Eco-Cha Tea Club: Award Winning Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
The image above shows our well-worn tea table of marble "seasoned" with countless brewings of Taiwan's specialty teas. But if we were asked to choose one, the type of tea being brewed in this photo is unequivocally our favorite: Traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong. It just packs the flavor profile that we will simply never tire of.
The larger protruding stems were removed from the leaves above. This not only improves the visual assessment of the dried leaves, but allows for optimal roasting and brewing results.
The sufficiently oxidized leaves from Qing Xin Oolong tea trees in an ideal climate (Alishan) at well over 1000m elevation were roasted repeatedly with expert scientific assessment of their constituency throughout the process to bring out the desired character of a traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong Tea.
The aroma exuding from the minimally moistened leaves on the first "rinse brew" is a crisp "autumn" character, with subtle roasty notes. The flavor in subsequent repeated brews is an amazingly balanced, yet complex profile of roasted winter vegetables with their sweet, tangy notes over a smooth, rich roasted character. And these leaves have brewing endurance. Seven or eight balanced infusions can be got from about 8g of tea leaves in a 150ml teapot, starting at about 50 seconds, and increasing about 15 seconds with each brew beyond the 3rd brew.
As a singular tea type, we just keep coming back to a well made Dong Ding Oolong for one of the most reliably satisfying character and flavor profiles. And this batch was selected and roasted by a friend who happens to be the most respected professional competition player and master roaster we know. Due to his continued success in virtually all of Taiwan's competitions within the roasted Oolong category, he has been invited to conduct seminars for tea makers from all over Taiwan. He is a leading professional in the art of roasting tea. And we are lucky enough to be offered his award winning batches to share with our Tea Club members.
We love hearing about the experiences of our Eco-Cha Tea Club members with each batch we share. So please feel free to post your comments, photos, and/or videos here for all of us to see. Creating a community bulletin board for all of us to learn from each other is a fundamental element of this club. We look forward to hearing from you, and see you next month!
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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.