Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: long, dark and twisted
Steep time: 10 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
The time has finally come. I get to write about one of my favorite tea names to say, duck shit! Seriously. The literal translation of Ya Shi Xiang is duck shit aroma. There are various stories as to how this name came to be. The one that I hear most often is that the farmer who first discovered the variety named it something unappealing so that no one would want to steal it. Another version is that the region's distinctive yellow soil is caused by the high quantities of duck feces. Rest assured the tea itself does not smell like anything that comes out of the hind end of a waterfowl.
The dry leaves were slender and mostly dark with hints of green peeking through around the edges in certain kinds of lighting. At first, it was lighter bodied with a smooth and fairly thick mouthfeel. There was an interesting creamy note that transitioned into a floral and fruity finish. It came through as an almost indistinct berry note but the closest that I can come to describing it is ripe blueberries with a hint of orchids. This aspect really came alive after the fourth infusion. I noticed a sweetness lingering in my throat after each sip. Needless to say, this tea was delicious! You'll definitely want to prepare it using a gaiwan in order to really concentrate those complex aromas. Dancong oolongs can be finicky so I tend to treat them with gently at first. Although there was some astringency it never toed the line into unpleasantness.
WuyiOrigin is an operation run by the well-known tea producer, Cindy Chen. Her family produces yancha in the Wuyi mountains while her husband's family produces phoenix oolongs. This puts them right at the source of both tea regions, even though they are so very different from each other. I've reviewed their Mi Lan Xiang before and it was just as enjoyable as this one. There are a few more teas from them coming down the pipeline so keep an eye out for those!
Have you ever tried a "duck shit" oolong? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!