Aged Dong Ding Oolong Tea - An Impromptu Introduction
October 07, 2014
When I recently visited some old friends in Lugu to taste their recently harvested crop of organically cultivated tea, they spontaneously proceeded to introduce me to their private collection of aged tea that they have been developing for decades.
Mr. Lee smiles here in nostalgic admiration of his father's achievement of an award winning tea some 30 years ago. This small ceramic urn is what remains from that batch, and continues to be an exemplary sample of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea.
This is exactly the kind of circumstance that has drawn me back to this world for the last 20 years. I finally moved house to this vicinity last month - something I've looked forward to doing for many years. I feel like I've finally arrived at where I should be - in the heart of tea country, in Nantou County - Taiwan.
Tea grown at high altitude is known for its substantial composition and smooth texture, particularly when the leaves have been sufficiently oxidized. This batch of tea offers that creamy texture and subtle complexity of flavor as a base, with a pronounced charcoal roasted component at the forefront. The charcoal roast is prominent in the first few brews, and the underlying complexity of the tea flavor comes through more and more with each brew.
Spring growing season had a long slow start this year, due to almost no rain until the beginning of April. The long awaited rain gave the tea trees what they needed to bring their spring buds into maturity. And we got a full week of good weather toward the end of the month, which turned out to be perfect timing for both our Shan Lin Xi and Alishan High Mountain Oolong sources.
We feel that the constitution of these tea leaves that were grown at high altitude with optimal farming methods, and crafted by some of the top tea producers in the industry, is what makes this batch so special. We cherish both the knowledge and the quality tea that Mr. Zhuang generously shared with us. We will miss him dearly.