Raw & Refined: Dancong Processing Comparison Box
One River Tea
We have been wanting to make this Raw & Refined Dancong sample box ever since first encountering Maocha in the Phoenix Village of Eastern Guangdong Province. Maocha is a stage of the tea production wherein the most basic requirements of processing has been met for the tea to be considered tea. Thus it is the very first moment that the fresh leaves can be considered a new product. After the maocha phase comes the sorting phase, to get rid of the larger leaves, the stems, the broken bits, then comes more roasting and resting, and a lot of fine tuning of flavors. Almost any tea has its maocha equivalent, though it is much more commonly found in oolong teas and pure teas.
To help explore how the taste of a tea at its birth and at its end (Maocha vs Chengcha) we have included two identical teas from the same garden, the same producer, and of the same varietal, both Milanxiang teas from the Xie family. Since the Maocha is unroasted (simply bake dried) its flavors will fade in time unless it gets a good charcoal roasting, thus we decided to use fresh maocha from 2021 instead of keeping the years consistent. The 2021 Milanxiang Finished Tea is as of yet incomplete.
The tastes should be profoundly different, the maocha buttery, grassy, and vegetal, while the chengcha should be rich, warm, and toasty. This is a fun comparison to examine how far a tea travels in its post picking / initial processing before it can be considered ‘finished tea’.
Included in the box:
35g Milanxiang Maocha (Raw Tea) (2021)
35g Milanxiang Chengcha (Finished Tea) (2020)
Both these teas were produced by the Xie family from their 3 acre garden mixed among mountains, creeks, vegetable gardens and bamboo. Theirs is a mid-elevation mountain some distance from Wudong Mountain, but still within the Phoenix Mountain Range.