A review from last night....
Mi Lan Dan Cong - 2011 Spring Fenghuang Oolong Tea by Norbu Tea
2.2 grams of dark twisted leaves, with little aroma, in a small porcelain gaiwan, with water at 205 degrees for the first set of infusions with about 60-75mL water per infusion.
Dropping the leaf into a preheated gaiwan, some fruity/peachy odors become more noticeable.
Just because I’m a tea-wimp, I started with a 10 second flash infusion just to get a sense of the tea. Even this overly dilute more or less rinse is a little fruity and sweet—peaches and honey. Very nice start.
A more proper 45 second infusion continues the sweet fruitiness, more intense, and very subtle almost grassy undertones without a trace of bitterness.
Another 45 second infusion is similarly sweet, right up front, little different from the previous.
1 minute infusion has a little astringency or spiciness starting to come through as an aftertaste, but the first and middle of each sip/swallow continues to be dominated by sweet and fruity.
1 minute 15 seconds, similar to previous.
90 second infusion, tart, fruity, sweet; spicey/astringent still mostly as aftertaste.
2 minute infusion is rather weak—the leaves appear to be reaching the end. Still sweet, fruity, and the astringency was virtually gone, but the sweetness and fruitiness were less intense.
4 minute infusion (note that the infusion temperature will have dropped quite a bit over 4 minutes in this thin porcelain gaiwan)—definitely the leaves are done. Only faint sweet/fruity/floral traces are left, and the dominant note is astringency/bitterness, although still quite mild.
This is a lovely oolong tea, quite delightful in the early and middle infusions, and brewed at this concentration, it promises improved staying power for multiple infusions if brewed more agressively—the fully hydrated leaves, which remain thin and twisty, occupy only about 25-30% of the volume of the gaiwan. I’ve mostly been brewing similar teas more concentrated, to fill the brewing vessel 1/2-2/3 full or more. At that concentration, this tea compares quite favorably to other ‘commercial’ Dan Cong style oolongs—notable not so much for endless infusions, but for mellow deliciousness that has too often been lacking in similar teas.