The 2020 Spring Dawuye Maocha is truly a raw and under-processed tea. Although the leaf size is relatively small, and still nicely shaped, there is an abundance of thicker half-shaped leaves and long woody stems included in this tea. Usually these teas don’t make it out of the Phoenix Village, but we have grown to like the more earthy taste these maochas provide. When we asked our maocha producer Lin for the most fragrant-forward raw tea they make, this was top of the list. The wet leaves exude a cinnamon-like spiciness that sets it apart from its Autumn cousin. The liquid brew is very soft and thick on the tongue. The wet leaves contain a vegetal spiciness redolent of jalapenos peppers. This tea is a clear example of what the farmers mean when they say that the Spring harvest of Dancong Oolong is all about the liquid brew.
We offer this tea as a maocha (or raw tea) as it is unsorted. During Dancong processing, the picked tea is processed, but not sorted by machine like many green teas are. Instead, after the first round of roasting, the tea is then sorted, and all the stems and larger leaves are taken out by hand. We acquired this tea before the sorting process, to not only save the farmer hours of meticulous work, but also to provide the opportunity to taste a raw tea, with stems, ugly leaves and all. We find maocha to be a refreshing change to the homogenized ‘finished’ teas, as it retains some funky flavors, mainly the woody tastes from the thick stems and unshaped leaves.