drank Dong Ding Oolong by Tea Ave
8186 tasting notes

Gong Fu!

I thought that this was going to be a sipdown, but turns out that I had slightly more tea leaf left than I thought so it’s not – I chose not to overleaf my shibo because I thought it would ruin the balance of the session, and I think that was the right call. Now I have a weird/awkward amount of tea leaf left though.

I used 7.5 grams for this session, and while I did not time my infusions (because in general I just seem to not do that anymore; I trust my gut and intuition) I did actually count the infusion number this time! I ended up having a healthy nine infusions of this delicious, delicious oolong…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwPuw8QHzU5/

As I described in my instagram post, I found that this Dong Ding tasted quite nice with a very sweet creamed honey note in the top of the sip with orchid and soft, subtle and supple red apple notes more moving into the body of the sip – especially in the first few infusions before the leaves had fully opened up. There’s still a nice roasted quality to the tea, but it’s definitely a lighter roast – nutty with a hint of brown rice, maybe? Those toasty, warming roasted notes are definitely some of my all time favourites in oolong (and most tea in general) so they were very well received by myself during this session. Because of those orchid/apple notes, I definitely didn’t lose that “Springtime” feeling though, and the whole tea was very well balanced. I seem to have enjoyed it more than my last experience with this tea, based on my memory.

I was also eating Granadilla during this session, which is one of my favourite tropical fruits because it’s sweet but surprisingly very mellow and a lot less acidic than most other tropical fruits tend to be. Like the mature older sister of Passion Fruit, if you will. I was a little worried how this might pair with the tea, but it turned out to be quite nice. The granadilla didn’t take away or add anything super significant to my experience, but I thought it complimented and drew attention to the creamed honey notes and floral elements in a nice way.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApXoWvfEYVU

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.


Montreal, QC, CA



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