2012 dancongs?


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2012 dancongs?

Postby mikkelrl » Apr 26th, '12, 04:49

It seems, the first 2012 dancongs are starting to appear on the websites of different tea vendors. Has anyone tried any of these yet? Anything recommendable?

A more specific bonus question - I am considering whether to buy jing tea shop's lao cong ye sheng dancong ($54 per 50g) or their song zhong dancong ($53,6 per 50g). Has anyone tried both or just one of these from jts?
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby mikkelrl » May 10th, '12, 10:53

Dear everyone,
I have a question that I was hoping you might help me with. I am having serious problems getting my dancongs to tast of anything at all.

Last year I bought Jing Tea Shop's Ba Xian and Ye Sheng dancongs, and was expecting a lot from them, but I never really got any taste out of them. So this year, I thought it best to try what I, at 53$ per 50g, considered their best dancong - the Song Zhong dancong. But I get nothing out of this one either! Almost no taste at all. Very weak notes of something flower-like, but nothing near what I get out of a simple taiwan or southern-fujian oolong. Nothing at all like the flavor explosions people talk about when they talk about dancongs. Could you tell me what I do wrong here?! This is my brewing sequence:

1: heat water to 99 degrees in philips stainless steel kettle
2: pre-heat a 200 ml porcelain gaiwan, almost the type you sell, for 10 seconds.
3: empty the gaiwan and put in 5g of the dancong
4: pour water on the leaves and immediately pour it off, contact for about 2 seconds.
5: brew for 20 seconds, and at differing times for the next infusions (10-20-30-40 - nothing helps!)


Can anyone help me here?
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby Tead Off » May 10th, '12, 11:08

There is a lot of variation with dancong teas as far as quality, taste, and, aroma. It doesn't surprise me to hear that some teas give little to no flavor. But, a good Song Zhong should be noticeably flavorful and aromatic. I would suggest for you to change to a smaller vessel, maybe 100-120ml. A gaiwan or suitable teapot that will accomodate the size of the leaves. Put 1/4 to 1/3 dry leaves into the vessel. Pour almost boiling water into the vessel and pour off right away. Discard. Then fill again and pour off quickly. If the tea is good quality, you will get noticeable flavor and aroma. Quick brews like this, maybe 5-7 times and then increase time as appropriate. You can also visit www.hojotea.com and look at his suggestions for brewing dancong teas. When you get a good dancong and brew it properly, you will know why these are regarded highly. Don't give up!
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby debunix » May 10th, '12, 11:37

mikkelrl wrote:Dear everyone,
Could you tell me what I do wrong here?! This is my brewing sequence:

1: heat water to 99 degrees in philips stainless steel kettle
2: pre-heat a 200 ml porcelain gaiwan, almost the type you sell, for 10 seconds.
3: empty the gaiwan and put in 5g of the dancong
4: pour water on the leaves and immediately pour it off, contact for about 2 seconds.
5: brew for 20 seconds, and at differing times for the next infusions (10-20-30-40 - nothing helps!)



I've never brewed Dan Cong in a 200mL pot or gaiwan--never anything larger than 100mL, and usually 60-75 mL. My leaf to water ratio varies a bit, lower for the most powerful ones I get from Imen at TeaHabitat, higher for the 'commercial' DCs I get from Norbu and other sources, but when I'm brewing the 'commercial' DCs, I usually end up with the gaiwan or small pot at least 3/4 full of leaf when it is fully wetted at the end of the session. For the TeaHabitat specials, I usually end up with the pot 1/3-1/2 full. That's at least 1 gram per ounce (30mL) of water, and for the 'commercial' DCs, I usually use longer brewing times, as long as 30-45 seconds right from the start, and go down from there if I overshoot the target in the first infusion; for the TH DCs, I start with flash rinses and lengthen as needed.

I think your leaf:water ratio is probably too low, especially considering that I generally prefer my tea weaker than many others here on the board, so my ratios should be considered a lower limit.
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby teaisme » May 10th, '12, 13:46

thats very strange, winter baxian was very tasty

Even at 5g 200ml for 20 secs you should be getting decent flavours, far from
mikkelrl wrote:Very weak notes of something flower-like, but nothing near what I get out of a simple taiwan or southern-fujian oolong


Yes increasing leaf amount could help but I don't think that's your main issue.
Since dancongs are not releasing but other teas are perhaps it is your water. Switch them around use a aquafina or dasani to gauge. With either of these waters you should be able to see what the dancong can do and improve water sources from there.

Good luck, hopefully your dancongs turn out better. Have you had good sessions of dancongs elsewhere, not brewed by you?
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby mikkelrl » May 11th, '12, 10:03

Thanks everyone for your help! I will try brewing in my 100ml gaiwan in stead and vary the amount, though I have tried this with a mi lan dancong once, and it didn't make any difference.

Concerning hojo, I have actually been following their instructions concerning heat, brewing devices, and amount of leaves.

Also, I have been following their advice concerning the cleaning of my kettle, which is not removing the lime (or what thats called) that accumulates inside. Perhaps that could be an issue. What is people's opinion on this?

I have never tried a dancong brewed by anyone but myself. There is one high end tea shop in the town I live in (Århus, Denmark), but they don't have dancongs at all. I had one good experience with a dancong, actually, which was what made me interested in it in the first place. I got a sample of AAA mi lan dancong with an order from jing tea shop, which was absolutely amazing, I have no idea what I did right back then. But afterwards, with the five or so dancongs I have tried, I have had the same disappointing experience.

I have tried running the water through a water purifier, but didn't like the taste of the water at all - it turned somewhat bitter. It should be noted that the water in Denmark is very clean, tapped from the underground, but is relatively "hard", that is, it has a high concentration of lime. I will try different types of bottled water and see if that works.
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby David R. » May 12th, '12, 07:19

mikkelrl wrote:I have tried running the water through a water purifier, but didn't like the taste of the water at all - it turned somewhat bitter. It should be noted that the water in Denmark is very clean, tapped from the underground, but is relatively "hard", that is, it has a high concentration of lime. I will try different types of bottled water and see if that works.


Try water with very few minerals for dan cong. It works well for me. Water is indeed very important. I use around 5g/10cl in a gaiwan, maximum temperature, pre heating everything. Rinse and short brews at first (5-10 sec). The quality of the tea will change things too : an excellent tea will behave well under different circumstances, at least that is what I have witnessed. A commercial grade can be more susceptible.
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby Splinters » May 15th, '12, 14:15

I can't offer too much more than the above advice, but here are a few thoughts.

(1) I tried Jing's Winter Ba Xian last year, and it was fantastic -- incredibly aromatic and flavorful. So I don't think it's the tea selection.

(2) I like a stronger flavor, so I usually start my steeps for high-end Dan Congs at 30s, and add 10s for each extra steep. Try increasing the steep time a bit.

(3) Mi Lan has a very strong flavor for a Dan Cong. Don't expect all Dan Congs to have such a strong flavor. Many, including high-end ones, are subtle in flavor and scent. Complex, but subtle.
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby Evan Draper » May 30th, '12, 16:23

A friend brewed the 2012 Jing Lao Cong Ba Xian last night; we used RO water with a little Concentrace. Very light flavors, but some giddy qi.....
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby nw-T » May 31st, '12, 00:23

Evan Draper » May 30th, '12, 13:23

A friend brewed the 2012 Jing Lao Cong Ba Xian last night; we used RO water with a little Concentrace

Is that your normal water you use for tea?

I would think you would want to use the best water available to you.

Is there something I am missing?
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby teaisme » May 31st, '12, 14:43

Seems like his water could be just fine with the concentrace

Pretty much like a dasani or aquanfina (which works just fine with most tea) but more potential to be better if his source of water that runs through the RO filter is good, never tried concentrace but it seems same idea as those two bottled water, but with more variety of minerals and salt (which many say in small amounts is good with tea).

Stuff is cheap....I should try some thanks for the idea! should be fun to tinker with adding it to my water to see if it improves my water for certain teas
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Re: 2012 dancongs?

Postby Evan Draper » Jul 4th, '12, 16:49

nw-T wrote:Evan Draper » May 30th, '12, 13:23

A friend brewed the 2012 Jing Lao Cong Ba Xian last night; we used RO water with a little Concentrace

Is that your normal water you use for tea?

I would think you would want to use the best water available to you.

Is there something I am missing?


By no means do we do that often. Most of my tea friends use Poland Spring or Deer Park as the standard all-purpose tea water, which I imagine many people do. Some of us have reverse osmosis filters. And some of us experiment with all manner of remineralizing agents to add body and mouthfeel to teas that can take it: bamboo charcoal, silver, old ceramic, those Mongolian rocks...and yes, Concentrace. Dancong is one tea some of us, and not necessarily myself, prefer brewing with higher TDS water, to emphasize qi and mouthfeel, and to downplay bright, floral tones. The host that evening had an RO filter (which had recently been changed) and a guest brought the Dancong. Accommodations were made, in the manner of all good tea gatherings. And as Aaron Fisher often reminds us, if we are drinking tea only for the flavors, we could spend a lot less money by buying fast food instead ;)
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