31 Tasting Notes
I picked this up at a Ten Ren’s shop located near me. I only know that this is a Dong Ding because, the large storage tin says “Dong Ding” on it. Other than that, it was hard to communicate to the merchant, who didn’t know much English.
The leaf quality is dark, tight bound leaves, the smell was lovely with it’s smokey-toasty smell. I brew this in my gaiwan, at shy of a boil on one minute ascending brews. The result was a very enjoyable, toasty, woodlike, caramel in taste. Reminds me of coffee. It’s take was rather easy, and it finishes up quite like a Wuyi oolong. Despite being a roasted oolong it’s medium to light in body. I can’t compare to a regular green Dong Ding, as it’s been a while since I have had a cup, but I’ll update in another note, if I end up having both on hand.
It’s an “awlright” oolong. I’d have Lupicia’s TKY mucha, or Zhi Tea’s TKY over this anyday.
I was so intrigued by this tea that I almost bought it instead of Marco Polo at Gumps. I ended up buying both.I have this thing for breakfast teas, I don’t know quite why, but I wanted to try this blend labeled “French Breakfast”.
So I crack the tin open, and take a whiff: definitely some Darjeeling was mixed, that or Nepalese. The quality was good, black leaves, with contrast, and scattered dark greyish greens. Because of the fact that it had some Darjeeling/Nepalese in it, I cut fifteen seconds off my brew to cushion. (I dislike brewing with seconds). I did this in my 24 ounce white teapot. It gave me a nice amber rose cup, with the taste familiarity of muscatel and the mix of earth and grass, nutty; the definite characteristics of a Darjeeling/Nepalese. I wouldn’t say it’s completely full bodied, but it’s take was smooth, and it’s finish was astringent. Elegant throughout.
The second cup I added light agave nectar which eliminated the sharp finish. The third cup I added agave nectar and 2% fat milk (I really wish I had WHOLE milk on hand). I think the body is lost, and my sweetener took over, something that happens if you ever try having additives to Darjeeling/Nepalese teas. Because of that this tea is not as versatile as some other breakfast blends.
I wasn’t disappointed with this tea. I’d recommend it to black tea skeptics, this or FF Puttabong Darjeeling. This tea was very enjoyable, and I was glad I purchased it from Gumps. There sure are better blacks out there than this though, and because it’s price for questionable quality leaves, its lack in versatility, and it’s production, Zhi Tea’s Classic English Breakfast still reigns supreme for my morning cup.
This produces a cup of liquified burnt rubber…
I guess I may not be fair in scoring this, as I felt the need to write notes on teas I have not enjoyed. I got it as a free sample from EnjoyingTea.com with a purchase of a teapot.
You may know from my Marco Polo (Mariage Brothers) note, I am not a fan of flavoured teas. And this is one of the teas that has fueled my crusade against flavoured leaves.
The leaves are somewhat of quality: broken to full with contrast of browns and blacks, it has cornflowers added to it. I brewed this at boiling for five minutes in a 20 oz. white teapot. The resulting cup was that simply of liquified burnt rubber, I cannot pull myself to explain what the body was or any other tasting notes than that of liquified burnt rubber.
I threw the remaining leaves in the compost…
Again I say I’m not being quite fair here, but my experience from this tea is clearly that of my score. If I do try this again, for whatever reason, I would try brewing it at a lowered temp, and try some additions to it.