First time brewing Dong Ding. I’m not convinced I was able to coax the full potential out of this tea, only time will tell. As it stands I’m about 50/50 on this one, I just couldn’t get that into it. The first couple infusions were very intensely roasty and almost intolerable for me, tasting mostly like burnt watered down coffee, with just a hint of underlying leaf with just a hint of a pleasant caramel coming through. I preferred the later infusions (4+) which yielded a much more balanced cup. I made it through 6 infusions before I had to give up (due mostly to liquid overload) but this tea could have definitely kept going. I might opt for a longer rinse next time to flush out more of the unpleasant flavors of the early infusions. I think dong ding might just be a little too much for me, but I felt the same way the first half a dozen times I tried Lapsang Souchong, so your mileage may vary.
It’s also worth noting that like all the other teas I’ve tried from Chan Teas, the leaf quality is great, with nice large and intact leaves. Being ball rolled this has some amazing expansion properties too!