This competition represents the historical tea growing region of Songbolin, promoted by the Nantou City Farmers' Association. The quality standard set by this competition is based on a traditionally made tea that has become commonly known as Dong Ding Oolong Tea. This name represents a processing method that incorporates a sufficient level of oxidation in the leaves that allows for a significant degree of post-production roasting. The flavor profile that results from these traditionally developed processing methods can be said to bring the raw tea leaves to their fullest potential in terms of a distinctive character and full-flavored tea.
This traditional method of oxidizing the leaves before fully drying them, and then roasting them repeatedly after they are rolled and dried, distinguishes this style of tea from the modernized large scale production and promotion of minimally oxidized, unroasted tea. While the "Green Oolong" category of tea has its own quality profile, it is the artisan quality of time-consuming, labor-intensive curing methods, as well as the locally transmitted traditional "gongfu" or skill, that puts this tea type in a distinctive class of its own.
Traditionally made Oolong embodies the value-added qualities of a distinctive flavor profile, a stability of composition that maintains freshness, and a heartier character that results in enhanced brewing power — in other words, you can get more brewed tea per leaf from a traditionally made tea!
This batch of award winning tea is a cultural diplomat of central Taiwan's tea making tradition. It is a hearty, complex brew with a broad profile of flavor that is bound to satisfy both the sensitive palate as well as the demand for a robust, full-flavored brew. It is a middle ground in the spectrum of tea types, ranging from Green Tea to Black Tea, with a wide variety of Oolongs in-between. It has a definite "cured" character, while maintaining a substantial fruity, clean quality offering an interesting brew that remains interesting for, well — years-on-end! In a word, it's our favorite style of tea.
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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.