Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 "Nostalgia" Dong Ding Oolong

Nostalgia Dong DingClass: Oolong
Origin: Dong Ding, Nantou, Taiwan
Year: Spring 2007
Vendor: Aura Teas (Product page)
Price: $12.50 (72g) / $4.50 (18g)

Aura Teas recently contacted me about trying some of their teas and writing about them, and as usual I was quite willing to do so. :) I have only had time to sit down and seriously taste one out of the four samples they sent, but so far I'm pretty impressed.

This is a traditional-style Dong Ding which, from what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) [Edit: No big surprise– I was. Traditional-style is both high roasted AND high oxidized. Thanks Stéphane!], typically means the tea is less roasted and more oxidized than its newer brethren. The wet leaves showed some evidence of this (slightly browner, correlating with more oxidation; more supple/less rigid suggesting less roasting).

The tea wasn't what I expected, which was a good thing in this case. The low-medium roast Taiwanese oolong I have had in the past has been just like low-medium Tie Guan Yin but with less body, but this was different.

I brewed it in my typical balled-oolong way, with about 5g of leaf in a 100mL gaiwan and off-boiling water for around 30s (give or take) each infusion. The result was grainy (in flavor, not texture), notably fruity, and sweet. There was good thickness and oiliness on the tongue, it was cooling in the throat, and had a long, sweet aftertaste. All in all, quite delicious! The only problem was that it only lasted for 3 infusions before it started to weaken, but this is forgivable.
Aura Teas Mini-Canister
One more brief and probably unimportant note: look how cool their packaging is! Probably the nicest I've seen anywhere, heh.

I look forward to tasting the other offerings Aura Teas sent me, especially if they're all this good. Of special note is their "Natural Wuhe Honey Black Tea," which should be interesting as I've never had Taiwanese black tea before.

[Speaking of cool packaging, anyone like the new look of Tea Nerd?]

5 comments:

Mary R said...

I wish I could see your new layout! I've tried it in all my browsers, and none of the graphics will load! Not even your in-post pictures!

At first I chalked it up to my computer, as I was just unable to see a picture Space put on TeaChat, but I've now gone to several other sites this morning and haven't had an image problem.

I don't know what's going on...computers are beyond my scope.

Salsero said...

Looks good to me in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. I do like the gray and green colors. They are colorful, but not distracting and it is still easy to read the text.

Stephane said...

Traditional Dong Ding is more oxidized AND more roasted than new Dong Ding. My tea farmer there tells me that nowadays, almost 80% of the Dong Dings are made like High Mountain oolongs: light in oxidation and almost without any roasting.

Brent said...

Stephane,

Thanks for the clarification! I'm curious, is there a reason for the change in styles, aside from change in taste?

I read somewhere that the old style was popular because it didn't go as stale during long transportation, but is there any particular reason the new style is more popular now?

Stephane said...

Some say the new 'greener' style became popular with the tea competitions that started in the 1980s. They say the judges were fans of light Oolongs. And then the farmers planted their tea plantation higher and higher, because height (and a colder climate) was making this kind of green Oolong more crisp and more fresh.
Another reason that I see is that people put more and more focus on aroma, which is immediate, rather than on taste and after taste, which takes longer to unfold.

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