I swear I’m the type of person who is never going to pass up a Dong Ding oolong, especially a roasted one. I have a huge soft spot for such teas, and since I pretty much love Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Old Style Dong Ding Oolong, there was no way I was not going to jump at the opportunity to try this roasted version. Now that I have had a couple days to process my feelings regarding this tea, I can safely say that I did not enjoy it as much as the Old Style Dong Ding Oolong. It was a very good tea, but it lacked the liveliness of its greener counterpart.
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 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, I found that the dry tea leaves offered aromas of butter, char, wood, and gentle spice. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of cream and roasted peanut underscored by hints of blueberry and black raspberry. The first infusion brought out some ghostly fig and plum aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered smooth, subtle notes of butter, cream, and char that were chased by hints of roasted peanut, dark fruit, and some sort of spice. Vague vegetal touches then emerged on the finish. Subsequent infusions brought out more distinctive notes of plum, fig, black raspberry, and blueberry on the palate. The generic spice notes also began to separate into more distinct nutmeg and cinnamon impressions. New impressions of baked bread, roasted almond, wood, cattail shoots, damp grass, vanilla, minerals, and roasted vegetables also emerged on these infusions. The later infusions retained a smooth mouthfeel with mild notes of cream, minerals, vanilla, damp grass, and cattail shoots underscored by some lingering notes of wood, char, roasted nuts, and surprisingly enough, black raspberry.
An interesting and satisfying roasted oolong, but more than a bit samey in terms of texture throughout the course of the session, this was far from a bad tea. I would have liked to see more dynamism overall, with a greater separation of aromas and flavors, but again, this was still a very good tea. Perhaps what separated it most from some of the other roasted Dong Ding oolongs I have tried is that it struck me as being fruitier, almost jammy, and I really was not expecting that. This one would definitely be worth a try for those interested in Taiwanese roasted oolongs.
Flavors: Almond, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Fig, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Peanut, Plum, Raspberry, Roasted, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood