09 May 2008

Da Wu Ye Dancong from Tea Habitat

Da Wu Ye Dancong from Tea Habitat

Da Wu Ye Dancong - spent leaf with potThis sample came to me from Imen, proprietoress of Tea Habitat and, in my opinion, Queen of Dancong. Using eggshell-thin chaozhou terra cotta pots and water boiled in a clay kettle heated with olive charcoal, Imen can squeeze limitless numbers of beautiful infusions using 1/2 the leaf the prosaic dancong drinker would think to use. While the rest of us appreciate her skill as a benevolent mystery and make our attempts at home, she's cultivating her skills in the young teenage proteges that invade her store after school on weekdays.

When Imen makes Da Wu Ye, it tastes as sweet as yams. She pulls a complex carbohydrate out of the leaves. You can chew the infusions, but they're not garish like candied yams. They're subtle.

Da Wu Ye Dancong - leaf
So approaching the long, twisted eggplant-colored leaves, I hoped to emulate her result. My result was more floral initially. I screwed up the next two infusions, brewing it too hot and tasting green vegetables and then brewing it too quick and making it bland. Regardless, the head buzz was immediate.

Da Wu Ye Dancong - liquorThen, I started to treat the tea right, and it yielded its fruity floral affection like a lingering touch. Peach and orchids, the more common dancong flavors. I couldn't find the subtlety of temperature and timing that yielded yams, but I did get some 13 enjoyable brews that faded into orange blossom water that became syrupy if overbrewed.

I like this tea. At $8/oz it's one of Tea Habitat's less expensive dancongs, and for its quality, one of Tea Habitat's better values.

Pretty leaves:
Da Wu Ye Dancong - spent leaf

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