I’ve not come across many Oolongs from Darjeeling in the years I’ve been drinking tea, but the ones I have tried have always been something special. This one is no exception.
It starts with the leaf, which in appearance reminds me a lot of a first flush darjeeling (although it’s actually a second) crossed with a very fresh white peony. The are a high predominance of downy silver buds, some verging more on silver or pale green, plus some brown-ish-copper leaves. The scent is sweet and lightly jasmine.
Initially, the taste is subtle and fairly mineral, in the way that some lighter or green oolongs can be. There’s a distinctive citrus flavour in the mid-sip – it reminds me most of grapefruit, with a slightly sharp/sour tang. There’s also some of the muscatel flavour you’d typically associate with a second flush darjeeling, and the pairing is an unusual and inspiring one. As it cools. a hint of dark chocolate starts to emerge, although it’s mostly confined to the very end of the sip and it doesn’t linger long. Despite the scent, I didn’t detect any floral flavours in the actual tea, which is a small relief because it’s already quite busy. In terms of mouthfeel, it’s lightly brisk but doesn’t cross over into astringency, despite being slightly drying on the palate.
I enjoyed this one. I’ve discovered that I like Oolongs from Darjeeling in general, and they often have some of the more unique flavour profiles. Mineral, grapefruit, and chocolate don’t sound like they should work together very well, but, somehow, they do. If you enjoy either Darjeeling or Oolong, this one is definitely worth a look.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: The Tea Shelf
One of the finest oolongs of Darjeeling, the aroma of dark chocolate envelopes your senses, reminiscent of a cold wintry day! The leaves are springy with a moss like mosaic of silver and copper. The infusion shows another surprise with individual leaves clearly visible with bright colours of copper and mauve. The chocolate experience continues but now coupled with citrus and fruity notes. The steeped leaves give way to a gorgeous sunset yellow cup, which is very brisk on the palate with notes of jasmine and citrus, which linger on.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Firebird 2015 Fenghuang Dancong Songzhong Oolong from Bitterleaf is really something special! It has a crustiness or bakey-like flavor to it – much like some of the more bakey black teas I enjoy but with the leaf of an oolong! The product description says it’s ‘the closest thing they’ve experienced to drinking a sticky bun’. I was intrigued at that statement. However I didn’t have that exact experience – I did still have a wonderful sipping experience regardless!
Having said that Firebird 2015 Fenghuang Dancong Songzhong Oolong from Bitterleaf is slightly sweet and does have that touch of natural caramel goodness laying underneath while still providing a VERY strong crustiness to the sip and I find that amazingly wonderful!
For kicks I decided to add a few pure sugar crystals to this – which I almost NEVER do – but I had them on hand. By doing so I found that Firebird 2015 Fenghuang Dancong Songzhong Oolong from Bitterleaf taste a bit more like the ‘sticky bun’ nod the product description claimed.
The natural honey-like aftertaste is something that certainly lingers on to the aftertaste. This is a really interesting offering from Bitterteas and I’m honored to have tried it!
Leaf Type: Oolong Tea
Where to Buy: Bitterleaf
One of our first two selections from the world of oolong, our Firebird Song Zhong Dancong is medium oxidized with a roasted sweetness. With honey and caramel as the most prominent flavours, this tea is about the closest thing we’ve experienced to drinking a sticky bun. The soup brews also out a clear honey-orange, but no actual honey was added, we swear.
This tea comes to us farm-direct from Chao Zhou.
Learn even more about this tea here.
Leaf Type: Oolong Tea
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha
This batch of tea comes from Yong Long Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yong Long is known for a rich red soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of the most skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.
(2015)Flavor: Grilled sweet corn aroma. Rich, foresty, roasted flavor. Complex, fruity finish.
Garden: This batch of tea comes from Yonglong Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yonglong is known for its rich soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan. This farm is managed by a father and son team who inherited their family tradition as artisans of Dong Ding Oolong. Their tea has been awarded first prize in the world’s largest Oolong tea competition, and they consistently achieve top awards in their local competition of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong.
Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. November 2015. Yonglong, Nantou. Available Winter 2016
Learn more about this tea here.
The Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha I know and LOVE is from 2013 but today I found out they have a 2015 harvest that will be available in Winter of 2016. I’m looking forward to comparing the two. The review of this Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha is from the 2013 harvest eventho I inserted both harvest descriptions above.
Once I infused Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha and it was ready to go in my cup I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful golden amber tone…it was beautiful! The aroma was roasted – that is for sure. The roasted notes followed suit when you sipped it as well. I could taste some plum notes underneath in the middle of the sip, too, but they were very subtle.
The roasty and toasty aftertaste lingered but in a good way. I’m looking forward to the new harvest of Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha coming in winter 2016…in the meantime I will finish what I have…and what I have is very good! Two thumbs up!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Yunomi.us
The Morita family’s quality sencha is a result of 10 generations of tea farming. This Sayama region green tea is can be steeped to be very astringent with a touch of umami (savoriness) using hot water, or with a great balance between astringency (shibumi) and umami savoriness using warm water.
Learn more about this tea here.
Yes! Green tea season is here! It is in this blogger’s personal preference to drink tea by the seasons. I often find myself craving one specific type of tea throughout a single time frame. And it makes perfect since too, I like higher oxidized teas that require hotter water in the winter, and lower or non-oxidized teas in the spring and summer for their fresh vegetal notes and their lower brewing temperature. With the weather turning warmer I have not even thought about boiling my water for a shou or a black tea, and have turned instead to Japanese greens, Taiwanese jade oolongs and sheng. The Morita family’s Sayama Sencha from Yunomi fits the bill quite nicely.
I love the smell of sencha tea every time I open a package and dive in. It just smells so buttery and fresh… like hot off the bamboo steamer steamed edamame, salty and so hot that it burns my tongue. Except that I use cooler water than I would for steaming the legume… but, I digress.
This tea lays all it’s cards on the table when I pour out the steeped leaves into my yunomi tea cup. The smell is fresh and intense. It’s so vegetal and marine-like, I can almost picture myself sitting on the beach while downing each sip.
Morita Tea Garden’s is a great Japanese green that hits all the right notes. I have yet to be disappointed by any of the farmers’ teas and offerings at Yunomi, and really, anything you choose will surely be a hit. I’d drink this all day everyday if I could! But then all of my other teas would get lonely.