One of the three teas I picked up in the Wing Hop Fung shop in LA’s China town. This tea, a Formosan Oolong, was going for $68 a pound, and I got a few ounces. I’d say it was a very fair price.
Though I’m not certain, I’m assuming this was grown at a higher elevation, judging by the taste. There’s truly not much that separates this tea from most of the finer Taiwanese mountain Oolongs I’ve had. In that sense, it has its pros and cons.
This isn’t going to be the everyday Dong Ding you’ll find in most retail tea shops. There’s definitely the nuance and delicacy of a finer tea, and it should be enjoyed as such. This is a tea to make in a gaiwan or small teapot, and to be served at least somewhat ceremoniously – even if that means you just have a small brewing vessel and a bowl, make sure you’re in the right mood and atmosphere to appreciate the flavor and more meditative qualities to the tea.
On the flip side, this tea doesn’t quite stand out to me. While very enjoyable, it has yet to leave an impression on me – perhaps after a few more tries, it’ll stick. As for now, I have fonder memories of finer, high-elevation Ali-Shan Oolongs. Perhaps it’s just my spoiled tongue that overlooks this tea.
As for the details: Smooth, with very slightly creamy taste in there. There are a notable number of stems, nearly all the leaves are attached to them, but it doesn’t add too much boldness to the flavor. Very capable of multiple-steeping, though I didn’t brew it enough to find the flavor’s threshold.
The water color is a light, bright green – one of Oolong liquor’s gorgeous shades. Like many Taiwanese teas, very fragrant – I took a few moments taking in the scents from my gaiwan’s lid, afterward. The spent leaves where a bit chewy, and some were a bit bitter where others were rather mild. Again, I’m not sure how safe or healthy it is to eat the leaves.
Overall, a good tea. Within a very large selection of great teas, I wouldn’t consider it a leaf for special occasions, but it’s definitely a type of “bulk” tea to have on hand for daily or time-to-time serious tea sessions.