Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea
We are very happy to finally be able to offer the pre-modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea! We've waited for years to source this local traditional specialty from our friend who simply has more demand than supply from his family plot of tea in Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan. We have showed up in his homestyle tea factory time and again to watch him make his own tea, as well as provide processing services for neighbors. This is how our appreciation for this local specialty grew. It's a character of tea that is not commonly found, even thought it's the roots from which the modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea evolved.
In a nutshell, traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong Tea is a skillfully and sufficiently oxidized tea that is left unroasted. The added element of roasting is a later version of Dong Ding Oolong that evolved as it became a popular tea on the domestic market.
So the pre-commercial version is a simple, yet substantial character of tea with flavor profile that is not particularly striking, but it is very satisfying. And its humble qualities have a tendency to grow on you like a staple food, rather than a fancy dish or dessert.
Depending on how it is brewed, this tea can exhibit pronounced fruit pastry notes, or it can offer tangy sweet, fully ripe fresh fruit qualities. It is a mild character, but it has complexity on a more subtle level than it's lightly oxidized High Mountain Tea or well-roasted Oolong relatives. Its most satisfying qualities are more of a feeling than a flavor, if that makes sense. It's the balanced sweet, astringent and mildly bitter qualities in the flavor profile that make it satisfying. And beyond that, it's a mild, but substantial Qi that comes from imbibing a significant amount.
As the above photo shows, the appearance of the brewed leaves is similar to Taiwanese High Mountain Tea — a lightly oxidized, unroasted Oolong. But these leaves are visibly more oxidized than High Mountain Tea, and the brewed tea is a further indication of the oxidation level. The leaves have a more reddish hue about the edges at the center, and the brewed tea is more deep orange/golden.
We find it very educational as well as satisfying to experience the "original flavor" of Dong Ding Oolong Tea — before it was commercialized and became a popular type of tea on the market.
Get the full scoop in the video below! Even better, grab some of this tea now here!
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Batch 65 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was initially sourced by our friend for entry into the largest Oolong Tea Competition in the world. The standard of this competition is a medium/heavy roast, so it requires a significant level of oxidation in processing the tea leaves for optimal results. This is where this batch of tea varies most significantly from the market standard of Taiwan's High Mountain Tea. High Mountain Tea is minimally oxidized and unroasted — offering a fresh green character with a floral bouquet. This batch was not only more oxidized, but also delicately roasted to offer a more balanced, sweeter character with fruity and pastry components to compliment the floral notes.