Top Award-Winning Dong Ding Oolong To Share!
We are very excited to announce that we have a very small amount of top award-winning competition tea to share, and it happens to be our personal favorite tea type and locale: Dong Ding Oolong from Yonglong/Fenghuang Community in Lugu. This recent winter batch of tea was entered into the locals-only competition in the historical tea producing villages on and around Dong Ding Mountain.
This father and son team who manage their farm and process their harvests together have both won first prize in their local tea competition within the last ten years. This is an exclusive competition that only residents of the historical Dong Ding Oolong tea producing villages of Fenghuang, Yonglong, and Zhangya on Dong Ding Mountain are eligible to enter. This is home to the most concentrated population of traditional tea artisans in Taiwan, and very likely in the world. Here is the packaging of the same award that the father won seven years ago and pulled out of storage to show us. Award-winning competition tea increases in value with age, and prize-winners and tea merchants alike collect them.
This is the first season that we've sourced from this heritage farm in the heart of Dong Ding Oolong Country. We first met this farmer years ago, and got to know his son more recently since we met him in the factory of our organic source of tea that he was hired to process a few years ago. The son is now taking on more and more responsibilities in managing the family farm, processing the seasonal harvests, and becoming active in the community. The first photo above is the son's Champion Prize award he received in this competition six years ago. Below is the award that this very batch of tea received in the most recent winter 2015 competition.
This heritage tea producing area established this competition with the goal of preserving the traditional style of cultivating and processing this tea type. Hence, the name on the packaging above and the canister below that the tea comes in: Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea.
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The medium oxidized leaves have undergone extensive, repeated roastings that have resulted in a very balanced, integrated character. The initial steepings offer a freshly cut wood aroma with a toasted nutty flavor. This proceeds to open up into a sweeter, more complex profile that is strikingly reminiscent of roasted winter vegetables, including parsnip, caramelized onion and butternut squash.
Mr. Zhang's father cultivated tea on their homesteaded land in Xiaobantian, on the southside of Lugu Township, where he grew up in the midst of traditional tea making. At 20 something, he decided to embody his local tradition by clearing land to cultivate his own plot of tea. For the last 20 years, he has managed his own humble, privately owned plot of tea. Throughout this period, he also acquired seasonal work in tea factories in Lugu, Shanlinxi, Alishan, Fanzaitian, and Lishan. In a word, he learned the ropes of tea making in a comprehensive way, like most tea farmers of his generation. Lugu hosts the highest concentration of tea makers in Taiwan, and is a hub of specialty tea making culture.