First a huge thank you to allisontsui for her generosity and hospitality in sharing three teas from Taiwan with several Formosa lover on Steepster! This package arrived a couple days after I had gotten my samples from Nuvola and I had already brewed their delicious Dong Ding (review coming soon) so I opened this one first. Unfortunately I could tell just from feeling the 5 gram packet that the leaves were crushed. There were maybe half a dozen whole to partial pearls and quite a bit of dust, so sad it seems to have suffered the damage on its journey.
Still I treated the leaves with respect and brewed them gongfu being sure to put a fine mesh strainer over my cup, but even this let quite a bit of sediment through. Still the first cup was quite nice, it had somewhere between a woody to floral aroma, it was less charcoal and mineral than the orchid oolong I had been drinking earlier that day, but still had a nice light roast to it with some greener notes. Floral is what stood out to me the most, thought it wasn’t like a scented or intentionally floral blend, just very pleasant and soothing.
Unfortunately this first infusion was the only one worth drinking. It pains me to write this since the tea was given so generously, but try as I could to reinfuse this, no amount of temperature lowering or time adjusting could save these leaves from turning astringent. By the third infusion it was unpalatable and I had to pour it out :( Dong Ding/Tung Ting is a tea that in my limited experience (recent order from Nuvola, sample from Fong Mong and a wonderful yixing session at Essencha Tea House) has been a very unique, generous and forgiving tea.
I cannot speak to the quality of this tea before it was shipped, but I would urge everyone who swaps tea to package in a padded envelope or box where applicable as this one was rendered to bag quality. I will be trying the other samples this week and sending Allison some of my Dong Ding from Nuvola as well. I am glad I got one good cup out of this though.