmark DC, but very good price value for what I paid. The biggest difference is mainly the amount of flavour, the endurance and lack of bitterness when pushed.
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OCTO
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Sun May 05, 2019 2:00 am

@Bok , very nice setup coupled with very nice tea 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
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Bok
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Sun May 05, 2019 4:31 am

@OCTO cheers mate!
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pantry
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Fri May 31, 2019 1:41 am

@theredbaron I just sampled Cindy's old bush Milan Xiang DC, and thought it was quite nice. Very fragrant. Nice lychee aroma. A little greener than similar DC I had in the past, but not too bad. The Duck Shit one is more green I think
aet
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Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:28 pm

I do not count my self as a specialist on DC , so please take it as my personal opinion based on some experience in tea biz.

From what I follow on not only foreign market, the price doesn't really have to reflect the quality or grade ( of course nobody sells the high quality for cheap, but some do other-way around ) . You never know the vendor's expenses. You don't know who buys from farmer / producers ( on internet can pretend anything ) for what price ( it could be all different no matter they claim about some direct sourcing etc. ) Also you don't know how much profit they require, also different with any vendor.
I see many threads from tea drinkers "worrying" to be ripped off or not sure about the quality of teas they have already purchased , searching some answers on internet forgetting the one important thing. The price and quality judge is only You ;-)
If you like DC teas , I'd suggest to spend more time on google than asking on forums where same vendors are recommended over and over ( usually by same people ) .
I can speak only behalf of my self and that's what I would do if search for optimal vendor.
Choose 1 or few names ( in particular type of tea ) , so for example as mentioned here Duck Shit. Find the other names used for that , like CN one is Ya Shi Xiang , and google as many as sites possible with keywords suitable for your purchase ( means if u want shipping in you country or don't mind to get it from China , or even directly from the place of production ) .

I would pick few vendors and buy samples of exactly the same model. Please note that DC also have various types of processing , dark, medium light and if older also storage is imprinted into the taste ( like dry or wet ) . If you are passionate about it you can learn some CN terms used like Xue Pian Wu Ye ( something like Snow Flakes Dark Leafs ) , which basically stands for winter harvest and supposed to be the best one for Duck Shit teas ( like spring for green tea ). Winter harvest is also quite often processed with light roasting coz leafs are rich in taste and no need to enhance it with nutty ( heavy roasting ) notes.
I would compare it like early spring "tou chun" harvest and puerh processing. Nobody is using 1st flush making a shu puerh ( economically also not effective ) , since it's already good as it is in sheng version.
Chi Ye or Bai Ye are best in autumn..etc. There is a lot of CN terminology which might help you to orientate your self in DC world.

I would pick the DC which I didn't like at first place and try to find it from different vendors , compare, maybe find out that the 1st one was low quality or brew it wrong way.
Judging the quality is about the practice , finding the right vendor is about the try & fail .

There is also lots of commercial hype around the DC and marketing strategy from vendors ( like free shipping or XX% discounts ) don't make the see the real price easier either. You can check how much is the shipping from same vendor by looking at their items without "free shipping" ( please mind that pressed tea and fragile loose leaf require different packaging , so look for similar character of the product , and weight of course ) .
I would also spend some time with narrowed selection of vendors and read their "About us" or their blogs, to get a picture who are they.
Some vendors just re-sell tea as "shoes" , like some thing...no personal attachments, if u know what I mean. Some vendors go with Traditional CN tea culture and all that commercial "beauty " around the tea ( not my favorite one ). I think it's good for tourists, not for actual dedicated tea drinker. Some vendors are big , with directors, managers ,CEO etc., some of them just simple family shop or factory. Again, please note, internet is very confusing in those aspects, I see many vendors on TB hugging a fat tea tree claiming to be a farmer / owner of this and selling sheng pu-erh directly ;-)))

So to sum it up, it all boils down to you very own buy & try concept ;-)
Have fun;-)
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Bok
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Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:38 pm

@aet very good advice and summary on how to proceed. Recommended for any tea really if you do not live near or in the country of production.
The most difficult part is probably to blend out the noise (fellow tea enthousiast's talk, vendor promotion, current tea hype).

Don't take any information for truth, until you confirmed it yourself, try try try and trust your own palate and instincts.
And be open minded! You might surprise yourself.
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debunix
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Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:48 am

Bok wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 11:40 pm
Leaves red edges indicating that it is indeed hand processing.
Curious: how does leaf edge indicate hand processing?
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Bok
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Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:34 pm

It has to do with the manual oxidation process, but I do not recall the exact step or method that causes this. Also not universally true for all kinds of tea, Taiwan hand(still in parts mechanical) processed teas do not exhibit this feature.
aet
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Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:13 pm

debunix wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:48 am
Bok wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 11:40 pm
Leaves red edges indicating that it is indeed hand processing.
Curious: how does leaf edge indicate hand processing?
processing on pan is never accurate like roasting drum which spins and roast tea leafs evenly. On pan you always end up with some burns , which apparently are obvious on edges ( info from the tea farmers and producers ). Yet, must to say, I've done few kill greens my self and not sure how it works, coz I can burn leaf in the middle , not only on edges. Maybe coz edges are thinner so get burned easier?

I suspect it's related to cooling step after plucking when leafs start slowly decaying ( fermenting ) during the time before kill green. The slightly "fermented" tea leafs on edges ( because edges are thinner than middle of the leaf where stem is ) will turn to red when got hit by heat.

It's just I think it is like that , and farmers story about handmade red edges is only marketing to push tea as crafted art which tea tourists love.
Technically speaking , massive produced tea in roasting drums might not have those edges because cooling time after picking is not that long since factories have efficient cooling system and many drums to use sanctimoniously. Big grills where leafs are spread and cooling fans blowing cold air from bellow.
I've seen same even in small tea farm in Guang Bie Lao Zhai, where farmer had 2 big channels like that. so in that case their tea might not have red edges either. ( if my fermentation theory is correct ) .

Anyway, good question which I forgot about long time. I will check again next time in different factory or tea farm.
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Bok
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Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:59 pm

Thanks for the additional technical background!
aet wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:13 pm
It's just I think it is like that , and farmers story about handmade red edges is only marketing to push tea as crafted art which tea tourists love.
In my particular case, the farmer did not even mention the edges, or otherwise push or explain his teas, just preparing them as they were. It was also very nicely priced, too good to be the kind that takes advantage of hand-made claims to justify a high price.

I seem to remember red edges to be a sign for true Tieguanyin from China, which is apparenltly hard to find nowadays. Not sure if that is a marketing thing though.
Sweetestdew
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:28 am

This is the first I've heard of tea habitat and china blocks blogspot so I cant look at her blog. So with out being able to compare, I do suggest Tea Drunk. Also pricey but a lot of great flavors in there.
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