LIN'S BIG LEAF is a dancong oolong from the Lin family in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China. A da wu ye ("big dark leaf") production of winter harvest material, this is one of few dancong standards that undergoes a qing xiang—"light fragrance"—process (not unlike modernist tieguanyin). This sees the leaf, after withering, tumble-rolled to about 35-40% oxidation (as compared to the 65-70% of other classic dancong), indicated by the distinctive green-blue streaks on the finished dry leaf. This tea is the daily drinker of the dancong world, but don't let that imply da wu ye is basic—this lot was repeatedly explained as "high fragrance, with lingering taste" to us by Song Lin (our producer) and on the cupping table we coaxed out lovable layers of spice and florality that had us sipping on it well past the evaluation stage. This tea feels very much like an expression of Song's passion for dancong making—after all, this is the same stuff they're drinking daily on the farm. No surprise it's just as nuanced as their more "premium" productions.
Hand-harvested in November 2022 from 40 year old trees growing at 400 meters elevation, LIN'S BIG LEAF carries the sprightly character of somewhat younger plants grown at lower elevation, but with significant body owing to the plucking standard: only the 2nd and 3rd mature leaves (left to grow even larger past the spring and summer seasons) are plucked, lending thickness and a certain minerality to each steep. After oxidation, the tea is fixed in two 4-hour rounds of lighter temperature charcoal baking at 85ºC.
Fans of young spring tea may be challenged by this lot's mature character, favoring spice and salinity with slightly creamy body; dancong lovers will appreciate the glimpse into true farmer's tea. Steep slightly cooler (190ºish) in short rounds (10-15 seconds at a time) for the intended experience.
vintage —winter '22
style — da wu ye ("big dark leaf")
cultivar(s) — shui xian / da wu ye
region —Chaozhou, Guangdong, China
locale — Lin Dancong Farm
elevation — 400 meters
producer —Song Lin
nomenclature —da (大)—"big" | wu (烏)—"dark" | ye (葉)—"leaf"
(use freshly boiled spring water)
modern, large format [300 ml+ vessel — BOLI, large teapot]
3 grams — 190°F (88°C) — 1 minutes
traditional, small format [150 ml- vessel —gaiwan, small teapot]
5 grams — 200°F (93°C) — 10 seconds (no rinse) +15-20 seconds each additional steep