Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs


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Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Poohblah » Sep 9th, '11, 23:10

Hi guys,
I've never ordered tea from DTH, and I'd like to try some of their Dan Congs (in addition to other things, of course). I was just wondering if any of you guys have tried any of the latest batch of Dan Congs from DTH and what you thought of them. I see there is a small amount of discussion in this thread already. Of course, I'm not expecting anything spectacular at their price point, but neither can I afford anything more expensive - I'm stuck with commercial grade DC for now ;) If you have opinions on what to go for and what to avoid, your sharing them would be much appreciated :)
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby phoenixK » Sep 10th, '11, 00:18

I have been trying to find good Dan Congs that won't break the bank as well. So I'm really interested in what you all have to say!
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby wyardley » Sep 10th, '11, 00:37

Of course, depends on your price limit, but I really think Tea Habitat's commercial grade offerings are a good value. Sure, some of their stuff is very expensive, but the commercial grade stuff is better than a lot of stuff people sell at much higher prices. I (and some other folks I've talked to) also find it a bit more forgiving to brew.

[disclaimer: the owner is a friend]

A few years ago, at least, the Honey Orchid (milan) dancong from Bird Pick / Wing Hop Fung was pretty decent for the price. Other ones not as much. It's cheaper locally than online

I assume it's this one... $60/lb online, and maybe $40/lb at Wing Hop Fung.

http://www.birdpick.com/our-teas/loose- ... olong.html
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby bagua7 » Sep 12th, '11, 05:23

I also would like to add that with dancongs, these are teas, like sheng puerhs, improve with age. Don't hold your breath thinking that you'll hit the nail on the head with your next purchase, let that be DTH or a local vendor, unless you know exactly what you are after and and from whom you are purchasing the specific dancong; basically, a behaviour typical of a target-based high-end consumer.

Good luck!

PD: are you using a gaiwan or a dedicated pot for this moody oolongs?
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Tead Off » Sep 12th, '11, 06:42

bagua7 wrote:PD: are you using a gaiwan or a dedicated pot for this moody oolongs?

I don't think they are moody oolongs. It's only a bad one that we think a different pot or leaf amount or water temp will make a difference magically. If you simply do flash brews with enough leaf in the pot, you will get a good brew with a good tea. Sometimes I will use a pot which doesn't bring out what I know is there in a tea but it is not the same thing as the tea being moody. It's the vessel not doing the proper job but I still get a good cup. Can you see the difference? When I struggle with a tea, the tea is usually not very good.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Itsgoingtorains... » Sep 12th, '11, 12:34

DTH's dan Congs are not worth the time and money, their picture display may look good but once it arrives and you open it, it looks different and taste like crap.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Poohblah » Sep 12th, '11, 18:29

I'll definitely order from Imen sometime soon, and I'm putting the birdpick DC on my list of things to try as well. And to answer bagua's question, I'm using a little porcelain gaiwan. Maybe 60mL or so? Perfect for most oolongs. I'd rather spend money on tea than on teapots.

itsgoingtorainsoon wrote:DTH's dan Congs are not worth the time and money, their picture display may look good but once it arrives and you open it, it looks different and taste like crap.
Would you mind being specific and fleshing out this statement more? To me, the claim "tastes like crap" says that you didn't like the tea, not necessarily that it is a bad tea.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Herb_Master » Sep 12th, '11, 19:04

Poohblah wrote:Would you mind being specific and fleshing out this statement more? To me, the claim "tastes like crap" says that you didn't like the tea, not necessarily that it is a bad tea.


1a This type of assessment on Gordon's Dan Congs has come from a number of Teachatters.

1b There are also a fair few Teachatters who do not share this opinion.

2a Many Teachatters find Dancong a difficult tea to brew, and do not like it.

2b Many Teachatters do not find it difficult to brew and love it.

- - - - - - - -

Some Teachatters prefer to brew Dan Cong in a fine porcelain gaiwan

Some Teachatters prefer to brew Dan Cong in a pot, Chaou Zhou or Yixing

Some Teachatters love Dan Cong for it's fragrance

Some Teachatters love Dan Cong for it's body, texture and balance

- - - - - - - -

I can't speak for all these Teachatters, but from my experience, using a Porcelain Gaiwan helps you to maximise the fragrance, but the slightest overbrewing of a commercial (plantation sourced) DC can increase the risk of astringency.

Using a thin, Chao Zhou pot slightly decreases the fragrance and slightly increases the body and texture.

Using a thick walled Yixing decreases the fragrance even more, but increases the body and texture more, and astringency arrives later than in the previous 2.

Thus with 3 choices of brewing vessel, I can see where drinkers who are totally averse to astringency can find great fault with commercial level Dcs, and those who are mission bound on Fragrance will fail to appreciate them at all.

- - - - - -
I happen to like a mild amount of astringency in a fuller bodied DC, and have found great favour with many of DTHs DCs.
- - - - - -

Since I started buying from Imen, I have had some wonderful experiences with her teas, and have not felt the need to go back to Gordon. If money gets tight, I would not hesitate to go back to Gordon.
Gordon offers a HUGE rage of teas and other products, he cannot possibly be self certifying every tea he sells, but on the whole he delivers an excellent service - if 1 DC on one year is less than the others, then that is life, but in general I believe he delivers a competitively priced range of products.

If you really are totally averse to a slight amount of astringency, and only want the fragrance highlighted in your cup - then stay away from plantation DCs

Then if you can afford the teas, including the learning curve on brewing and enjoying - head straight to Tea Habitat.

But despite what any of us say, it is down to you. Buy a couple from Gordon, try them with Gaiwan and Yixing and choose your preference, then if you are getting hooked on DC try something from Imen and see it if it raises your appreciation levels.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Sep 12th, '11, 19:37

Poohblah wrote:I'll definitely order from Imen sometime soon, and I'm putting the birdpick DC on my list of things to try as well. I'm using a little porcelain gaiwan. Maybe 60mL or so?


meebe u should change the title of yer thread? "Fishing for DC sources rec's instead of DTH?"

Y just limit urself 2 just the 2 above, there are many others in your price range...which is exactly how much again, as TH's 'commercial' DC's @$25/3oz are 'relatively' less costly than her single bush DC, but not a great value???

According to Imen, porcelain gaiwan will accent the floral/honey qualities of the younger DC's more than clay. In my very limited testing with another TC member @her old brickNmortar store, the thicker CZ clay TP she's selling for $135 on her site, will (likely due to thicker walls/greater heat retention) extract more flavor & caffeine/bitterness <not sure about 'astringency' than either the thinner CZ pots she sells or the gaiwan...at least as she was brewing them for us, and we were tasting in tiny 1oz tasting cups.

Read her blog, after she met with her teamaster on her late 2009 business vacation to China, she thought that before then, she didn't even know how to brew tea compared to what she had learned from her TM on that trip...though she never did post up what is now different.

In other words, your mileage/kilometer fuel efficiency may vary. (YMMV) depending on all sorts of conditions...as Imen herself explained on her brewing DC's section of her site and blog:

http://www.teahabitat.com/store/index.p ... ge=brewing

http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2008/ ... -cong.html

Dan Cong is delicate and some what difficult to brew. Ok it might be the most difficult to brew. I had trouble when I first encounter DC. Either the aroma was not as pronounced or the tea became bitter fast for most of the commercial grade Phoenix Dan Congs Oolong Teas.

Like any tea, water, temperature and timing are crucial in maximizing the potential of the leaves.

Water:
DC prefers slightly higher PH water (7.25-7.5). Here in Southern California, tap water can be used after boiled with bamboo charcoal. For better result, filter tap water with Brita then boil water with bamboo charcoal, after water is boiled, simmer for 10 minutes with just enough fire to keep it hot but not bubbling. Well filtered water such as reverse osmosis filtered water can not bring out the aroma and the honey taste as well as the above method. Tea would have a soapy slippery texture without the honey and fragrance. When water is right, tea would have a buttery honey water taste.


Imen' skills are good enough that using just her plain RO water at her store(which she says above, doesn't maximize the aroma) she could get plenty of aromas/honey flavors from just about any vessel....and yet when we, mere inexperienced mortals try, we have problems (except her friend Will above :p, or maybe Thi...or her other teahead friends like Roy :D )

BTW, my skllz with Imen's DC's are so great I can get bitterness and no aromas from *any* DC she sells, lol >>>'78 DC, highest-end younger DC's or those with a few years age...you name it, I can do it! :p
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby debunix » Sep 12th, '11, 19:54

Disclaimer: I haven't tried the DTH Dan Congs. I have now tried about half a dozen from Imen, 2-3 at a time, both her 'commercial' and her 'DC' grades, two from Wing Hop Fung, and now two from Norbu. With that very limited experience I can confirm that these teas do yield quite different experiences brewed in different vessels. Sometimes I am more interested in perfume and brew in a gaiwan, sometimes I want the flavor mellowed a bit more and use a clay pot. Both ways work for me, depending on my mood.

The one constant is that they all seem to taste best when freshly brewed, because perfume escapes and bitterness enters when they sit. I tried a couple of 'commercial' grades to see if they would be suited for bulk brewing/keeping for several hours in my thermos, and they did not work well for that use.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Poohblah » Sep 12th, '11, 23:15

wh&yel-apprentice wrote:
Poohblah wrote:I'll definitely order from Imen sometime soon, and I'm putting the birdpick DC on my list of things to try as well. I'm using a little porcelain gaiwan. Maybe 60mL or so?


meebe u should change the title of yer thread? "Fishing for DC sources rec's instead of DTH?"

Y just limit urself 2 just the 2 above, there are many others in your price range...which is exactly how much again, as TH's 'commercial' DC's @$25/3oz are 'relatively' less costly than her single bush DC, but not a great value???
The thread is titled accurately. I'm going to order a variety of teas from DTH, since I haven't ever purchased from that vendor, and I wanted to know if his DCs were worth trying. I've heard many great things about Imen's teas, but I still want to try something else, if only for a point of comparison.

And to address Herb Master, thank you. I haven't found any DC yet that I find particularly difficult to brew, though I have noticed that small variations in amount of leaf, water temperature, time, etc. can often effect surprisingly large changes in flavor. Most of the Dan Congs I have tried have come from Seven Cups, since they have a brick and mortar store near me, and they've got me kind of hooked on DC.

It seems that the best way to find out if DTHs DCs are any good is to buy a little and try myself. I'll also buy from Imen and other sources. If I enjoy one vendor's teas more than another's, then my choice is made; if not, I'll stick with cheaper stuff.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby debunix » Sep 12th, '11, 23:18

From my recent DTH order, I can highly recommend the 'cold brew' Da Yu Ling as a nice hot but exceptional cold-brewed tea. I did not enjoy the 'milk' oolong (unpleasantly strong flavor shouted adulteration), but the other teas I ordered were nice. And the DYL was wonderful.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby Poohblah » Sep 12th, '11, 23:25

debunix wrote:From my recent DTH order, I can highly recommend the 'cold brew' Da Yu Ling as a nice hot but exceptional cold-brewed tea. I did not enjoy the 'milk' oolong (unpleasantly strong flavor shouted adulteration), but the other teas I ordered were nice. And the DYL was wonderful.

Thanks. A couple years ago, my friends and I discovered milk oolong and we went on a milk oolong binge. I can hardly drink that stuff any more. From DTH, I was thinking of getting Lu An Gua Pian and Yixing Hongcha, since I haven't tried those two yet, and maybe some other, more familiar teas, such as Silver Needles, Yunnan hongcha, and Shui Xian.

How do you brew the DYL? Put a few grams in a thermos and leave it in the fridge overnight?
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby debunix » Sep 12th, '11, 23:47

Poohblah wrote:I was thinking of getting Lu An Gua Pian


I have some of this at home but haven't yet opened it--too many green teas there at present. I hope to try it very soon.

Poohblah wrote:How do you brew the DYL? Put a few grams in a thermos and leave it in the fridge overnight?


Exactly. I leave it least 6 hours, up to 24 hours.
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Re: Fishing for opinions on DTH's Dan Congs

Postby oak » Sep 13th, '11, 14:28

I could have enjoyed this good tea. My first impression on having smelt it was as if I was meeting the mixture of two different teas, a gyokuro and a black tea. Later the flavor remembered me raisins, plums, chestnuts. It is the first time that I receive small and entire leaves. Very rich. A pleasure. The crop is of 2011. I leave the page where I bought it

http://www.ebay.es/itm/300462156629?ssP ... 1439.l2649

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