Dong Ding Oolong Tea
Flavor: Roasted summer squash, artichoke, cashews, dried fruit. Clean, tangy finish.
Garden: This batch of tea comes from Yong Long Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yong Long is known for a rich red soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of the most skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.
Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. April 2014. Yong Long, Nantou, Taiwan.
Dong Ding Oolong is a medium oxidized, medium-heavily roasted tea with a hearty, complex, and robust character.
The initial steeping brings forth a complex bouquet of freshly picked vegetables, pine, nuts, and a touch of smokiness. On the palate, there are roasted summer squash flavors, nutty/woody notes, and a tangy, clean finish with just the right touch of astringency .
This spring's batch of Dong Ding Oolong is noticeably lighter than the previous two seasons. It offers a fresher, fruitier character than the fully roasted previous selections. This tea demonstrates the broad spectrum of character and flavors that can be captured by refined roasting techniques.
The Story Of This Tea
This batch of tea comes from Yong Long Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain, at 750m elevation in Lu Gu Township, Nantou County. It was cultivated and processed by a member of the board of tea judges in the Lu Gu Farmers' Association Tea Competition - the largest and most prestigious oolong tea competition in the world.
This tea was harvested and cured this spring by the same artisan from the same tea garden as our previous fall and spring selections of Dong Ding Oolong from last year. This spring's batch was made in the same fashion as the previous spring, but with slightly more stems remaining on the rolled and dried tea leaves after processing.Typically, the stems are removed in preparation for competition, as last spring's batch was. If the larger stems are removed but the leaves are not as painstakingly sifted through as they are for competition, a balance is struck between flavor quality and outer appearance of the leaves for aesthetic judging value. We feel that less labor intensive post production work that is mostly for appearance sake is a good thing.
This ridge above Dong Ding Mountain is home to the neighboring Yong Long and Feng Huang Villages and is known for a rich red soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu. The unique flavor of Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact that these villages are home to the highest population of the most skilled traditional oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.
This farm consists of tea trees planted 11 years ago, after the farm was left fallow for several years followed by turning the earth over a meter deep and mixing it with crushed seashells and natural compost to balance the ph and re-nutrify the soil. It is now a visibly healthy and flourishing grove of tea that is cultivated without the use of chemical weed killers or fertilizers, and only minimal water soluble pesticides that are approved by the Taiwan government subsidized Tea Research Extension Station (TRES). The soil was inspected many years ago and the harvested leaves have been tested repeatedly. The proprietor of this farm is committed to keeping his family heritage alive as artisan tea makers by acknowledging the lessons learned by his father and being more responsible in his farming methods. The tea leaves are processed in their own factory at home - a traditional 3-sided farmhouse that is just a few minutes stroll away from their tea garden.
Single Mug Brew:
Put a level tablespoon (4 grams) of tea leaves in a 12 oz. (350ml) mug. Fill with boiling temperature water and let steep for 3-4 minutes before drinking. After about half of the tea is drunk, refill with boiling temperature water and let sit for 2 minutes and continue to enjoy. Refill as desired. Adjust amount of tea leaves to taste.
Heavily roasted teas are not our recommended choice for cold brew tea, although there is certainly nothing wrong with experimenting. The roasted leaves will most likely require a longer brewing interval in a cold brew, and fewer leaves than normal should suffice.
Gong Fu Brew:
Generously cover the bottom of a Gong Fu teapot (6-8 grams or 1-2 level tablespoons) with tea leaves and follow the standard Gong Fu brewing method. Adjust amount of tea leaves to taste.