I think everyone knows that I love Dong Ding oolongs by now. I do not drink them all that often, but when I do, I really get into them. I reviewed Harney & Sons’ Dong Ding Light a couple months ago, and while I liked it, I was not entirely blown away. I held off on reviewing this one as a result. I now wish I had not done that.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of butter, char, nectarine, peach, wood, and osmanthus. After the rinse, I began to note aromas of honey, lilies, magnolia, and petunia. The first infusion allowed a subtle cream aroma and a hint of grass to emerge. In the mouth, I noted a unique blend of cream, butter, osmanthus, nectarine, honey, peach, lily, and magnolia notes balanced by hints of char and wood. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas and flavors of yellow plum, apricot, lemon zest, candied orange peel, minerals, grass, hay, and vanilla. The later infusions were heavy on mineral, grass, hay, butter, cream, wood, and candied citrus notes underscored by ghostly impressions of flowers, honey, nectarine, and apricot.
The whole time I was drinking this oolong, I kept thinking it was odd that it reminded me of a really good Gui Fei. I then discovered that this particular tea was allowed to oxidize longer than many Dong Ding oolongs before the heavy roast was applied. The tea’s unique fruity and floral character was a direct result of this treatment. This tea also displayed a very light, smooth body despite its complexity, and as a result, was incredibly approachable and easy to drink. At this point, I cannot say much else than Harney & Sons knocked it out of the park with this one. It was not what I was expecting, but it was fantastic!
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Char, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Honey, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Plum, Vanilla, Wood