HU ZAI DUCKis a dancong oolong made on Hu Zai mountain, a name locals use for a specific hillside of Wudong Shan in the Pheonix mountains of Chaozhou, Guangdong, China (the same origin as our ba xian). This is a production of ya shi xiang—or, colloquially, "duck shit". A provocative name with a far-fetched story, this scent is a favorite among dancong enthusiasts with a penchant for Chinese folklore, but is best appreciated for the craftsmanship that goes into producing this lighter oxidation dancong.
This lot is an earlier spring production than the Cai's ba xian. Like many dancong producers, the Cai family at Hu Zai tea farm pride themselves on their talent for proper ya shi xiang. The whither is shorter, and the oxidation—controlled via a series of rollings in cloth sacks—demands an attentive eye, as the aim is a much lighter bruise than higher oxidation dancongs. A finished duck shit should be yellow-green, with streaks of blue-purple, and emit high fragrance. The final roast is at lower heat for less time, used more to fix (deactivate the enzymes responsible for oxidation) the tea than impart any roast qualities. A post-production mid-autumn roast is rarely done (though as this 2018 lot ages we may re-roast ourselves with guidance form the Cai's).
The Cai's ya shi xiang is a strong foil to their ba xian, with abundant perfume and a thin, sweet liquor reminiscent of rambutan fruit. Steep at gongfu grammage with water well-off the boil for delicate body and tropical tree fruit; longer for a mouthful of flowers.
notes —lily | longan | refined
nomenclature —ya (鸭)—"duck" | shi (屎)—"shit" | xiang (香)—"scent"