Dong Ding is a very multifaceted tea. There is a lot of complexity to it and every sip is slightly different – the flavors change with each mouthful. This oolong combines a wide range of complex flavors that keep you guessing. While some of these flavors are gentle and quite subtle, the overall effect is bold, fresh and invigorating. This oolong is a real treat!
The dry leaves…
Were the classic semi-balled leaf style, about the size of small garden peas, and some had tiny visible stems. The leaves were a rich, damp, olive-green. The dry leaf aroma was vegetal – not like vegetables or herbs, but more like the grassy outdoors – earthy but at the same time, dry woods.
WOW! When infused – it was magic. The once tightly balled leaves, emerged beautiful, large and a dark vibrant green, with slightly brown edges. There was a very noticeable vein down the center of the leaves and now some had visible, small woody stems. The leaves were somewhat resistant and tough when I rubbed them between my fingers.
Was the aroma of the infused leaves – when they were just out of the hot infusion they smelled like cooked spinach, but as they cooled and became room temperature, they became very floral. The liquor was pale gold and clear, reminiscent of a light honey and the aromas were a powerful floral bouquet. Gone were the vegetal scents. Now, the aroma was like an explosion of a summer floral arrangement. I picked up subtle notes of lilac, orchids, honeysuckle, clover and honey with hints of spice and stone fruits.
For my initial steep…
I used 6 ounces of tea in my gaiwan, with 6 ounces of water. The water temperature was 180 degrees Fahrenheit, with a steeping time of one minute. The top note was a honeyed sweetness from the luscious floral notes leading into a mid-tone of stone fruit. I was back and forth between peaches and apricots – remember I did say it was complex. A burst of flavors in my mouth and all were YUMMY! My second steep was another wonderful cup, in which the honey and the stone fruits were more pronounced. The sweetness, fruit and flower notes, lingered for a while after sipping, together with a creamy and almost buttery mouthfeel. I was able to get 4 solid steeps before this delightful tea gave out. The second steep was my favorite as the peach notes were more prominent with that delightful creamy quality.
In the end … There is an impressive range of complex and layered flavors, with each sip and with each additional steep. This tea is not astringent, and it slides gently down the throat with each mouthful. I highly recommend it to those who like intense fruit and flower notes and to all lovers of oolong teas, as this tea is quite a treat! This is a resounding 5!
P.S. For desserts lovers, it pairs very well with cakes such as pound cakes, almond and/or vanilla flavored cakes and is especially delicious with white chocolate!
All teas will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for dislike and 5 as love:
- Dislike (I didn’t like the tea and would not repurchase)
- Passable (I didn’t dislike the tea, but I didn’t think it was very good)
- Average (I didn’t find it good or bad and would drink it again)
- Good (I liked it but it and may repurchase)
- Love (I enjoyed it lot and would repurchase)