Nevermind they named it after the most dangerous mushroom genus on the planet. In season, I can step outside my off-grid Appalachian tiny hut, walk 50 feet, munch a few, and be dead within fifteen minutes. A likely culprit in that case would be Amanita bisporigera; the ‘destroying angel’ in common parlance. The Chinese, however, are smart enough not to name something delicious after something so toxic. There are edible species I’m told, but I choose not to fool with them at risk of shortening my trip upon this chunk of hurtling rock. Perhaps its namesake is Amanita muscaria, fly agaric, the shroom Siberian shamans use to travel the stars. High risk, high reward sort of chap. Tea is more comforting and less intensely altering, a forgiving and sublime entheogenic hostess. After first rinse, engulfing rising vapor from yixing clay, the nosefeel is indescribable in human language. Or such words as I possess. ‘The Dao that can be named is not the Dao.’ Ancient primordial earth is the only thing I can seem to utter that comes close. Tingly little energy spell-lets dancing around the edges; yet, this is a smell?! Maybe this tea does have more in common with the famed fly agaric….beyond that, and trying to keep some sense of reality resemblances loosely intact….the tea exhibits both fruit and floral characteristics, to which I would add a dash of tang & minerality. Wait for the High Mountain feeling three or four cups in and enjoy lift-off. It’s nice up here. Amongst the clouds. Mushroom country awaits.
The Amanita presents a beautiful balance of the distinctive fruit and floral characteristics I find overbearing in single-bush Dancong varietals. Kudos and thanks to So Han for challenging me to reconsider my opinions.