Dong Ding / Eco-Cha

Is it possible that tea tastes differently for each person?

Dong Ding is a roasted leaf and said to have hickory, roasted notes. I’m on my third steeping and I’m still not finding much in the way of roasted notes.

Oh wait! I tasted some roasted notes just now!

Much longer steeping was needed in order to acquire the flavor. This is a fly by the seat of your pants steeping as the site doesn’t provide any steeping notes, nor does the bag.

However, I feel that this is the best way to drink oolong. Tasting at various times in order to fully cherish all of the flavors. The roasted notes are faint but delightful. Remind me somewhat of a hojicha.

In each sip there is a sweetness that follows into the after taste. This sweetness can also be found in the aroma. The liquid is a clear, pale yellow that looks as silky as it’s mouth feel.

Besides the roasted notes we also find slight nutty notes mixed in with floral flavors. I wouldn’t say it blows my socks off but it’s a very enjoyable brew.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Eco-Cha

Description :

Rich, hickory smoke, sweet aroma. Robust, tangy, complex roasted character. Lingering heady aftertaste.

Garden: This batch of tea comes from Yonglong Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yonglong is known for its rich soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the Dong Ding Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan. This farm is managed by a father and son team who inherited their family tradition as artisans of Dong Ding Oolong. Their tea has been awarded first prize in the world’s largest Oolong tea competition, and they consistently achieve top awards in their local competition of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong.

Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. Winter 2018. Yonglong, Nantou.

Elevation:  700m

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Crassicolumna Sheng + Tea Flower Cake / Verdant

Never judge a pu er by it’s cake. If you think a tea cake is a cake made with sugar and tea you would be 50% correct. A tea cake, generally made with pu er, is made by pressing leaves together to form a circle. Pu er is unique in that it is actually a subcategory of dark tea.

Don’t know what Dark tea is? Go to Google and prepare to have your mind blown! Moving on, I’ve been breaking the cake apart with a knife but I now realize I should probably be using something more akin to a flathead screwdriver. The wrong method can create finer pieces.

Of course, I’m a noob when it comes to pu er in general so this is all a new learning experience for me. As far as flavor goes I find it earthy. Dry forest floor. Very little astringency. Pu er is a very forgiving tea. The suggested steep time is 10 seconds for Gong fu method and 30 seconds for American style.

Luckily if you are forgetful or easily distracted *ooo shiny* you can be assured that it won’t become overly tannic.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Pu Er

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Camellia crassicolumna is a close relative to the tea plant, growing wild in the forests of Qianjiazhai alongside Camellia sinensis var. assamica and many other near-relative species that are even now being categorized by botanists. Crassicolumna grows distinctively tall, making it very difficult to pick, but the payoff is a deeply complex spice-forward flavor, and intense lingering sweetness, all without caffeine. When finished like sheng pu’er, Camellia crassicolumna ages just like tea into deeper complexity.

Mr. Zhou blended the giant crassicolumna leaves with about 10% tea flowers picked from wildly propagated Camellia sinensis var. assamica plants. These flowers add a tiny amount of caffeine back into the mix, but also add deep sweetness and a sunny marigold profile, rounding out the crisp edge of the Crassicolumna with layers of sweet deep complexity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fire Roasted Oolong / Esteemed Tea Collective

Tea packaged in a plastic bag is a big no-no for me. Wasn’t expecting much from this tea because of that but this is one of those times when one enjoys being wrong. This is a hidden gem. One of those teas that could easily be messed up at any point in the brewing process or ruined by eating while drinking. And yet… it’s such an easy tea to brew as long as you stick by it and savor every minute of it.  My nose is thoroughly perplexed by the dry leaf aroma. It smelled like men’s cologne and it’s really messing with my senses. Maybe I touched something? I have no idea… So the aroma is off for me but the flavor is exceptional. The leaves are exceptional. Tightly wrapped leaves.

So far in this tasting journey it has been tasted every 20-30 seconds after the first minute. The best flavor is experienced within the first 1-2 minutes. The clear and very slightly ambered broth looks as if it would carry no taste but it has this amazing sweetness to it. A slight astringency but it’s almost not worth noting.

The website is impressive. Sleek and stylish but also somewhat Japanese in the way that everything is simple. For a purist like myself I truly love companies like these because they focus on single origin and single batch teas. No blends, just straight up tea, like it’s meant to be.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Esteemed Tea Collective
Description:

Tasting notes: Fresh flavor with a touch of roasted barley, full-bodied with a sweet long aftertaste. This tea has been lightly roasted to preserve the taste and freshness.

Mood/Benefits: A great choice after a meal to clear up your palate and aid digestion, or as a Five o’clock tea to freshen yourself up after the exhausting day. Contains high theine content (tea caffeine), vitamins and minerals.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Green Oolong / Verdant

An aroma sweet like passion fruit custard.

Appearance twisted, crocodile skin green. Two leaves and a bud attached to a twig. Unfurl, gently, in water not so hot. The steam rises with bouquets of asparagus. They find your lips, those bouquets, and you wonder if you are not drinking a Camellia Sinensis but a Asparagus officinalis broth.

Minerality follows, slight but rounds the flavor out nicely. Cleansing mouthfeel with a bit of astringency in the aftertaste. This oolong has a much lower oxidation level then most.

Mr. He, tea master, has produced this tea to have almost the same percentage of oxidation that a Bilouchun does according to their special note included with the box.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This tea is the He Family’s answer to the challenge that oolong is only for southern China. Despite Laoshan Village only having fifty years of tea cultivation and oolong being the most technically demanding kind of tea in the world to produce, Mr. He comes through brilliantly. The careful kneading and rolling brings out a beautiful, pure expression of the minerality of the soil and the water. This tea is processed without a roast for a true green flavor of Laoshan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

ENGLISH GENTLEMAN – EARL GREY VANILLA / The Tea Crew

Splendid. My tea is now cold. Still tastes good though.

The moment the aroma from the open packet entered my nose I knew I’d love this one. The aroma has a kick of bergamot with the perfect amount of vanilla to soothe it out. If you happen to go shovel and forget that you have a cuppa it will still have plenty of flavor when you get back. Personally though I think it’s better when its hot.

The black base comes out a bit more when cold and I found that interesting. Generally the bergamot and vanilla overpower the base at all times but not for this one. I’m excited to try this one as a latte or as they call it a London Fog Latte.

Before you get too excited and go off to order a pouch do note this company is based in the U.K. That being said it’s a really nice blend so maybe go order it anyway.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Crew
Description:

If our Earl Grey vanilla tea was a person it would definitely be Cary Grant. The epitome of sophistication, an English gentleman.

Full of flavour with a smooth creamy taste and vanilla overtones.

This goes exceptionally well with an afternoon tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!