Thursday, July 10, 2014

Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong from Teavivre

Good day! I received a package from Teavivre a little while back and wasn't able to sit and focus on the teas until tonight. I have a whole slew of exciting new teas to try and attempt to describe to you how they taste. Being an "Oolong-Head" tea drinker, naturally I chose the dong ding out of the batch. This dong ding seems to be different than what Ive seen sold online because it isn't roasted. From reading Teavivre's product page, qing xiang basically means "unroasted". This is a green oolong with a "superfine" label, which one can only assume is top quality. Even though my pallet has been moving towards the bigger beefier older brothers of the oolong spectrum, (Roasted, Aged Oolongs) I can still enjoy the lighter/brighter flavors from a nice high mountain oolong. Let dive right in!

Due to teavivre's site being so packed with information, I would rather you read what they say about the tea at hand. "Dong Ding Oolong Tea is a kind of Pouchong Tea. It is named after its production place, Dongding Mountain, Nantou. Pouchong Tea refers to the oolong tea that is not heavily roasted. The catechinic acid in the leaves are oxidized for only 8% to 18%. The tea is in dark green color. Tea liquid presents greenish yellow or golden yellow color, very clean and bright. The tea tastes mellow and sweet, has refreshing and floral aroma. Fragrant substances in tea leaves existing in the pattern that tender leaf, spring tea and high mountain tea contains higher amount than old leaf, summer tea and low altitude teas. This is the reason that spring tea and high mountain tea has high aroma." Sounds like a winner to me. On to the steeping!

I decided to brew this in my little 4ml porcelain houhin with 5g of rolled leaf waiting for a warm bath. The leave look to be of good quality and the balls are all rolled about the same size. First things first, a quick rinse. The smell of a quality tea is emanating from the little white vessel. Smells of cinnamon/nutmeg, grass, orchid, and sweetness dance in the air coercing me to give them another bath. First steep was around 30 seconds. The liquor is bright yellow and means business. This tea is very fragrant which really rounds out a nice tea session. As fragrant as the liquor is, the first steeping seems to be a little light in flavor. Still, very enjoyable.

The second and third infusions are where this tea came to life! Typical high mountain "cinnamon/nutmeg" flavor is coming through with a nice grassy/vegital finish. Very smooth and buttery with a touch of sweetness! I know that in tea culture you should finish your cup with three sips but with this cha, it was proving to be a challenge to follow the old tradition. The second infusion was 45seconds and the third at 1 minute.

As I finished the next infusion I could tell from the liquor that the cha was loosing steam. As such a young tea, one can only be happy with the qi that is given. Perhaps I was a little rough with this tea. My water was probably a little hotter that it should have been, times probably went exact but I can say that I feel that I got a good grasp on what this cha is all about. The fourth infusion was pretty light in flavor but by the fifth, the young'un have given up.