Of all the tea names in the world, duck shit oolong is perhaps the most unusual.
In this article, we are going to explore duck shit oolong, what oolong tea tastes like and how it got such a peculiar name.
We’ll also compare it to other similar teas, to see what makes it unique.
Without further ado, let’s get started. 💩 🤎
What is Duck Shit Oolong?
When it comes to duck shit oolong, there is a lot to unpack.
First, we should define what oolong tea is. Oolong tea is partially oxidized, making it somewhere in between a green tea and a black tea, and it sometimes shares similar taste characteristics with each.
You will mostly find oolong teas coming from China and Taiwan, but there are also some incredible Japanese oolong teas like the Miyazaki High Mountain Oolong Tea from southern Japan that has a pleasant light and flowery flavor.
Where does Duck Shit Oolong come from?
Duck shit oolong is a type of Dancong oolong and the official name in Mandarin is Ya Shi Xiang.
It is typically grown in the Phoenix mountains of Guangdong and originally it is thought to have been discovered in the village of Ping Keng Tou.
Like with most teas, the production of it spread overtime from the original town it was created.
Dancong oolong tea aka Ya Shi Xiang
Dancong is a category of oolong teas that share a lot of similar characteristics. These teas are grown in the WuYi mountains in very rocky, mineral rich soils.
These minerals transfer into the leaves of the tea plant, and you can really feel them as a tingling sensation on the palate.
Dancong oolong teas are often characterized and separated based on how the aroma is.
The word for aroma is “Xiang” and you will see it in the full name of most Dancong oolong teas. For example, Xing Ren Xiang translates to “almond aroma” and Zhi Lang Xiang is Orchid aroma (specifically the Zhi Lang orchid).
Where this becomes interesting is a tea like Ya Shi Xiang, literally duck shit aroma oolong or duck shit oolong.
While the other types of Dancong oolong teas are named after things that sound pleasant like almond, melon or orchid, this one really stands out.
In the next section, we’ll explore why this tea gets its name, and what it actually tastes like.
Why is it called Duck Shit Oolong?
There are a few different theories (or legends if you prefer) of why the tea is called duck shit oolong.
An unappealing name so people wouldn’t want to try it
The most popular is that the original farmer who discovered the tea didn’t want the secret to get out, so he gave it an unappealing name so people wouldn’t want to try it.
If this were the case, his strategy certainly would have backfired, as now people all around the world are flocking to this tea because of its unusual name.
Originally fertilized from the excrement of ducks
The other theory is that like with panda tea, which is fertilized by panda droppings, duck shit oolong was originally fertilized from the excrement of ducks. This may have been true at one time, but certainly isn’t anymore.
However the tea got its name, we can’t deny that it has gotten a lot of people interested in the world of tea, who otherwise wouldn’t have been. The tea itself can also be very delicious, provided you get a good one!
How is Duck Shit Oolong made?
Like most oolong teas, duck shit oolong is made from the older leaves of the tea plant. If a tea farmer were to produce a premium green tea like gyokuro, they would use the younger leaves of the tea plant, as these are the sweetest in flavor and the richest in nutrients.
If you're interested in the tea production, we strongly advice you to checkout the article 👉 How is tea made? Complete explanation by Tea Experts. This article covers all the fundamentals!
The picking of the duck shit oolong
When it comes to oolong teas, there is so much processing that the farmer is able to use the older leaves of the tea plant and manipulate the flavor through a careful and labor intensive production process. Next, the leaves are laid out and allowed to wither. This is perhaps the most consistent production phase across all types of oolong, and it reduces the total moisture content without applying intense heat.
Accelerating the oxidation
Next, the leaves are tossed on bamboo mats, which bruises the leaves and brings certain compounds to the surface to oxidize. This is how the farmer is able to accelerate the oxidation process and end up with these peachy or flowery flavors in the tea.
Halting the oxidation
After the farmer has accelerated the oxidation process, it is time to halt it. This is done by applying heat, and in the case of duck shit oolong, this is done through a pan firing method. After the leaves have been heated, they won’t oxidize further and they can be taken through a charcoal baking process to give them a warmer, more roasted finish.
The leaves are rolled into the strip shape rather than the ball shape and the tea color is quite dark. Because the tea is made from the older leaves of the tea plant, they are quite large and take up quite a bit of space in their packaging.
What does duck shit oolong taste like?
Like many Dancong oolong teas, the duck shit oolong has an intense minerality that weighs heavy on the palate, and can create a nice tingling mouth sensation. This tea brews up a translucent, amber colored liquor.
The aroma has a lot of these flower notes, which is one of the reasons why some want to change the name to honeysuckle aroma oolong.
There are some of these sweeter dried honey or fruit notes in the flavor of duck shit oolong, but the dominant tasting notes drift into the floral direction.