Review of Superfine Taiwan Moderately-Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
10 of 105 of 54 of 595 of 100
OutstandingExcellentGood Value

This was one of the free samples I picked with my Teavivre order. I put most of the sample in my gaiwan, leaving just enough for a later western style brew. The dry leaves smell quite roasted, but also floral and somewhat woody. The first infusion has an aroma much like the dry leaves, but a bit more floral. The taste is definitely roasty, but not so much that the roast completely covers up the other flavors, which are similar to the aroma with the addition of roasted nuts. It's fairly sweet, not as much as a bug-bitten oolong, but more than any Tieguanyin I've had, for example. After the first infusion, an almost cannabis-like smell shows up among the flowers and trees. By the third infusion, little of the first infusion's sweetness remains, and there's now some more bitterness that wasn't there in the beginning. It isn't strong or unpleasant to me, but I also enjoy very dark chocolate and IPAs, so it's possible that someone more sensitive to bitterness might dislike this tea. The leaves are quite pungent at this point. The fairly normal roasted and floral smell they started with has turned into something that makes me think of a stoner's exotic garden. With the fifth infusion, the sweetness has started to return, but this time as some sort of fruit that I can't identify yet. Sixth infusion: the stoner seems to have planted a pear tree. The roast has calmed down considerably as well. After this infusion it started needing much longer steeps, but the flavor stayed fairly consistent after this. I lost track of how many infusions I got out of it.

This is such an interesting tea that evolves quite drastically from the first infusion to the last. It's certainly not something I'd want every day, but I'd love to keep some around to have occasionally. While the price per ounce is more than I usually spend on tea, I think it's actually pretty reasonable for the quality, especially considering that it's not an everyday tea. I've spent nearly as much on tea that was nowhere near as complex.

Update: Instead of western brewing the rest of the sample, I put it in my gaiwan and used less water. The character of the tea was completely different this session, with strong, very sweet stone fruit flavors in the beginning evolving toward a slightly bitter floral and vegetal taste in the later infusions. Now I really want more of this tea so I can experiment with ratios even more.

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