Dancong oolong (单枞), with its rich history and diverse flavors, has captivated the hearts of tea heads around the world. Among the myriad of tea varieties, Dancong Oolong stands out for its unique but varied characteristics and aromatic complexity. Originating from the Phoenix Mountain in Guangdong, China, Dancong has been made for over 600 years. This exceptional oolong tea has gained recognition for its captivating fragrances and exquisite taste. Join us on a journey to explore the allure of Dancong Oolong and unravel the secrets behind its captivating brew.
A Brief History
Dancong Oolong, also known as Phoenix oolong, has a history dating back centuries. Its name, “Dancong,” translates to “single trunk” or “single bush” in Chinese, referring to the unique method of individually cultivating each tea bush, allowing the distinct flavors to shine through. This traditional practice and processing techniques have been handed down from generation to generation, ensuring the authenticity and exceptional quality of Dancong Oolong.
One of the defining characteristics of Dancong Oolong is its captivating aroma. It’s one of those teas that really gives you a wow! Off the rinse! Often referred to as the “scent of the sky,” the tea leaves emanate an alluring fragrance reminiscent of orchids, fruits, honey, or even cinnamon. These fragrances arise from the tea plants’ natural surroundings, as the leaves absorb the essence of the flowers, fruits, and minerals found in the mountainous terrain. Processing of Dancong can be light ‘green’ or mid to heavy ‘darker’ with sweetness, depth of flavour and subtle nuances changing depending on the processing used. A pleasant and satisfying bitterness is apparent on in many Dan congs but beware of cheaper teas that will most likely have an unbalanced high astringency.
Varieties and Flavors
Dancong Oolong offers an impressive range of varieties, each with its distinct flavor profile. This tea is famous for its varieties imitating different fruits and flowers. Some of the popular varieties include:
- Mi Lan Xiang (Honey Orchid Fragrance): Known for its sweet, fruity notes, this variety offers a delicate blend of floral and honey flavors. It leaves a pleasant aftertaste, lingering on the palate long after each sip.
- Huang Zhi Xiang (Gardenia Fragrance): Renowned for its rich aroma reminiscent of gardenia flowers, this variety carries a sweet, nectar-like flavor. Its velvety smoothness and refreshing taste make it a favorite among tea enthusiasts.
- Zhi Lan Xiang (Orchid Fragrance): As the name suggests, this variety delights the senses with its captivating orchid scent. It offers a well-balanced combination of floral and fruity notes, leaving a soothing and lingering finish.
- Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia Fragrance): With a fragrance evoking the beauty of magnolia blossoms, this variety has a complex flavor profile. It presents an enchanting blend of floral, fruity, and woody notes, creating a truly memorable tea experience.
Brewing the Perfect Cup:
Many Dan Cong will stand up to ‘Western Teapot Style’ but we here at The Tea Guru nearly always promote ‘Gong Fu’ as a better way to appreciate this wonderful tea.
To fully appreciate the nuances of Dancong Oolong, it is essential to prepare it with care. Here are some tips for brewing the perfect cup:
- Water temperature: Dancong Oolong is best brewed with water at around 90°C – 100°C. We like to use 100c but please experiment yourself.
- Good Water: it’s essential when brewing any tea to use good water. Chlorinated tapwater will doll all the subtle nuances of the tea leaves. Use filtered water but even better is to use an economic or spring water from the supermarket.
- Gong Fu: Multiple infusions: Dancong Oolong is known for its ability to offer multiple flavorful infusions. Experiment with different steeping times for subsequent infusions, gradually increasing the steeping time to enjoy the tea’s evolving flavors. Start with five second infusions and 5g of leaf. Experiment to see if you would prefer to go longer or shorter.
Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to discover all of our dancong oolong teas in our oolong tea section!