With the first brew poured off, the freshly brewed leaves carry a strong roasted character with rich, hearty, fireside notes. After the second brew the aroma of the brewed leaves turns a bit fruity, with warming spice sweetness reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The first brew has a roasted flavor upfront followed by a sweetness like grilled fresh corn. The second brew brings out a more balanced, rich, complex character and smooth texture – a much more integrated flavor profile.
There's a solid roasted base combined with a tanginess that brings out the complexity of flavor like caramelized apples, but followed by a clean subtly astringent finish that makes it refreshing rather than heavy. These leaves have brewing endurance. They can be brewed 5 to 6 times and still produce a full flavored brew. From the third brew on, the flavor becomes a bit lighter but also more vibrant in character. Cashews and citrus are pronounced. Overall, it's a very well balanced brew, with a complexity that makes it difficult to pinpoint a particular flavor or even character. This is the effect that a quality Dong Ding Oolong should achieve, and this is even more challenging when Jin Xuan leaves are used.
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This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was made by Mr. Su — an 80 year-old artisan of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea. He planted a plot of the Tie Guan Yin strain in his backyard several years ago, and this is the second time we've sourced this tea type from him. Mr. Su is our favorite representative of traditionally made tea in Taiwan, and it brings us a special kind of joy to be able to share his tea with our tea club members.
This batch has a particularly sweet character, with slightly tangy, fruity notes and a pleasantly clean lingering aftertaste. It has just enough of that cured, almost fermented character that makes it reminiscent of a traditionally made Tie Guan Yin Oolong. But given that it was only roasted once, it maintains a mild flavor profile similar to a Hong Shui Oolong.