Dong Ding Oolong Tea made in the traditional way is a favorite of ours, and this is a fine example of an extra robust, heavily roasted version of Dong Ding Oolong.
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 senior 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 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 most concentrated population of the most skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.
We feel privileged to have procured this batch of tea, as it was the result of a chance occurrence, where we just happened to be the right place at the right time. It was prepared to be entered into the local competition (limited to residents of the above said villages) for traditionally made Oolong Tea. These two villages are the home and heart of traditional Oolong Tea in Taiwan. However, this year the number of entries were too few to warrant the production of the competition, so it was cancelled. This is testimony to the waning population of traditional Oolong Tea artisans who take pride in their skill and heritage. Hence, this tea - which was meant for competition, was made available for sale.
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Red Oolong offers a smooth, balanced, mildly sweet, rich but not quite bold flavor profile, with elements of fruit compote, pumpkin pie, and a hint of dried flowers. This ultra-friendly character, combined with the fact that almost all Red Oolong is cultivated naturally on the southeast coast of Taiwan, facing the wide open Pacific, which reminds a North American of Washington State or British Columbia, is no wonder why it is rapidly gaining popularity on the international market. Once again, Taiwan leads the way in Oolong Tea innovation!