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Spring 2018 Duck Shit Aroma / Yashixiang Dancong (50g)

Spring 2018 Duck Shit Aroma / Yashixiang Dancong (50g)

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Updated March 2019

This yashixiang comes direct from a family farm in the Wudong Mountains. In 2017, when I purchased a sample of this tea to try, I was about to write off dancong: so much of the dancong on the market is flawed or even chemically fragranced. One session with this farm's dancong changed my mind! I'd found the good stuff. The tea was smooth, flavorful, not at all astringent or bitter and the flavor was from the leaves itself, without adulteration. I waited months for the spring crop, and many of you waited right along with me. Well, it's here!

This dancong needed some rest when I opened up the huge bag of it last year: it had the grassy notes that a freshly roasted dancong (or baozhong) would have. Funnily enough, I spoke with the farmers right after trying the tea, and they asked for my thoughts. Before I could say anything, they said it needed a few months rest. I laughed since I'd come to the same conclusion without talking to them! I have encountered the same notes when roasting my own tea at home.

This tea is even better than 2017's crop, and I'm excited to see what 2019's harvest is like. I detected increased complexity and the tea could go for more infusions than the Spring 2017 harvest.

In 2018, this tea was buttery, with classic orchid/osmanthus notes. There were interesting oatmeal and malt notes here that I have never detected in any dancong, and I even detected stone fruit on the palate after the swallow. No astringency and bitterness was detected when brewing the classic way (flash infusion, five seconds, ten seconds, fifteen seconds). I pushed the tea harder on my first try and did manage to extract some bitterness, but even then, it was very tolerable. 

Now, in 2019, the first infusion offers up a lovely sweet almond note. In later infusions, the almond is present in the finish, and the orchid/osmanthus comes to the forefront. There is a certain sweet freshness to the floral note that I really love. This tea still packs a great deal of flavor in 2019, which indicates the material used was truly excellent (and I have no doubt it was)!

These farmers really know how to get the most from their crop and last year, their top grade dancong was sold as maocha before I even got to look at it! The top grade is spoken for before it is even harvested. One of their buyers knows how good their tea is and has an agreement with them to purchase all of their best yashixiang as maocha every year.

I don't have much of this tea left, and there will be no new dancong until May or June, so I highly recommend trying this tea now before it's all gone!

Brewing suggestion: Fill your preheated gaiwan to the top with dry leaf (as much as you can put in without breaking the leaves), but not so much that the lid won't rest on top of the dry leaf. Ensure your water is of suitably low hardness. Flash rinse the tea once, then immediately flash infuse the tea for the first infusion. Add five seconds to each successive infusion. While the farmers suggest only brewing the tea three times, I got excellent fourth and fifth infusions as well, which is an improvement over last year's crop!

I only have one kg of this tea at this time! Wholesale pricing is not available on this tea due to the limited supply.

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