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!

Jin Xuan GABA Tea from Eco-Cha. . . .

I have always wanted to try Eco-Cha’s oolongs and I was ecstatic when a box of delightful oolongs arrived for the SororiTea Sisters to check out. With the snow falling and the crisp air, today felt like the perfect day to try Jin Xuan GABA tea.

So I brewed up a pot, broke out a few snacks, and gave myself a few moments to really indulge in this brew. And indulge I did.

Each sip I am greeted with pops of fruit with a slight bready finish. Fresh crisp smooth and delightful. I can’t get over how fantastic this oolong is and how much I’ve missed oolongs to be honest. I’ve been in a green tea craze and this tea is telling me its time to shake up my tea routine.  Pot after pot of this tea and I was on cloud nine. Not only does this oolong taste fabulous with such a smooth flavor profile that is insanely satisfying, this tea is one of those soul soothing teas that you can literally just soak in and it helps wipe the day away.

So in not so many words, I loved this offering so much, I’ve asked for a subscription for Christmas! I need more Eco-Cha in my life!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

MrsPremise’s Oolong-A-Thon. . . . .

As I delved into my tea cabinet recently, I realized I had been stockpiling oolong teas.  Where did they all come from?!  

Since the season is finally starting to turn, and oolong teas always make me think of spring, it seemed like a good time to try them all.  

So I had an Oolong-A-Thon and brewed ten samples from my stores.  The numbers below aren’t a “best-of” ranking, but they roughly move from most delicate in flavor to the most potent in flavor.  . . . .

 

  1. Alishan High Mountain from Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf – The dry leaf smells sweet and nutty, and this sweet-oat flavor is echoed in the first steep with additional notes of green melon.  The second steep is nuttier still more oat than fruit, though a bit of the green flavor lingers on the aftertaste.  (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister). 
  2. Alishan High Mountain Eco First Pluck from Terrior Tea Merchant – The dry leaf smells like sweet grass and sour fruit.  The first steep is not sour at all, but very green and buttery, with more interesting notes like citrus or bok choy coming out on later steepings. 
  3. Ding Dong Oolong from Eco-Cha – Prior to brewing, this tea smells dry and earthy, like hay or dried grass.  Brewed, the first steep is roasty and savory, with just a hint of starchy sweetness in the aftertaste.  The second steep has nutty, brown rice flavors, but still remains light and drinkable.  (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister).
  4. Ding Ding Oolong from Cloud Nine (Spring 2015) – The first steep features fruit notes like plum, grape, and currant.  There are almost red wine or acai berry flavors.  This potent fruit flavor drops off in the second steep, with more green notes and fewer berries, more like green grapes and white wine, though the brew never got too bitter or dark even with longer steep times.  
  5. Ping Lin Pouchong from Cameron Taiwan Premium Loose Leaf  – These long dark tea leaves smelled like caramel or burnt sugar when dry, but their first steep was surprisingly green and floral.  The brew turned out to be slightly buttery, with almost-seaweed notes.  The second steep wasn’t distinctly different, with similar savory tones and a smooth, buttery aftertaste.
  6. Jin Xuan Milk Oolong from Teavivre – The first steep of this tea ended up tasting like sour grapes and bright florals, with a hint of roasted nuts and a supremely smooth mouthfeel.  The second steep increased the almost-honey flavor and feeling of the tea, and brought forward some either, grassier notes to the brew, and maintained the milky smooth texture.  
  7. Tie Kwan Yin Oolong from Tea Ave – The first steep was surprisingly roasty, with notes like warm toast or freshly baked bread.  There were no green or floral flavors, but the starchiness was well-balanced with an herbaceous earthiness.  The second steep brought out a stronger roast, and slightly bitter, dry hay notes, though the flavors were still balanced and very drinkable.  
  8. Shui Xian Oolong from Origins Tea – The tightly rolled dark leaves, smelled like hay and earth slightly bitter, though the first steep had a pop of tart currant, quickly buried under strong, roasted almond flavors.  This tea had a dry mouthfeel, very nutty and savory, with even a hint of smoke, like an oolong for lapsang-lovers.  The second steep brought out even more sweet, starchy, marzipan flavors.  
  9. Alishan Charcoal Fire Heavy Roast from T-Oolong Tea (Spring 2012) – Despite the name the first steep of this tea did have some bright notes like a greener alishan oolong but with a distinct, roasted, malty depth.  There are some charcoal notes: mineral and toasted.  Both steeps brew up dark in color, the second steep maintains the toasted rice and malt flavors as the first steep, but develops a smoother mouthfeel.  (See a review from my fellow Sororitea Sister). 
  10. Gingseng Oolong from Enjoying Tea – I tried this tea last, because it was the only flavored oolong in this grouping.  Anything with added flavor was bound to be more potent than just the leaves alone.  This tea smells sweet in the dry leaf, and brews sweet and sour with a very strong passionfruit flavor: green and slightly tropical.  The second steep is earthier, less sweet and more like wet foliage, still some lingering passionfruit notes, especially on the aftertaste.  

And there you have it– the results of my Oolong-A-Thon!  

Like black or green teas, there are many variations and flavors to be had from trying a variety of oolong teas.  From my point of view, there wasn’t a bad tea in the bunch, and each had its own flavors to suit the changing weather or my variable tea cravings.  

There is certainly an oolong out there that will fit your tastes as well.  Happy oolong brewing!

Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong from Eco Cha

Oolongs are mysterious creatures- full of complexity, and with such a wide variety of dominant flavors depending on how the leaves are processed. For me, they are the closest I will get to anything like ripe pu’erh for probably a long time. That said, whenever I am presented with an oolong from a well-known, high quality tea vendor, I am always very excited, and like to put my “snooty tea connoisseur” wizard hat on for the duration of the review. SO!

Without any further delay, I present Eco Cha’s Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong! Let’s just call it.. SLX for the rest of this review. Hawt. The little emerald leaves are tightly rolled, requiring a 2 minute rinse to fully ‘expand’. ..and boy, do they really expand. My little gaiwan has suddenly turned into a dense, leafy jungle inside! I’m feeling healthier just by looking at all this green!!

After a 30 second steep, the resulting brew is a light yellow-green color, not entirely expected since the dark leaves led me to believe I’d have a dark drink. However, the flavor of the tea perfectly matches its color- so light and beautifully sweet, grassy without tasting vegetal or bitter, with a pleasant aftertaste that reminds me of cinnamon!…? Am I crazy right now? I’ve had this tea multiple times now and “CINNAMON!” just keeps popping up in my mind every time I taste it. Like.. a snickerdoodle cookie or something.

Subsequent steeps are also given 30 seconds to brew; the tea remains full bodied and satisfying. This tea is so perfect for the ‘transition’ period between summer and fall we are currently in. SLX provides a light and grassy taste for sweet sunny days, with just the right touch of toasty cinnamon spice to hint at the breezy days of hoodie weather that lie just ahead. This was my first ever tea from Eco Cha, and I loved it! 🙂

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco Cha

echochalogoDescription

One of the prominent qualities of Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the fragrance that exudes from the freshly brewed leaves. Especially after the first and second brews, hold the un-lidded teapot near your nose and inhale slowly to experience the volatile aromatic oils that are being released from the freshly moistened and heated leaves. From there you can enjoy the evolving aroma of each successive brew. The fragrance is the most intriguing and subtle quality of a fine high mountain tea.

This tea carries distinct qualities of adequate oxidation of the leaves during processing. This is evident in its sweeter, mellowed aroma and smooth, balanced flavor. Its aroma is slightly less floral and more fruity or pastry-like. Oxidation offers a more substantial, less green brew that is complex, yet balanced and smooth on the palate. This batch is another exemplary high mountain tea from the Shan Lin Xi area.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha

HR-DDO-LBJ-all_grandeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Eco-Cha

Tea Description:

(2013)
This batch of tea comes from Yong Long Village, just above Dong Ding Mountain. Yong Long is known for a rich red 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 the most skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.

(2015)

Flavor: Grilled sweet corn aroma. Rich, foresty, roasted flavor. Complex, fruity finish.

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. November 2015. Yonglong, Nantou. Available Winter 2016

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha I know and LOVE is from 2013 but today I found out they have a 2015 harvest that will be available in Winter of 2016.  I’m looking forward to comparing the two.  The review of this Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha is from the 2013 harvest eventho I inserted both harvest descriptions above.

Once I infused Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha and it was ready to go in my cup I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful golden amber tone…it was beautiful!  The aroma was roasted – that is for sure.  The roasted notes followed suit when you sipped it as well.  I could taste some plum notes underneath in the middle of the sip, too, but they were very subtle.

The roasty and toasty aftertaste lingered but in a good way.  I’m looking forward to the new harvest of Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Eco-Cha coming in winter 2016…in the meantime I will finish what I have…and what I have is very good!  Two thumbs up!