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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Tula Teas’ Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding Oolong

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The Subject:  Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding Oolong
Company:Tula Teas. [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

Oolong Ranking Bar:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:205° F
Steeping time:1 min. each infusion
Tea type:Oolong
Aroma, dry leaves:  Fresh, planty/nutty

1st Infusion:  
Aroma, plain —  Generally floral
Taste, plain —Nutty, planty, melon-ish aftertaste
Color, plain —Pale yellowy green
2nd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Roasty/planty when water added, fruity sweet/roasty after steeping
Taste, plain —Same as #1
Color, plain —Deeper yellow-green
3rd Infusion:
Aroma, plain —Planty
Taste, plain —More planty, less roasty, less smooth
Color, plain —Deeper yellow-green

Another superb tea from Tula Teas, a tea company that, though relatively young, is certainly one whose teas are well above average. We didn’t do as many infusions as owner Libby Gibson recommended. We were steeping up 16 ounces at a time to be sure we had enough to taste between us, so three infusions gave us 48 ounces of tea. If you are enjoying this tea by yourself, use only 8 ounces of water and about a teaspoon of the dry tea leaves (which look sort of like little gold nuggets). Those dry leaves open up large in your pot or cup.

Their description of the flavor:

The tightly rolled, dark-roasted leaves of Charcoal-Roasted Dong Ding have a deeply roasty, woodsy, nutty aroma with a subtle note of stewed plums. They brew into a pale, lemony colour, which may surprise you given the depth of its aroma and flavour. Scents of chestnuts, carob, dried wood and green forest growth give way to smooth, mellow flavours of spearmint, more carob, dry lemongrass and some minerality. The finish is roasty with a distinct mint-chocolate note. Like all great oolongs, this tea reinfuses with ease. The second infusion is fuller and roastier, with more woodsy tones.

Again, a description that will leave some tea drinkers puzzled. Our experience was very enjoyable but not like theirs. The tea had a smooth feel and had a definite melon-like aftertaste. The aroma was roasty-nutty as well as planty. This is not to say that the flavor was a disappointment. On the contrary, hubby said it was one of the best teas we’ve tried so far, and I agree. What it does mean, though, is that the description is again a bit over the top and prone to lead to unrealistic expectations.

One thing is sure: this is a “sipper” tea. Enjoy it slowly and in a luxurious manner. The vendor recommends having some after a meal, sort of as dessert. Give it a try.

The sample package is the best we’ve seen so far and should keep the teas great tasting for awhile. They block out both light, moisture, and air. We always store our teas away from heat sources, too.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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