Dan Cong Trouble


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

Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby debunix » Jan 11th, '10, 01:04

tenuki wrote:too finicky for the average tea person


What would you consider an average tea person?

I've only branched out from drinking the same two teas over and over 2 years ago, and have loved each of the Dan Congs I've brewed.

I do take some extra care with these teas, because they are so expensive. Because the dried leaves are large and light, quite different from the other oolongs I brew, I weigh the leaves before brewing, and check the water temperature with a thermometer before use, although I don't worry about being too precise--anything between 170 and 190 has been fine. I use a timer for some infusions but not others--depending on whether I remember to set it in time. I don't use special water or expensive pots.

I don't think that I'm deluding myself into enjoying these teas simply because they're expensive. It's true that they're the only Dan Congs I've had, so I have no other Dan Congs to compare them with, but in the past year I've been working with at least a dozen different Ti Kuan Yins, Ali Shans, Wu Yis, and Pouchongs, and I don't find the Dan Congs any trickier than the others.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby tenuki » Jan 11th, '10, 01:55

Hey, it's just some guys opinion on the internet, which means it's free and easy to ignore.

At least I was funny.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby shah82 » Jan 11th, '10, 15:03

I've only had Hou De's dancongs to compare. However, *those* dancongs, even though most of it is just me learning how to brew tea, are considerably more finicky than the Tea Habitat tea that I've had. For instance, the Golden Pearls dancong requires supa skills and intuition in order to brew more than maybe 3 times with good results. Muuuuuch better idea to treat it like a black tea and brew 3 teaspoons to a 24oz glass (or some other thin walled pot) vessel for an awesomely fruity tea with a vivacious bitter kick.

Their Ba Xian dancong is underrated because it doesn't really accomodate misbrewing for exciting tea. However, when you brew it right, it goes from being a lightly flavored pleasantly bland floral experience to essentially drinking all of the best of what a durian is (proteinous cheese-berries-sauteed onions) without the intense sulfer on your tastebuds or in your nostrils. Others have described it as seafood or sashimi. Really good.

Their standard Mi Lan is pretty much your go-to tea for a dancong with reliable flavor and smell over a wide range of brewing tactics.

I think what TeaMeow went through is simply that Teahabitat's tea isn't really selected to his/her taste. All of these high quality tea places have very distinct experience preferences and we the customers are essentially buying their taste in tea for the most part. Only, though, branding is in the drinking of the tea, instead of knowing what you're really getting from the outset. This is why one key method of really understanding tea is to get the *same* tea from *different* places for awhile and experiment until you understand that particular tea well.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby mr. Less » Jan 11th, '10, 17:33

well i have houd de 's ba xian at my home, and i find it hard to brew
i always have the feeling i dont get the real potential out of this tea

if you have any tips, i would appreciate it
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby mr. Less » Jan 11th, '10, 17:34

well i have houd de 's ba xian at my home, and i find it hard to brew
i always have the feeling i dont get the real potential out of this tea

if you have any tips, i would appreciate it
thanxs
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby TokyoB » Jan 22nd, '10, 22:49

Sorry but I'm with Tenuki and mr. less - DC is tough to brew! The most difficult I've found at least. Or as someone suggested, maybe this isn't my cup of tea!
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby gingkoseto » Jan 22nd, '10, 23:35

When you say you didn't get full potential out of the tea, did you mean the tea was not flavorful, or the flavor was not pleasant? In my experience and what I've learned from conversation with other people, there are a few possibilities:

If the tea is a winter tea, light roast, and you feel it's soapy (too fragrant to enjoy), then probably it's not your cup of tea. You can still try spring dan cong next time.

If the tea tastes bitter, try shorter infusion (5-10sec, virtually no waiting time between pouring water in and draining it out). If it's still bitter, examine if the leaves are broken. If they are broken and bitter, maybe there is little you can do.

If the leaves are broken and it's not bitter, ha, good tea!

If the flavor so too strong that makes you almost lose your mind, then try using less leaves. Although native Chaozhou people use many leaves, not everyone carries the gene to handle many leaves at one time :D

If the tea tastes flavorless... I don't know... I've never had a dan cong that's flavorless. Most people's problem with them is they are too strong. :shock:
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby wyardley » Jan 23rd, '10, 05:08

I can accept that sometimes the problem is me (my brewing, or maybe just my taste buds), and sometimes the problem is simply bad tea. The hard part is knowing which one.

gingko wrote:If the tea tastes flavorless... I don't know... I've never had a dan cong that's flavorless. Most people's problem with them is they are too strong. :shock:


Maybe not exactly flavorless, but I do find certain dancong lacking in flavor if I use too little leaf, and overly astringent if I use too much. Finding the right balance is one of the tougher parts for me. Also, with too little leaf, sometimes the brewed tea seems a little rough on the throat, especially in later brews.

I think if it's a tea you brew frequently, you develop a sense of how to brew it. My dancong brewing has gotten worse, but that's partially because it's not a tea I like to drink that often.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby Tead Off » Jan 23rd, '10, 12:13

wyardley wrote:I can accept that sometimes the problem is me (my brewing, or maybe just my taste buds), and sometimes the problem is simply bad tea. The hard part is knowing which one.

gingko wrote:If the tea tastes flavorless... I don't know... I've never had a dan cong that's flavorless. Most people's problem with them is they are too strong. :shock:


Maybe not exactly flavorless, but I do find certain dancong lacking in flavor if I use too little leaf, and overly astringent if I use too much. Finding the right balance is one of the tougher parts for me. Also, with too little leaf, sometimes the brewed tea seems a little rough on the throat, especially in later brews.

I think if it's a tea you brew frequently, you develop a sense of how to brew it. My dancong brewing has gotten worse, but that's partially because it's not a tea I like to drink that often.


I can relate to your experience almost to the word! I have racked my brain and often stopped short of throwing the tea and the teapots against the wall. :twisted: Then, the other day, someone gave me a Chao Zhou teapot and, voila, like magic, flavor and aroma appeared doing the same brewing that I've done in numerous pots and porcelains. But, you know what? Like Gingko said, some teas are just bad. The ones I have definitely fall into this category. I have had only 1 DC that I thought was great and that was in HK and it was very expensive.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby gingkoseto » Jan 23rd, '10, 13:19

Well actually I wouldn't easily say some dan cong is "bad" :P Taste is very subjective. Most people in Chaozhou drink dan cong or its kind (or maybe should call it shui xian) at a price lower than 100rmb/lb. Those cheap products are actually not bad. I once tried some ordinary feng huang shui xian. Even in China it's considered very inexpensive (<$20 per lb.). It's of course not comparable to top notch dan cong or shui xian, but very enjoyable.

I guess people's tolerance levels to bitter/astringency largely affect whether they like specific tea. Some old people in Chaozhou would say, "if a tea is neither bitter nor astringent, then it doesn't serve the purpose of a tea." But obviously that's not what I look for in a tea. However, a few dan congs I like, my husband things they are very bitter, and I think that's some flavor that shouldn't be called bitterness. Maybe it's like how much bitter I think olives are, but they are not bitter at all to many other people.

According to what I learned from some people who tolerate or even like bitter/astringency in tea (mostly puerh), they would tolerate bitterness that hits the tongue then immediately disappear. Even if the bitterness is strong, they don't think it's annoying. But if the bitterness/astringency sticks to the tongue for a long time, most people wouldn't like it. Most of the time, if I find a dancong bitter, the bitterness is like the "hit and immediately disappear" situation, but could be very very strong.

But we don't have to always deal with the bitterness issue. There are numerous dan cong products that don't have any bitterness. Generally speaking I think spring tea is easier to deal with than winter tea. For tea with bitter tendency, short infusion and thorough drainage between infusions may help.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby Tead Off » Jan 24th, '10, 01:53

For me, the flavor has to override the bitterness for me to want to buy a tea again. For ordinary dancong, I don't buy because there is not enough enjoyment in the flavor for my taste. Add to that, it is a difficult tea to brew as many posters here can attest to. The good stuff is so expensive that one has to be wealthy to drink it regularly. But, I only will talk for myself.
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby ABx » Jan 25th, '10, 00:22

Tead Off wrote:For me, the flavor has to override the bitterness for me to want to buy a tea again. For ordinary dancong, I don't buy because there is not enough enjoyment in the flavor for my taste. Add to that, it is a difficult tea to brew as many posters here can attest to. The good stuff is so expensive that one has to be wealthy to drink it regularly. But, I only will talk for myself.

You should really try a gaiwan; they really do a much better job with DC ;) DC doesn't have to be bitter, you just can't let it steep for too long and don't use too much leaf. Going off memory I'd say a quarter to half gaiwan of leaf (very loose - it's so wiry that that isn't very much), and you don't want to let it steep for more than about 10 seconds.

Regarding taste, see below.

Tenuki wrote:IMO her teas are too finicky for the average tea person to truely enjoy in a reliable manner.

DC in general is finicky. I would say that Imen's stuff is probably the least finicky, especially the high grade. Most people ask how to brew the high grade stuff because the price is intimidating. If you can only afford one ounce, you don't have much to waste. Almost anyone with experience using a gaiwan can use Imen's instructions to get a much-better-than-average cup from the high grade stuff.

I would say that the big thing about DC is that it's different from other wulong, both in brewing and in the tea itself. When brewing it, many of your familiar tricks for other wulong will backfire. As with any good tea, it simply takes experience to learn to brew to its potential. If all of your experience is in another type of tea, then you're starting from scratch.

As for the tea itself, it's much more about aroma than taste, and that's something that the average tea drinker can't always fully appreciate. A good cup can be smelled in the mouth, but if you're focused on your taste buds then it might not satisfy. I have to be in a particular mood for DC, and I find that I appreciate it more in spring when my senses are perpetually buzzing from the smell of everything blooming.

Tenuki wrote:a lot of other less finicky teas taste just as yummy

Taste, yes; smell, no :) I've never found a tea that can compare with the intensely vivid aroma of high grade DC; especially since I've gotten more experience with brewing.

Tenuki wrote:...don't promote self delusion...

Seems a bit ostentatious to assume that everyone else is deluding themselves because you couldn't get what you wanted from it :)

Tenuki wrote:hokey suggestions about water swirling from left to right instead of right to left

A bit beyond hyperbole. Imen uses high vs low pours to control temperature; I've come to prefer that method myself for all wulong, and that principal has taught me more than any other when re-examining how I was brewing other teas. The same goes for pouring in one spot on the gaiwan, around the edge, or directly on the leaf. In short, those "esoteric" methods are just about not scorching leaf that's susceptible to it.

Tenuki wrote:Dan Tchong

Fonetik speling iz kool! But wat about wen ur talking 2 sum1 frum ChaoZhou who sez it like "Dan Song"? An wow do u spell da Cantonese pronounciation of "X" (lik yixing) were they sey it uzing there throat and back teeth?

(I tease because I know you talk to Taiwanese, and Taiwanese have a bad habit of spelling things however they please. Just keep in mind that those become even more confusing if you talk to someone who speaks any of the numerous other dialects, or even has to email a main-land vendor. My local Cantonese vendor can figure out my poor pronunciations when I try to pronounce Pinyin, but if I try to say things from phonetic spellings then he has no clue.)
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby Tead Off » Jan 25th, '10, 04:09

ABx wrote:
Tead Off wrote:For me, the flavor has to override the bitterness for me to want to buy a tea again. For ordinary dancong, I don't buy because there is not enough enjoyment in the flavor for my taste. Add to that, it is a difficult tea to brew as many posters here can attest to. The good stuff is so expensive that one has to be wealthy to drink it regularly. But, I only will talk for myself.

You should really try a gaiwan; they really do a much better job with DC ;) DC doesn't have to be bitter, you just can't let it steep for too long and don't use too much leaf. Going off memory I'd say a quarter to half gaiwan of leaf (very loose - it's so wiry that that isn't very much), and you don't want to let it steep for more than about 10 seconds.


I have tried using a gaiwan. The best results so far, have been with a CZ teapot. In my case, I think it's a question of which leaves I use and their quality. I have yet to taste an inexpensive dancong that I have liked. Who, in Asia, might have good quality for a reasonable price?
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby gingkoseto » Jan 25th, '10, 12:11

Tead Off wrote:
I have tried using a gaiwan. The best results so far, have been with a CZ teapot. In my case, I think it's a question of which leaves I use and their quality. I have yet to taste an inexpensive dancong that I have liked. Who, in Asia, might have good quality for a reasonable price?


Tead Off, do you usually buy tea in Thailand or out of Thailand? Since there are many Chaozhou people in southeastern Asia, I guess there must be some sellers of dan cong?
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Re: Dan Cong Trouble

Postby Tead Off » Jan 25th, '10, 12:15

gingko wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
I have tried using a gaiwan. The best results so far, have been with a CZ teapot. In my case, I think it's a question of which leaves I use and their quality. I have yet to taste an inexpensive dancong that I have liked. Who, in Asia, might have good quality for a reasonable price?


Tead Off, do you usually buy tea in Thailand or out of Thailand? Since there are many Chaozhou people in southeastern Asia, I guess there must be some sellers of dan cong?


I buy most of my tea online from Taiwan, China, & Japan. Cheaper, and, generally higher quality than what is available here. However, there is an abundance of Wuyi here because of CZ people living in Thailand. I have not run across dancong yet. But, tomorrow, I will be doing reconaissance in our Chinatown with Mz5, looking at CZ pots and asking questions.
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