This dancong tea is from the 2018 winter harvest, which usually occurs in October down in the Phoenix Mountains. Winter harvest is praised for producing the most fragrant teas, and Dawuye is a dancong varietal similarly praised. When we asked Lin for the most fragrant-forward raw tea he makes, this was top of the list. We had the chance to sample this tea the day it was made, and again a few weeks later. The stress from processing has cooled slightly, but the fragrance is as fixed as it was when it was first processed. This tea, although raw (unsorted) is a beautiful daily drinker, with the liquor gold, and the fragrance of fresh-cut hay, this tea feels like a breezy summer day.
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.