Well, this confounded my expectations. I have never had an unroasted Dong Ding, so this is a new experience to me.
The first steeping was light with hints of sweet soft floral. By the second the infusion color is a light yellow-green with a very generous buttery flavor and mouthfeel and a finish of floral and sweet vegetal flavors. A few infusions in I’m reminded a bit of a Tie Guanyin. There are the nice hearty leafy qualities with just hints of floral and spice. In later steepings the tea is more mellow and buttery with just dull sweetness, but it is good for many infusions. I’m on 6 and and though there is a bit of a mineral flavor emerging, it is still overall good to drink. By infusion 8 the bitter/mineral quality seemed to back off again and the cup is mostly sweet, if not a bit weak. I’m doing a 9th infusion before I stop (can you tell yet that I’m brewing Gongfu style?). Wow! On the 9th infusion the flavor changed completely and now it tastes like artichoke! Surprising! There’s a little lingering sweetness, and as it cools I’m getting more of the clove/camphor notes from before. Okay, maybe one more won’t hurt. 10’s a good stopping point. Oh yeah, now that I’m trying it, it’s quite interesting. Really different from where this tea started out. Still buttery with some nice artichoke and cream notes.
While I must confess I find myself more drawn to the roasted type of Dong Ding, this unroasted version is unique and fun to enjoy. It really gives you a peek at what nuances in the tea leaves develop into the qualities you’d find in a roasted Dong Ding when it is roasted.
Flavors: Artichoke, Camphor, Clove, Floral, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal