Batch 75 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is offered during the month of Lunar New Year, and we expressly chose this tea for the occasion. Ying Xiang Dong Pian Oolong is a fresh, vibrant, full-bodied unroasted Oolong that was harvested at the very end of the winter growing season. The colder weather during its growing season gives it a distinctive profile that exemplifies the name Dong Pian, or late winter harvest.
Typically, Dong Pian has a light, green, vegetal flavor profile with a particularly pronounced fresh green grassy aromatic profile. But given that this crop of tea was grown at mid-elevation and processed by a traditional Dong Ding Oolong tea maker, it was oxidized more, giving it a more full-bodied and smooth character. We experience the flavor to have predominantly herbal notes, but the complex perfume qualities can be floral as well.
We brewed this tea at a 1:15 leaf to boiling water ratio with good results. It can be brewed less concentrated to offer more aromatic complexity, with somewhat less substance. We don't recommend a more concentrated ratio, as it tends to lose its subtle qualities when brewed too strongly.
We attribute the extraordinary vibrant herbal quality and fresh green aroma to the fact that this tea was made with Ying Xiang Tai Cha #20 leaves that grew very late in the year. The late winter growing season has given them a substance that results from slow growth caused by less direct sun and colder temperatures.
This batch is a rare find because Dong Pian Tea is rare by definition. Not all farms produce a bumper crop following winter harvest that is worth harvesting. It is also rare because it was processed by a traditional Oolong tea maker who took the time and effort to coax these leaves to a higher degree of oxidation. The full bodied character that results from the oxidation level, combined with the inherent vibrant qualities of a Dong Pian crop are what warrants this very minimal batch of tea to be shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club.
Watch the tasting video below for a live account of what this batch of tea is all about!
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