I haven’t been reviewing lately because I’ve been sipping down old teas, although I still don’t seem to have made a dent in my stash. This is the penultimate session of a spring 2018 Dong Ding, which I bought as part of a Taiwanese tea sampler. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first steep has notes of toasted grain, honey, and mild char, while the second adds cooked pineapple, rock sugar, and roast. While I wouldn’t describe this tea as astringent, the body is drying, with little of the fruit I noticed in the 2017 version. In the next couple steeps, the cornhusk note from 2017 emerges and the honey, char, and toasted grains still predominate. There’s already a faint grassy aftertaste.

As the session moves along, the roast becomes more prominent, the tea gets a nutty quality, and the fruit disappears. By steep ten, it’s mostly roast and minerals.

This is a comforting, easy-drinking Dong Ding that keeps missing being great by a hair. Last year it was fruity but too smoky and astringent, while this year it was smoother but not as interesting. However, it’s interesting to see how the same tea can differ so widely across harvests, and I won’t be surprised to find the 2019 version in my cart once I can justify buying tea again.

Flavors: Char, Corn Husk, Drying, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Pineapple, Roasted, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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