Harvest: Winter, 2010
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 2010, which in my opinion has been a fantastic harvest throughout Taiwan, using the traditional Dong Ding processing method. The leaves are hand picked and then withered either in the sun or indoors (depending on the weather) for a short period of time to reduce some of the moisture content in the leaves. After the leaves’ moisture content has reduced enough to make them soft & pliable, the tea is spread on large bamboo trays and shaken periodically over a period of a few hours to bruise the edges and begin the oxidation process. Once the leaves have oxidized to about 30-35%, they are heated in tumbling dryers/ovens to stop the oxidation process. After the oxidation process is halted, the tea leaves are rolled in mechanical rollers, which causes them to compress into their tightly compressed ball shape. The leaves are then dried and ready for packing and shipment.
The flavor profile of this tea is largely floral & sweet, similar to other Taiwanese higher elevation green style oolongs, but the mouthfeel is what sets it apart. The mouthfeel of this green style Dong Ding is smooth, thick and mouth coasting with just a hint of astringency around the edge and a nicely lingering sweet aftertaste. We recommend Gong Fu preparation and keeping the steeping times short at first.