Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dragon Tea House Dahongpao

The first tasting notes with pictures!
9g of leaf in a 13cl pot. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 20s, 45s.
Dry leaf aroma: Just a roasty aroma.
Wet leaf aroma: Roast and malt.

1: As the tea was cooling a bit, I got a strong whiff of cigar smoke. Checking to see if it came from the tea, I noticed the faintest smell of smoke in the tea. Tasting it, it's very smooth and mellow. Roast and malt combines to make the mellow and lightly sweet tea. Even with the strong roast, a strong aftertaste similar to dancong still manages to come out.

2: Some cream and spice came out.

3: Note to self: 20 seconds is too short.

4: 45 seconds is too short.

Spent leaves:

Even with the strong roast, the leaves are still quite green.

The pictures actually turned out to be very helpful. I haven't taken pictures of all the infusions before, so I never knew if the color of each infusion was consistent or not. The first two infusions have almost the same color, but the third is much lighter in color. If I took pictures of the other one, it probably would have been more consistent with the third infusion.

As for the tea, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tea. For 9 dollars, I wasn't expecting the tea to be as good as it was.


Salsero said...

Yes, those photos do add life to the review! It will be nice to look back at them to stimulate your visual memory of this tea when you encounter another Da Hong Pao and you want to compare. Also, looks like a good price/quality equation. I wonder if Dragon Tea House's "premium" offering is as much better as its price is higher?

I believe you have also tasted the YSLLC Da Hong Pao, which was priced about the same when they were still offering 100 gr sizes. Do you have any comments on the relative merits or comparative profiles of the two?

In my cup tonight: year 2000 3 Cranes Liu Bao in response to BBB's survey. Damned if I know which I prefer!

Hobbes said...

Great stuff! A colour change, too?



speakfreely said...

"Do you have any comments on the relative merits or comparative profiles of the two?"

I happen to have exactly this comparison in my tea notes:

7/2/07 2 Da Hong Paos
One from YSLLC; this is my old standby that I bought about a year ago and drink when I want an enjoyable oolong with big taste. M.A. had sent me a sample, and I liked it enough among the samples he sent to buy more from Scott, but it's really "different" than most DHP I've tasted. The second oolong today is a premium Da Hong Pao, more recently purchased from Dragon Tea House (ebay).

Dry leaf: The YSLLC is a narrower leaf, and generally a little lighter, less roasted-looking. The DTH is wider, darker. YSLLC aroma is a rich roasted aroma with some sharp notes that add complexity, whereas the DTH leaves smell more mineral/charcoal with a popcorn-butter background.

The two teas brew up an almost identical tan-yellow. The aroma of the YSLLC is a strong lemonny-floral; DTH lacks this and has more roast in the aroma. A slow-building, thin mouthcoat from the DTH, and an almost non-existant, "open" taste. YSLLC has some pleasent, light astringency and an immediately silky mouthfeel. The oxidation is more various on the YSLLC - leaves lighter with red/green areas - the DTH leaves are a uniforn dark olive. I would say the processing was not as kind as the YSLLC; the flavor of the tea was quite deadened. Is this preferred by some?
It's possible that the DTH is more refined, lacking the lemmony astringency that many people dislike in oolongs; I don't care, I like the YSLLC DHP. It makes for an interesting comparison.

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