Today's tea is a heavily roasted Dong Ding from Eco-Cha Artisan Tea. This tea is from Yong Long Villiage just above the Dong Ding (also spelled Tung Ting, translates to Frozen Summit) mountain at 750m and was gathered autumn of 2013. This will be my first roasted Dong Ding, I am excited since I love unroasted Dong Ding, seeing the transition of flavor and aroma will be enjoyable. The aroma is richly roasted like roasted pine nuts and toasted chestnuts. There are also notes of baking bread, molasses, and an underlying sweetness. As a finishing note there is a roasted coffee like aroma that is very faint but still noticeable.
Giving the tightly curled leaves a soak in my gaiwan reveals strongly roasted notes with toasted nuts and mild dried tobacco notes. There are also hints of roasted chicory and a note of floral. Oddly the floral aroma is also roasted, it is hard to describe other than roasted flowers, but it is quite nice and sweet. The liquid is a mixture of honey and molasses with toasted nuts and a hint of burnt chocolate.
The first steeping is as expected quite roasted with delicious notes of roasted nuts, molasses, cocoa, and honey. There is also strong floral notes of osmanthus which blends really well with the roasted and sweet notes. It is very rich and powerful, this is not a steeping that does ballet across your taste-buds, it break dances.
The second steep brings more unfurling of the leaves and an even stronger roasted quality to the aroma, I would even say it is a bit smoky. The liquid also has a much stronger roasted aroma but with honey sweet notes as well. As for the taste, well, it is intensely roasted and the vaguely smoky notes give the tea a slight bitterness that fades to a sweet aftertaste. There is more than just roast and smoke with this steeping, there is also notes of dried fruit and osmanthus flowers.
The third and final steep, well final for me, I am pretty sure this tea has a few more steepings in it but I am starting to slosh around when moving. The aroma of the leaves that are practically pushing the lid off my gaiwan are roasted and with a sharper roasted chicory note along with a definite pine nut aroma. The liquid is also very nutty and a touch sweet. Tasting the tea fills my mouth with roasted pine nuts and a touch of smoky notes. There is also the faint bitterness accompanied with a dry mouthfeel. This tea can best be described as robust, I would reccomend someone who is making the coffee to tea transition give it a try because it has similar qualities but with the recognizable floral qualities of an oolong. This tea was a fun change of pace from my usual unroasted and heavily sweet and floral oolongs, I can definitely see myself seeking this tea out during fall and winter when I want that robust roasted flavor.