A 2nd generation graft of a Song Dynasty tree. Uniquely balanced and enigmatic tea which shifts between floral, caramel and fruity with a mineral rich briskness.
This tea is difficult to describe and seems to change with every tasting. It is enigmatic and nuanced and reveals flavours of its character in glimpses making drinking it a unique exploration.
This video is an extract from a longer tasting session which you can watch at
There are some teas which are easy to understand. Their flavour profile is clear and pronounced with subtle changes between infusions. This Song Zhong is not one of those teas. From the moment you sniff the dry leaves until the last drop of amber liquor the tea seems to dance and shift in acts.
It is a very rich and generous tea with a nuanced balance of different oolong characteristics in one experience. So you have the butter and vanilla notes of a high mountain Jin Xuan, the floral notes of a Tie Guan Yin, the fruity notes of a Mi Lan Xiang and the mineral and black toffee notes of a Wuyi Rock Oolong. In fact, it is probable that the Shui Xian cultivar so predominant in Wuyi comes from the same mother trees as this tea.
With such a rich palette of flavour characteristics, the tea reveals glimpses of each in fleeting moments before being replaced by another. One moment you are smelling molasses and dark treacle and the next you are being lifted with a sweet and soft floral fragrance before being awoken with apricot and a clean, refreshing minerality. This tea has it all but it demands attention to focus on the details of this dance of aroma.
The mother of this tea is the ancient 700 year old Song Dynasty tea trees (a Shui Xian hybrid). In Wudong the farmers have taken grafts of these trees to make 1st generation plants and then they have taken grafts of those trees to make 2nd generation Song Zhong. This idea of lineage is an important concept in Dancong and even though the plants to make this tea are around 70-80 years old the depth of minerality and energy of the tea is equivalent to a much older tree.