Tuesday, January 03, 2006

dong fang hong phoenix bird oolong [private reserve] from silkroadteas.com

vendor: silkroadteas.com
harvest: 2005
item #: O-PBO-PR; lot DFHT5
parameters: 1 g : 1 oz
brewing vessel: cebei
date brewed for this review: 060101

dry leaf: dark green twisted leaves, some of them quite long.

brief rinse [20 sec] followed by 40-sec rest.

INF1: 28 sec, 190F. aroma: vaguely floral. color: medium gold with just the slightest tint of green. taste: delicate oolong flavor but not ostentatiously floral like some dancongs. a tenacious finish that is rendered the more pleasurable by its subtlety. the aroma continues up the nose in a pervasive and comprehensive way; this is in some ways the most distinctive aspect of this subtle tea. there is a mild but noticeable astringency.

INF2: 20 sec, 190F. aroma: this infusion, interestingly, veers away from the vegetal/floral and toward the toasty. color: deeper gold than INF1, and less of a greenish hue. taste: follows the aroma straightforwardly. often the toasty oolongs are what one might describe as 'milder' in a certain sense -- perhaps less assertive than the more floral ones. when that is the case, in general it simply invites greedier drinking, and this tea is no exception. but 'bull-drinking' of such a noble tea would obscure the fact that even a modest mouthful of the liquor escorts you to fenghuang shan. the astringency is attenuated now.

INF3: 25 sec, 190F. aroma: still toasty without a pronounced vegetal note. color: again a medium gold, which [also again] allows the green hue to show. taste: much like INF2, except that the astringency reasserts itself here.

INF4: 30 sec, 190F. aroma and color: as for INF3. taste: a tiny bit of bitterness here. was the infusion too long, or is this just the home stretch?

INF5: 40 sec, 190F. aroma: as for INF3/4. color: a deeper gold/green than INF3/4. taste: i brewed this infusion no longer than INF4, lest i incur more bitterness, but that was not a problem here. this was the toastiest infusion yet, with very little astringency.

IN SUM: i have used the word 'subtle.' one of the less dramatic dancongs on offer from SRT, but no less appreciable because of that. a quiet tea, perhaps, for quiet moods. certainly a dancong that combines great delicacy with tenacity. i surmise it could withstand at least two more infusions without expending its virtue.

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