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Spring 2019 Green Deer Valley Dongding Oolong (50g)

Spring 2019 Green Deer Valley Dongding Oolong (50g)

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August 17th, 2021

This tea has held up beautifully over the last two years. I tried this tea again today in a clay teapot from Anj Ferrara. The tea is smooth with notes of sweetcorn, sugarcane, chenpi, Chinese plum candy and grain. The aftertaste is very long lasting. I can't get more of this tea from this source anymore but I will definitely try and get something of this quality once this batch is all gone!

I've long wanted to offer top quality unroasted Dongding oolong from Taiwan! I discovered this tea four or five years ago when I purchased an unroasted Dongding sample from an elderly couple in Taipei who have been in the tea business for decades. I immediately fell in love!

Hong Kong and Taiwan are only ninety minutes apart by air, and for many years now, Taiwan has been the primary destination for young Hongkongers to move to if they choose to leave Hong Kong! The air routes between HK and Taiwan are some of the busiest in the world, and Taiwan is so popular with Hongkongers that the last time I was over there, I ran into my optometrist at the airport in Taipei! 

Green dongding oolong is much more complex and smooth than modern green tieguanyin from Anxi, and this is by far the best example I've come across. 

This tea was grown in Lugu (Deer Valley) Township in Nantou County in Taiwan, the traditional home of Dongding oolong, and harvested and processed in late March 2019. This is all Qingxin (green heart) cultivar, as it should be, and grown and processed with the greatest of care. This Dongding would serve as an excellent benchmark to compare other green Dongding oolong against!

As with all Taiwanese rolled oolongs, I covered the bottom of my vessel with dry leaf. Taiwanese oolongs are rolled repeatedly during processing (40-50 times in a single day is common)! The aroma of the dry leaf is clean and pure and sweet, and the lovely green color of the rolled leaves definitely inspired confidence! 

I started off with a 45 second infusion (no rinse) at 95 Celsius in a preheated Purion teapot (I currently have two in stock, if anyone is looking for one). The liquor is clear, smooth, sweet and has surprising depth, all hallmarks of top quality Dongding oolong. The aroma is classic dongding, and there is lovely sweet Medjool date in the finish. This tea is lightly sweet on the palate and even sweeter after the swallow, and the lovely aromatics expand and then linger in the throat, mouth and nose for a good, long time. I already knew I had something special on my hands! This is exactly what Dongding should be, but this tea is unroasted. Unroasted Taiwanese teas inspired green Tieguanyin, but I definitely prefer sweeter and milder Dongding to green Anxi Qingxin!

The second infusion was thirty seconds long (the leaves are now mostly opened up, and will infuse much faster). I was very surprised to get fresh coconut aromatics in the finish with this infusion, which is not something I've ever had from tea before!

In the third, minute-long infusion, I noticed a mild calming effect from this tea, likely due to polyphenol content (this tea is very fresh). The coconut was no longer present, and we were back to sweetness, classic Dongding flavors and Medjool date in the finish.

The fourth infusion (1 minute 30 seconds) was still extremely aromatic and flavorful: in future I may shave off ten seconds or so! The huigan was much more pronounced in this infusion, perhaps because I pushed the tea just a little bit further than I should have.

I also noted that the depth of flavor in the throat from this tea rivaled the best gushu pu erh I've ever had: this is truly incredible tea!

In the fifth and sixth infusions, I noticed a light Anxi qingxin tieguanyin character in the liquor, but it was a background note to the classic Dongding flavor. Qingxin teas definitely have distinctive character on both sides of the strait, but the higher oxidation level used for Dongding makes for a much smoother, more pleasant experience in my opinion. High grade Anxi tieguanyin is definitely very enjoyable in its own right as well!

I had to stop the session after the seventh infusion because I noticed the caffeine had hit me hard, and my blood sugar had dropped. It was time to eat! I don't know how many infusions this tea will go for, but this tea still had plenty of life in infusion seven!

If you're a fan of Dongding oolongs or green Anxi tieguanyin, this is definitely worth trying! Now I just have to keep my hands off of this tea or I'll end up drinking it all myself! 

This tea fully complies with Taiwanese pesticide and quality standards.

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