Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
|"The words “ginger flower” do describe the flavour perfectly. Definitely a masterfully produced artisanal dancong!"|
This tea comes to us from a small farm located on the slopes of Mt. Wudong, in the Chinese province of Guangdong. The leaves can be harvested only once per year in the spring, from 40-60 year old Jiang Hua Xiang trees. They are then withered, rolled and cooled just the right amount of times to produce buttery ginger flower notes. My sample is from the Spring of 2012. The leaves are impressively long and loosely twisted – I can tell right away that I’ll need a scale to measure them. Their aroma is softly floral, reminiscent of lilac, lily of the valley and narcissus.
I decided that such a special leaf deserved a gongfu treatment. I followed Canton’s suggestion, brewing 4 grams of leaf in 200ml of water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 5 seconds. The cup is buttery and grassy with a hint of honey to the finish. There is also a sizable peppery yet mineral element to it that, in combination with the finish, is reminiscent of fresh ginger root. I don’t know if I would have made that association on my own though. The power of suggestion is most possibly at play here.
According to Canton the leaves can be brewed up to 12 times. I managed to pull 10 steeps in total. I might have been able to get a few more with longer infusion times. I re-steeped the tea adding 5 seconds each time, except for the last 3 steeps, where I added 10. My second try was similar to first cup, with it’s buttery top notes. However it presented a more pronounced ginger ale flavoured finish, especially as the tea cooled.
My favourite of all was the third brew, with it’s more potent and well-developed ginger ale taste. The sweet finish is long lasting and leaves a slightly spicy aftertaste.The background flip flops between hearty buttery greens such as kale and Swiss chard, springtime bulbs and mineral notes. All and all this makes for a complex yet easy to drink cup.
The following four steeps are quite sweet and more intensely floral. The ginger taste recedes slowly, leaving a slightly drying mineral finish in it’s place.
My last three cups were pleasant enough but not outstanding in any way. By the 10th, the tea is vaguely sweet, smooth, but not much more flavourful than hot water.
I found this dancong to have quite a unique flavour profile. The words “ginger flower” do describe the flavour perfectly. While I also brewed some leaves the lazy, Western way with good results, it’s worth infusing this tea gongfu style to get the most out of the leaves. It’s quite pricey, but worth a splurge, especially since it’s available in a variety of formats and currently on sale. Definitely a masterfully produced artisanal dancong!
— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Jiang Hua Dan Cong (Ginger Flower), or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.