Country of Origin: Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: tightly rolled, fairly dark
Steep time: 25 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: brassy gold
Dong Ding is one of those oolongs that I really fell in love with when I first started my tea journey. There was a cafe in New York City near where I worked that served a surprisingly good quality one. I treated myself to a cup religiously (along with a matcha cookie or two), carefully keeping the leaves to steep again later. Ever since then Dong Ding has been a particularly nostalgic and comforting sip for me.
When David from Tillerman Tea kindly offered to share samples of the new selections for 2019, I immediately had to choose this tea. My preference definitely leans towards higher roasts and his tasting notes sounded absolutely delicious. There are several others that will be shared here on the blog in the future as well.
The dry leaf was tightly rolled and fairly dark in color. I couldn’t help but stick my nose in the bag to inhale the sweet, toasty aroma. There was a floral element along with a subtle fruitiness. The overall effect almost reminded me of Raisin Bran cereal. The roast definitely gave the leaves are a darker appearance but under a brighter light, I was still able to see the green peeking out underneath.
I brewed this tea gongfu style using a ceramic gaiwan. Tillerman Tea’s recommended parameters of 6g to 100ml was spot on but this is a tea that can definitely take a little experimentation. The leaves expanded quite a bit so you’ll want to make sure that they have plenty of room if you’re using an infuser basket or sachet. Tillerman Tea Dong Ding Roasted brewed up a brassy gold color with nice clarity.
I was a bit surprised by how mellow this tea was. The taste was sweet with a silky soft mouthfeel. Floral notes were tempered by the toastiness of charcoal. The hints of cereal that I detected in the nose were also there in the cup. Although this tea is roasted, I did not find it smokey or heavy in any way. It is obvious that the producer, Chen Kuan-Lin (aka Andy), is a master at his craft.
Don’t let the subtlety fool you, this tea has real staying power. I lost count of the number of flavorful infusions that I was able to yield. It never became bitter or astringent even when I extended my brewing times. This tea is totally bombproof, making it a perfect choice for those that are just starting out.
One thing that I really appreciate about Tillerman Tea is that they check off all of my boxes of what tea companies should tell you about their tea. This is just one of the Taiwanese oolongs that I have been lucky enough to enjoy from them.
Are you a Dong Ding fan like me? Have you ever tried this tea? Let me know about it in the comments below.