In spite of the incessant autumn rains, high water-table and still-green appearances…drought has got its claw into us. Things are now withering and crisping. Previously lush Dondingalong is all glare and dust. Look here:
Moso’s spectacular spring surge is on hold. The main purpose of this blog is, for the moment, thwarted. There may be one or two more brave shoots out in the grove, but I really don’t want to look.
Things will change, no doubt too suddenly, this being Australia. So let’s put a pot on that dusty table. Let’s think liquid thoughts.
China is having a week’s holiday to celebrate sixty years of Communism. I might just skip that celebration, but instead pay a tribute to a Chinese masterpiece called Dancong Oolong. Maybe in future posts I could mention the two other oolong types of mainland China, and taste some superb specimens of Anxi and Fujian regions. Today, however, it’s Dancong.
Oolong, as you may already know, is part-oxidised tea, neither green nor black. There are degrees of oxidation for different aromas and effects, and roasting also plays a part in varying and even aging oolongs. Dancong oolong is the product of Guangdong province and is famous for its ability to mimic smells, fruits and flowers in particular. The mimicry can even enter into the flavour, and many people tasting Dancong for the first time assume there has been some extra essence added to the tea.
Peach, honey-orchid, ginger-flower…these are some the possible “flavours”. Song Zhong Dancong is reputed by some to be the best. My little stock came from here, and, though the price is actually a bit low for Song Zhong, it’s a good’un. (By the way, tea of this order is not expensive at that price. A long session, consisting of several infusions, might cost a couple of dollars. People who can spend between four and five dollars on a can of “energy” drink really should do the maths.)
The miracle of this Dancong for me is that the lychee aroma translates to a lychee flavour at the top of the throat as I swallow.
See? We forgot the drought!