Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Fong Mong Tea on eBay
The hand-plucked leaves of Dong Ding Oolong are grown in the Dong Ding region of Taiwan at the elevation of 740 meters. At this elevation, the leaves absorb moisture from the surrounding fog and clouds every morning and afternoon which is ideal for Oolong plants. Due to the unique geographic location and stringent selection of leaves, this is the finest Dong Ding Oolong from the Dong Ding estate.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is a fabulous Dong Ding … it is sweet with strong fruity notes. Usually with a greener style Oolong like this, I expect a strong floral note, and while there are some flowery tones to this cup, I taste more fruit than flower. Very nice.
The fruit tones taste somewhere between peach and plum. It is pleasantly sweet with hints of sour. There is a nice roasted note to the background, reminding me a bit of toasted grain. The floral note is subtle and develops as I continue to sip. The astringency toward the end is slightly dry and leaves the palate feeling clean. There are some crisp, delicate vegetative notes as well.
The first couple of infusions start out very light – touching on all of the flavors I mentioned. With subsequent infusions, I notice the vegetative tones emerging more, and the floral notes becoming more distinctive. The fruity notes of the first few infusions begin to subside, and a savory bitter tone starts to reveal itself, offering contrast to the sweet flavors of this cup.
The final infusions (I steeped this tea six times) were much more vegetative and floral than the first infusions, but they were still very tasty. I do think I preferred the fruity notes of the first couple of infusions, but, overall, it was a very pleasing experience from start to finish, and the transitions of this tea are fascinating to explore.
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Hand picked in high altitude, naturally mist-shaded tea gardens, withered in the shade fanned for several hours before being hand pressed into spears in a wok over low wood-fire.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I first tasted this tea, I was surprised, and checked the label again. I could have sworn it said Dragon Well on the label… and it does! But it says Dragon Well style, not Dragon Well (or Long Jing). And yes, the dry leaf does look quite similar to a Dragon Well tea. The leave are long and appear to have been flattened similar to a Dragon Well. The color seems to be a bit brighter green than many Dragon Well teas that I’ve encountered, and there is a little something more to the aroma of the dry leaf with this tea. There is something warm, toasty- perhaps nutty? – and slightly spiced to the dry leaf fragrance, and these are not scents that I typically experience with a Dragon Well. It sure smells interesting, though!
With the combination of the first two infusions in my cup, I notice a sweetness that reminds me immediately of brown sugar. Like a raw brown sugar … not a caramelized sugar or processed brown sugar – but that pure, molasses-y flavor that you only get when you taste raw brown sugar. The vegetative notes are softer than expected, and remind me a bit more of a baked bean than a “green” kind of taste. I also detect a nutty flavor, as well as a banana-ish kind of taste to it (the tasting notes on the website suggest a bananas foster flavor, and I get that, except that the warm cinnamon flavor is missing).
With a taste this good, you know I had to take the tea out for another infusion or two! The combination of the third and fourth infusions actually produced a flavor that reminds me of butter rum lifesavers. I took a few sips just to see if my mind was playing tricks on my palate, like it might have been telling it “now, you’re supposed to taste butter rum lifesavers.” I don’t know if that is actually happening now, but, I can tell you that I taste butter rum lifesavers (a flavor I’m very familiar with, because every year, my daughters give me their butter rum lifesavers from their “Lifesaver Storybook” which is a traditional stocking stuffer on Christmas).
There is also a faint vegetative note in these next two infusions, but it is fainter than in the first two infusions … which was faint to begin with. This is the kind of green tea I’d recommend to someone who finds other green teas to be too grassy, because this one would win them over.
This has to be one of the most intriguing green teas I’ve ever tasted. Bananas and Butter Rum Lifesavers? Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely!