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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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.