2009 Winter Dong Ding - Taiwan Oolong Tea
-Harvest: Winter, 2009
-Growing Area: Jenai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
-Elevation: +/-3,300 ft (1,000 M)
-Varietal: Qing Xin
This Dong Ding (Tung Ting) oolong tea is from Nantou County, Taiwan’s largest county and most productive tea growing region. It is one of Taiwan’s most famous teas, named after Dong Ding mountain in central Nantou. According to the story, a student who had gone to study in Fujian in the late 1800’s brought some Qing Xin cultivar tea plants back to his home on Dong Ding mountain, where he planted them and began producing oolong teas from these plants. The environment on Dong Ding mountain proved to be ideal for oolong cultivation, so the tea produced in this region of Nantou county became one of Taiwan’s most famous and highly sought after.
This tea was hand picked and processed during the Winter harvest season of 2009. The roasting of this tea was done in the traditional manner using glowing (not flaming) charcoal that has been covered with ash (usually from burned rice hulls) to prevent flare ups and smokey tastes from penetrating & overpowering the tea flavor. The roast is what I would term a “medium” roast, and the producer refers to this tea as 40% roasted. It is not as light as the medium roasted oolong from Alishan that we also carry from the Winter 2008 season, but it is not as dark a roast as the traditional Wu Yi Oolongs that we also carry.
The roasty & fruity flavor profile of this tea is a good balance of the distinctly “charcoal roasted” taste with the other distinctive notes of roasted nuts & dried stone fruit (peaches?). What gets me about this tea is the mouthfeel. It’s smooth and thick without being soupy, and the Hui Gan (bittersweet aftertaste) is long-lasting, nutty, sweet and remarkable.