Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
This Dong Ding exemplifies the union of sweet and savory flavors that are a hallmark of Taiwanese oolong craftsmanship.
Taiwanese oolong is an incredible and worthwhile counterpoint to the Tieguanyin growing cross the straights in Anxi. While mainland oolongs tend to be more floral, Taiwanese oolongs edge towards savory. In love with the unique taste, we are pleased to have found this standout example despite difficult growing conditions in Taiwan this past year.
The wet leaf aroma is like being in a small bakery with rising whole wheat walnut currant bread in the oven and redwood bark’s warm smell wafting though an open window. The first steepings start with a bright raspberry tartness followed by a darker note of flax and spicy green peppercorn. These initial flavors swell and then diminish leaving a sweet whipped cream pound cake aftertaste.
Later steepings expand upon the spicy flavor with the sweetness of red bell peppers and the savory satisfying taste of fried cactus paddle. The aftertaste moves towards sweet corn bread and lingers long after the tea is gone.
NOTES: pound cake, raspberry, peppercorn, corn bread, flax, cactus
Learn more about this tea here.
A tea like Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolong from Verdant Tea must be experienced over several steeps, otherwise you will miss out on so much flavor and complexity. I won’t say that this is my all time favorite tea from Verdant Tea, but it is very nice and should be experienced.
I will start by saying I am a little disappointed that I never got those pound cake notes, corn bread notes, or even really any raspberry notes, but what I did get was flavorful, and delicious.
Early steeps give off a nice light flavor, white floral notes, a dash of a pepper note, but only very slight, and a wonderful earthy note like well nourished soil, not to be confused with dirt. This Taiwanese Dong Ding by Verdant has a perfectly sweet flavor, not too sweet, but just right. To me this resonates most as a floral milk oolong.
It is slightly vegetal, with some nutty goodness, and in later steeps becomes even more milky and creamy with a full mouth feel. It is weighty, buttery, slightly astringent, and really quite good. I still am looking for some of those dessert notes, but sadly not finding them.
Toward steep four and five I am still getting a wonderfully flavorful cup which becomes even more creamy, maybe this is where the cake note comes in – through all the creaminess, but for me I wish it had a little more because while it is creamy, it never quite develops into a full on cream like flavor, rather teases and hints at it. Perhaps if I were finding that raspberry note I would enjoy it more. This is not to imply I am unhappy with the cup, but I would have been more happy had I not seen those yummy notes that I am missing out on.
This is a really nice flavorful cup with key notes on my palate being floral, creamy, milky, and vegetal. Its not nearly as strong as other Dong Ding I have had, and I do love Dong Ding Oolong. Of course this is a lighter roast but even still it is lacking many of the qualities I am used to in Dong Ding. Again that is not to say I don’t like it. I like it a lot, but I am confused a little by this tea. I plan to work with it more to see if I can uncover more of what it has to offer.