Please help - dancong tastes wrong


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby b101 » Jul 2nd, '13, 04:22

I've just got my first gaiwan and try to experment with the gong fu methood. Till now i haven't drunk many oolongs and did it the western way :oops: . I have this tea Spring Nonpareil Mt. Wudong Song Variety Huang Zhi Xiang(Gardenia) Phoenix Dan Cong. I have tried many settings regarding the brewing lengths.
the settings were: my 120ml gaiwan was filled 1/3 of it| I used 90c water| wash/20s/30s/40s and wash 15s/25s/35s.
still can't figure it out. The tea tases bitter and flat (i'm sure no liquid is left between steeps). I even tried comparing to my usual 5 min brew pot in the western style, and that tasted less bitter and more complex, but less stronger. Any advice, what is the recommened settings for this tea? as i've found the internet is full of completely different versions claiming what is the best way this tea is prepared. thanks :o
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Re: please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby MacGuffin » Jul 2nd, '13, 07:28

Dans have a tendency to be bitter which is why a tea like Eight Immortals tastes so awesome if the bush is transplanted and grown in a different area. Try very short steeps, not too much leaf, water boiled then cooled to no bubbles. I think my own results with dans have been good because fast steeps, regardless of tea type, are what work for me in general. Good luck!

BTW, my rinse method for oxidized teas: preheat pot or gaiwan with boiling water; add pre-measured leaves to dry pot, cover and swoosh a few times to warm everything for a bit; uncover and inhale the glory; add hot water, cover and swish for just a few seconds; drain; allow leaves to rest uncovered for a minute or so, then brew. I get nice results with this method.
Last edited by MacGuffin on Jul 2nd, '13, 13:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby David R. » Jul 2nd, '13, 09:43

Good dan cong are not bitter. Bad ones are. I don't know what category yours fall under.

The way I do it (which doesn't mean it's the best) : enough leaves (half of the gaiwan), boiling water, and very short brews (a few seconds) till you need something stronger, in which case you add a few seconds.

The quality of your water will be important so watch out.
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Re: please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby b101 » Jul 2nd, '13, 10:04

maybe a obvious one: you first rinse the leaves like tieguanyin right? i'm not sure because i understand that the rinse part is crucial to open beads or wash the pu er...

edit after brewing some tieguanyin: I have to say that tieguanyin tastes ALOT better in gu fu methood. still haven't match the same success with the dancong. thanks for the advices though :P
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby debunix » Jul 2nd, '13, 13:26

I've had some lower quality Dan Congs that I simply could not get to an enjoyable brew, but most of the time shorter lighter steeps got me to where I wanted to be. And with my best DCs from TeaHabitat, the rule is always to dilute an infusion if I overbrew--it's nearly always worth the hassle to salvage some good stuff from it.
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Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby Abracadaver! » Jul 2nd, '13, 14:05

Z
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Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby Abracadaver! » Jul 2nd, '13, 14:24

Uh, oops...pocket post...please disregard.
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby wyardley » Jul 2nd, '13, 17:26

Good dan cong are not bitter. Bad ones are.

I would disagree - I think some good quality dancong and Fenghuang shuixian can be fairly bitter or astringent, or at least can become so if not brewed carefully. And, on the flip side, I've had some lower end ones that are fairly tolerant of strong brewing without becoming bitter or astringent.

I think one reason for this is that a lot of the higher end dancong can be a little less oxidized.

I had some beginners luck when I first started brewing it, but the more I drink tea, the more I believe the old story that this is one of the more difficult teas to brew well. What I find is that it's very hard to get the sweet spot of not too much "water taste", but also not too much astringency.

Some other great threads about brewing dancong on this forum, such as:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7750
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10870
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby b101 » Jul 3rd, '13, 06:13

wyardley wrote:
Good dan cong are not bitter. Bad ones are.


Some other great threads about brewing dancong on this forum, such as:
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7750
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10870


thanks for the links. seems like i'm not alone facing this problem
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby wyardley » Jul 3rd, '13, 16:55

Well, whether or not the tea is the problem, trying some other dancongs is not a bad idea. But try out some of the suggestions in those threads and let us know if the taste improves.

Try using slightly hotter water, and pouring in a high, thin stream against the wall of the gaiwan. If the leaf seems broken at all, maybe try using a little bit less leaf.
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby verus » Jul 4th, '13, 21:14

For me dancong works best when it's brewed very light - almost like a green tea. Brings out the sweetness and fragrance just fine for me. I'd try lower temps, and shorter steeping times, and maybe also less leaf.
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby b101 » Jul 6th, '13, 08:53

finnaly got it... what's worked for me is using less leaves (about 1/4 of 120 ml gaiwan) and steeping times of wash/20s/30s/30s/45s. tempature i used is ~90c. the balance between watery taste and bitter taste is very fragile in this kind of tea.
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby ABx » Jul 13th, '13, 18:50

In addition to wyardley's advice, I'd do quicker steeps. Imen generally says under 10 seconds, even on the first steep, and that has always worked well for me. Dancong isn't heavily rolled, so it doesn't take as long for the leaf to open up.

Using boiling water and pouring high in a thin stream adds quite a bit. In addition to being just about the right temp to bring out good complexity (this is how Imen brews, BTW), pouring that slowly so that the leaf stays still (instead of rolling around) tends to preserve a more "pure" fragrance. When the leaf is disturbed while pouring the water in you're more likely to get bitterness and other "wild" characteristics.

You should also try to make sure to use pretty hard water. I actually like Evian best for dancong.

If you haven't already, Imen's blog is a wealth of info on dancong:
http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby ABx » Jul 13th, '13, 18:52

wyardley wrote:
Good dan cong are not bitter. Bad ones are.

I would disagree - I think some good quality dancong and Fenghuang shuixian can be fairly bitter or astringent, or at least can become so if not brewed carefully. And, on the flip side, I've had some lower end ones that are fairly tolerant of strong brewing without becoming bitter or astringent.

Agreed. It's also important to note that there are different kinds of bitterness, and many of them are a good kind of bitterness.
http://chineseteas101.com/goodcupotea.htm

One of the owners of a local tea house that immigrated here from China noted that it's frustrating trying to talk about it in English; they have something like 7 different terms for different kinds of bitterness while we have only one, and it's generally considered to be a bad thing.
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Re: Please help - dancong tastes wrong

Postby yalokinh » Jul 29th, '13, 12:48

b101 wrote:I've just got my first gaiwan and try to experment with the gong fu methood. Till now i haven't drunk many oolongs and did it the western way :oops: . I have this tea Spring Nonpareil Mt. Wudong Song Variety Huang Zhi Xiang(Gardenia) Phoenix Dan Cong. I have tried many settings regarding the brewing lengths.
the settings were: my 120ml gaiwan was filled 1/3 of it| I used 90c water| wash/20s/30s/40s and wash 15s/25s/35s.
still can't figure it out. The tea tases bitter and flat (i'm sure no liquid is left between steeps). I even tried comparing to my usual 5 min brew pot in the western style, and that tasted less bitter and more complex, but less stronger. Any advice, what is the recommened settings for this tea? as i've found the internet is full of completely different versions claiming what is the best way this tea is prepared. thanks :o


I had the same problem,
what I did was lower the temp, and do a 5sec wash, then 1s, 1s, 2s, 4s, 6s, 9s, 15s, and if the tea has anything else to offer I just keep going.
These times are not exact and I'm only going off of what I remember two months ago so I might be wrong.
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