Saturday, February 09, 2008

2007 Ao Fu Hou Phoenix Dan Cong from Tea Habitat

Ao Fu Hou Phoenix Dan CongClass: Oolong
Origin: Guangdong province, China
Year: 2007
Vendor: Tea Habitat
Price: $28.00 (1 oz)

This Ao Fu Hou (Orange flower fragrance) Phoenix Dan Cong is the second of the three Dan Cong samples graciously given by Salsero. I wasn't quite as impressed by this one as I was with the Yu Lan Xiang, but I still enjoyed it very much.

The dry leaf, while pleasant, isn't as aromatic as the Yu Lan Xiang. The fragrance is more subdued and rounded, and smells, I think, of apples. The dry leaf is slightly greener than the Yu Lan Xiang, but looks pretty much the same.

I tried to brew this tea just as I brewed the last one, though I did use slightly more leaf. Perhaps it was due to the extra leaf that I also used shorter infusion times (about 25 seconds each, adjusting to taste).

Though this tea isn't as aromatic (though you may have a different experience, I think aroma is a very hard thing to control and predict) as the Yu Lan Xiang, the flavor is richer and smoother. It's hard to place the flavor at first, but I think it resembles apples and (to a lesser degree) the muscatel flavor sometimes found in Darjeelings.

The flavor is actually quite dynamic— it seemed to change often, switching back and forth between perfumey/not, astringent (in a good way)/not astringent, and citrusy/apple-y, despite only slight variations in steep time. An unpredictable tea, I think, which differed from the Yu Lan Xiang, whose flavor remained more or less consistent throughout the session.

Overall, I think this is a very good tea. It has a subtle but certainly pleasant aroma, and strong (for a Dan Cong), dynamic flavor.


Salsero said...

My first thought after a couple sips of this tea was, "What's the point." But I went on for eleven infusions.

I agree that the Yu Lan Xiang has more flavor, but the texture (viscosity, I suppose, something that counts for quite a bit to me) of Ao Fu Hou was more impressive and the flavor perhaps not really less so much as just the aroma of some very light fruit, loquat or lichee maybe. I like your apple analogy. If apple were a traditional Chinese fruit, maybe they would have called this one "Apple Fragrance."

Since my proboscis seems to have become compromised by years of use and abuse, I appreciate you giving me a little push in the right direction. Next time I drink this tea, it will be with your notes in hand.

By the way, Imen mentioned that she felt this was one of her best DCs of the 10 or 15 she had in stock at the time.


Bill said...

Interesting that you smelled apples coz I smelled peach! Nonetheless, it is an excellent tea. I actually am thinking of drinking Dan Cong on a regular basis as it is a tea that does not get heavy on the palate as one drinks. :)

Brent said...

Thanks for the comments guys!

I think it's interesting how much all our notes differ on these Dan Congs. Just goes to show how individual our senses, especially smell, really are.

Thanks again for the samples, Salsero!

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