Harvested and processed in Spring 2021, the first thing of note about this yashixiang, or duckshit fragrance, dancong is the warmth of the wood-roasting. The prolonged time I the wood-fired oven (twice baked for 18 hours) creates a powerful aroma on the wet leaves, but does not overpower the peat and fragrance of the leaves themselves. The liquor is darker then the fragrant duckshit, but is still golden in appearance. The kougan, or mouthfeel, of this tea is outstanding, thick, warm, and full. It’s strange to say, but we always consider this tea to be very thick and buttery, there is a pleasant oily-ness in the tongue that deepens and peaks around the fifth infusion.
Unlike the Snowflake Yashixiang, or the Yashixiang Maocha, this tea has been roasted two times in a wood-fired oven (snowflake was baked once in a gas oven). This process takes over a month, as the tea is roasted, then rested, and then re-roasted. Most finished classic-style dancong Oolongs get two to three roasts after the initial baking during production.
This roasting allows producers to express their tastes, as many variables coalesce to determine the final flavor: these variables can include temperatures, time of roast, time between roasts, the quality of tea roasted, and the amount roasted at one time. Some of our friends at Huiwei come from old tea-producing families and have experience with this more difficult and finicky charcoal roasting and oven baking processes. We are very pleased with their roast, as it both preserves and enhances the quality of the tea.
This is the third year we have carried their tea.
Drinking Huiwei’s Snowflake Yashixiang and their Spring Yashixiang side by side is a lovely way to experience the versatility in dancong teas, as the two teas are made form the same trees and by the same processors, but are made into vastly different styles.
*What is “Bouquet Style”? Bouquet style in Chinese is called “Qingxiang” this is when the Oolongs have not been charcoal roasted, but rather only baked in wood or gas-fired ovens to emphasize the natural floral bouquet of the tea leaves themselves.