I thought about continuing the Yiwu parade with two 2006 spring Yiwus, but then….. my senses got the better of me. I will probably die of overdose if I tried that today.
So instead, I did two dancongs.
These are both purchased in Beijing. One’s the overpriced one, the other is the cheapo one. The price differential is about…. 5x.
As you can see, the L sample has smaller leaves. The colour is also a little more uniform. The R sample has bigger leaves, but if you look closely there are some leaves that are quite green, while others are quite dark.
The first two infusions:
L brews a slightly darker tea than R, although the difference is quite small and is a little more obvious to the naked eye than to the camera. Either way though, in effect the colours are the same.
But tea’s not for looking. Tea’s for drinking. L tastes… smooth. It’s quite fragrant, a little sweet, and not bitter. R is a little more bitter, less sweet, a little rougher. I tried long and short infusions, and the smoothness of L is always a little more evident when compared directly with R. In terms of fragrance… they are quite similar, with slight variations, but neither is exactly better. A close call, actually.
Given the price however…. it’s hard to justify buying the more expensive one (L) than the cheap one (R). The differences aren’t great enough.
The leaves, when wet, actually look quite different
L’s leaves unfurled easily, without any sort of human intervention, whereas R doesn’t really unfurl and is more tightly rolled. As I’ve mentioned before, I was told that this means that L was machine rolled, while R was hand rolled. I don’t know if this is true, but the guy who told me this doesn’t even sell dancong (a puerh guy), so he has no reason to lie to me. The extra rolling might also account for some of the bitterness. Extra rolling, in puerh at least, is supposed to make it a little more bitter. Maybe the same is true here.
L is still the better tea, but it is not anywhere near 5x better. Oh well. At least I only bought 50g of it.