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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review:’s Roasted Dong Ding Oolong

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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The Subject:  Roasted Dong Ding [More info]

Straight Tea Rating:

Oolong Ranking Bar:

About the new rating designation.

Water temperature:180° F
Steeping time:3-5 mins. (diff for each infusion)
Tea type:Oolong
Dry leaves:  Dark green nuggets, shake up bag after opening to get toasty aroma

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —3 min.
Aroma, plain —  Roasty, toasty, fruity
Taste, plain —Roasty, mild, bit fruity/floral, planty as cools
Color, plain —Pale golden
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —3½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  More plantiness, still roasty/toasty
Taste, plain —Roasty/toasty, mild, smooth, floral hint
Color, plain —Pale golden
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —4 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Nutty, fruity
Taste, plain —Milder, less planty, smooth
Color, plain —Pale golden
4th Infusion:
Steeping time —4½ mins.
Aroma, plain —  Milder, less planty, smooth
Taste, plain —Milder, less smooth, roasty hint
Color, plain —Pale golden

This is the 15th sample we have tried from and a trend has emerged: excellence!

All but 2 of those samples were rated 5 teapots. This sample has also merited that top level rating. (The other tea vendor who comes close to this is Thunderbolt Tea, specializing in teas from certain gardens in the Darjeeling province in India. They had only 3 out of 15 samples so far rated at 4.5 teapots, with the other 12 rated at 5 teapots.)

This version of Roasted Dong Ding is on a par with the one we tried recently from Tula Teas. This one lasted through 4 infusions and could probably have gone to 5 and maybe even 6 infusions. For Oolongs, that is fabulous.

The “official description on the vendor’s site:

The copper-tinged golden brew smells roasty and sweet, like sobacha (a roasted barley tisane from Japan) with honey. Roasted Dong Ding’s flavor is strong, smooth and roasty. Notes of full-bodied Houjicha, honey sweetness, roasted barley and cashews, and vanilla are balanced with a light astringency. Later infusions are mellower, with a slightly greener oolong flavor.

Our experience:

The dry tea was quite roasty/toasty smelling when we shook up the leaves in the package. The liquid was pale golden, possibly due to starting with shorter steep times and being very careful not to overheat the water. The flavor ranged from roasty/toasty, fruity/floral, to planty. Overall, this was a mild-tasting tea that we could easily drink by the potful.

Seeing the tea leaves before and after steeping is always amazing. They start out so small and unfold in the pot. These got quite large, as you can see, which is typical for Oolongs:

The steeping directions on the label are close to what’s on the vendor’s site:

We thought such a marvelous tea deserved a very nice setting and so present it here along with that nifty tea cozy from GinghamgrlVA and the wonderful tea-dyed rayon scarf with the Chinese symbol for tea on it from CrafTea Designs. The bright yellow of the teapot kinda clashes with the tan of the scarf, but Little Yellow Teapot still thinks it’s a cool scarf. And this tea tastes so good that it makes him very happy. Enjoy!

Their packaging of these sample sizes were rather interesting. These are “pillow” packs, as I’ve recently learned, with two small foil pouches inside.

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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