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Spring 2020 Medium Charcoal Roast Nantou DongDing Oolong (50g)

Spring 2020 Medium Charcoal Roast Nantou DongDing Oolong (50g)

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September 1st, 2020

Please note: the pictures are of the 2019 batch, which looked virtually identical.

This Dongding is from a company I work with in Taiwan that produces this tea under their own label. This tea meets all Taiwanese pesticide standards, and the company is certified for ISO-22000(2005) standards for Food Safety Management Systems.

I've only had a few good roasted dongding oolongs over the years: one was brought over to me personally by Tony of Origin Tea before he started Origin Tea, and was some truly excellent lao cha. The second was from a producer whose father was renowned for his dongding. Unfortunately, I felt the second dongding, while very clean, was lacking in complexity. In my opinion, the tea I'm offering today is a top notch dongding and has lots of character and complexity.

I decided to test this tea out in a 100ml glazed gaiwan after opening the bag and letting the tea take in some moisture and air for a few weeks (recommended). The dry leaf smells like digestive biscuits and oatmeal cookies. When I loaded the preheated pot, chocolate and oatmeal cookie notes arose, as well as roast notes and classic Qingxin character. The roast was still quite fresh when I first tried this tea a few weeks ago. 

In the first infusion, the liquor was lighter than the color of the leaf and the roasty aromas would imply. In the cup, I get sweet osmanthus and mineral, along with some sweet grapefruit aromatics and sugarcane in the aftertaste in the first infusion. This year's batch tastes less of grain than last year's, although more grain notes may arise with time. This is a smooth, clean tea.

In the second infusion, I noticed some dark chocolate aromatics in the aftertaste, which was unexpected. There's a lot more minerality in the finish with this tea this year. 

In the later infusions, I noticed some buttery warm flavors that reminded me of a medium roast baozhong, which was a surprise: from that point on, I couldn't help comparing this tea to my own home roasted baozhong! I also detected fleeting date in the aftertaste, which is a note I associate with oxidation.

Full boil will bring out some drying astringency, but nothing remotely intolerable: I prefer to brew this tea at around 95 Celsius.

This tea has a powerful calming effect this year, which is always very welcome.

This is a really good charcoal roast Dongding that I am very happy with, and very proud to offer. Please note the vendor will offer 2021 tea next year. Once the tea is ready for sale, I will update this product listing.

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