This was my latest sipdown. I bought an ounce of this tea last year because I was looking for an affordable Dong Ding oolong suitable for regular consumption. While this tea did not end up being bad by any means, it wasn’t complex or substantial enough to fulfill the role I intended for it. As Dong Ding oolongs go, it was rather lightweight.

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 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, sugarcane, vanilla, and baked bread underscored by hints of grass. After the rinse, I found hints of orchid and fresh bamboo shoots on the nose. The first infusion introduced a slight aroma of banana. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of butter, cream, vanilla, baked bread, sugarcane, grass, and bamboo shoots. The subsequent infusions introduced a definite orchid note on the palate. New impressions of violet, daylily, daylily shoots, minerals, banana leaf, cucumber, and custard also emerged. The later infusions retained notes of minerals, cream, sugarcane, and grass with the occasional hint of banana and/or daylily shoots.

I would be interested in finding out more about the origin of this tea and how it was produced. I know that both Cui Yu and Jin Xuan among other cultivars are grown in the area that produces Dong Ding oolongs. I have also read that many producers of high mountain oolongs often utilize a blend of cultivars in the crafting of each of their seasonal releases. Due to this tea’s creaminess, subtle floral qualities, and largely vegetal character, I would be willing to bet that this is either a Jin Xuan or a blend with a heavy Jin Xuan presence. I could be wrong, but this tea kept reminding me of a lightly roasted Jin Xuan. Overall, I could see this tea perhaps making a decent introduction to Dong Ding oolongs, but to be honest, it is not something I would go out of my way to reacquire. Though it was certainly drinkable, there are better Dong Ding oolongs on the market.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bamboo, banana, Butter, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Orchid, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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