Ah spring, I love you so, the windows are open and the trees are blooming, the air is full of pollen. And I can’t breathe. This allergy season is off to a wonderful asthma filled start, yay. The real annoying thing is my inhaler has always made me super jittery and just unbelievably derpy, so much derp in my brain. I no longer have a brain I have a head full of pollen! But, so far my sense of smell and taste has not been screwed so I still have lots of tea to enjoy while sniffing the flowers. Joy!
Today I am looking at a tea from Thailand tea company Tea Side, their Dong Ding (Tung Ting) Oolong Tea #AA. This tea comes from the high mountain region of Chang Rai Province and is the Chin Shin varietal (TTES #17) which was imported from Taiwan which in turn was originally imported from China. So this tea is said to be for those who are fan of heavy roasts, and we all know that I am all about those roasty teas! Sniffing time and the aroma of the leaves is definitely roasted with notes of barley, toasted walnuts, bamboo, honey, and an underlying and very distant honeysuckles. It has a strong char note that is very woody reminding me of bamboo coal, though it is also very sweet, and I like the blending of sweet and roast.
The brewed leaves have notes of char and barley, a little bit of burnt barley along with gently toasted. There is also a touch of narcissus and honeysuckle and a hint of sweetness that is fairly faint. The liquid of the first steep is gentle, sweet notes of honey and barley with walnut shells and a touch of baking bread and mineral, it is pleasantly sweet and toasty.
The first steep is light in both mouthfeel and taste, it has a slight smoothness and mineral slipperiness that has the promise of future thickness. The taste starts off with a gentle mineral and light sweet barley note with underlying freshly toasted bread. Then the taste retains its bread notes and adds a bit of honey giving me a real great toast taste. The finish has a distinct distant squash blossom note that lingers.
Onward to the next steep, the aroma is sweet and char with burnt barley and a slight hint of smokiness with the char notes. This steep manages to be both drier and smoother, with a surprising cooling finish. The taste is sweet, smokey, and fairly rich. Strong notes of barley, toast, and char with undertones of bamboo and smoke. This steep has no sweetness, it is all about the char and grainy notes which have a little bit of a pleasant nutty bitterness to it.
This steep is both light in taste and aroma, with the same barley and toast notes of the previous steeps, but also with an undertone of plums. It starts with mineral and juicy plum with an undertone of honey smothered toast made from very grain heavy bread. The finish is walnut shells and a touch of mineral with a lingering sweetness. My only complaint with this tea is it lacked staying power, it was really potent and then pitters out pretty early, and didn’t really last past steep five.