Yunnan Sourcing has all kinds of sales every week. I managed to get sucked in a Dancong sale, feeling the need for some new and interesting Dancongs. I found Bai Ye Varietal Dancong while looking through all the 2016 line and the write up sounded appealing with, “Pronounced baked sweet potato taste…Highly recommended for Dan Cong and Black Tea aficionados alike!” I purchased this tea on Yunnan Sourcing.us, and it is sold out. Bai Ye Varietal Dancong is available on Yunnan Sourcing.com though. Actually, with this Dancong run I purchased many last bags from the US site.
SMELLOVISION STAT! I smelled this tea and it smelled so good that I needed to make it ASAP over the other Dancongs I purchased! It’s super fragrant and plummy fruity. Mouth watering scented. The leaf is fine ashy black twists of tea.
I went with the Dancong special high leaf ratio method, flash steep. I should just fill the gaiwan, but I decided to standardize it a bit for when I went to brew this again. I went 1 gram to 10ml. It looks big in my cup but not so much in the gaiwan. I decided to just run with it than add more. I used boiling water for all infusions.
Tasting of Yunnan Sourcing’s Bai Ye Varietal Dancong Black Tea Spring 2016
Bai Ye Varietal Dancong steeps up a gorgeous clear golden amber colour that looks just like honey. The scent is fruity floral hint punch. Really strong scent, just like the leaf. The fruity smells and clear colour makes me think of wishing it was a delicious jello dessert.
First Infusion: The flavor is fruity, sweet and crisp. The sweetness is like drippy nectar honey. It’s got a bit of echos of Darjeeling malt in the background but there is a killer long lingering fruity floral fragrance after each sip.
Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Switching it up fast! The first steep was a warmup. It is smooth sweet potato, crisp, clean, and bright flavor. But end of sip and linger is a strong floral fruity peach note of a dancong oolong. Very good! The texture is on the oily side, making my mouth feel slick. The fragrance is the strongest part of this tea, it isn’t full body despite the high ratio. I wished I simply filled the gaiwan to the brim. The colour got darker with each infusion!
Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Infusion: Bai Ye Varietal Dancong tastes like a creamy sweet potato, a fluffy mash of flavor. The finish is briskly bright sweet and sharp. The aftertaste is a never ending floral. I find this tea an interesting meld of black and oolong and qualities I like in both. Malt, creamy sweet, oily texture, and super aftertaste. I find it complex enough to be interesting, but smooth, sweet, creamy and almost comfort food to mindlessly chug. The aftertaste lingers so long that if you forget to drink it doesn’t matter.
Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Infusion: Flavor shift again. The flavor sips in fruity and lightly malt. The Dancong has a sour tinge to it and the body has thinned out but provides a slick lip feel. The aftertaste linger is still present! There is a little dryness sticking to the back of the teeth, but not unpleasant.
And the leaf has blown up. I cannot close it and keep the leaf inside the gaiwan. If I added more leaf I am unsure how I’d be able to use a gaiwan.
Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth Infusion: The flavor is almost citrus like due to the sour, yet a creamy mellow background. The fruity aftertaste creeps in slowly and then lingers. This tea is not quitting. I am doing pretty long steeps here, 10 minute plus. I ended up force quitting as it seems Bai Ye Varietal Dancong can just keep going, I likely can flask up a super strong brew, or gongfu 30 mins/hour a few more with the rate it is going.
Bai Ye Varietal Dancong Spring 2016 is a really solid Dancong. Yunnan Sourcing’s is on the money on his description here – it’s a tea for a black and oolong lover. There are qualities in this tea I like from both types of tea steeped up into a single package. My only beef is the last steepings being sour, but that never ending aftertaste is worth it.
This is a good all around tea – really flexible if you got black and oolong drinkers at the table. A western style tea drinker would appreciate it too for the good flavor and lack of dryness. This tea is complex enough to enjoy as a sit down tea, but comfort food and smooth enough to drink daily – plus it’ll likely last you all day. Easily you and drink Bai Ye Varietal Dancong for two days if you roll with a bigger gaiwan, say a 150ml+. Anyways, I can see myself repurchasing Yunnan Sourcing’s Bai Ye Varietal Dancong. With the amount of tea I have, I would likely keep my eye for it next year.