Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teavivre: Superfine Taiwan Moderately-Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea, a Tea Review

I am such a nerd. I, thanks to trading in some unwanted books to amazon and hoarding credit thanks to doing bing searches, have saved up about $30 worth of amazon credit.  Well almost, I am waiting for my book trade-ins to finish processing, the wait is agony! Of course I am spending it on the expected origami paper, but I am most excited about the one of the books I will be procuring. Soon I will have a (2013) college textbook to Meteorology to peruse for light reading. There is also a Geology textbook I am getting, but I admit, I am practically bouncing in excitement for the Meteorology book. Yep, total nerd.

Today's tea is another one of Teavivre's oolong teas, specifically Superfine Taiwan Moderately-Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea. Phew, that name is a mouthful, but very descriptive, we know this tea is an oolong, specifically a Dong Ding (or Tung Ting) from Taiwan (Nantou to be exact), and that it is moderately roasted. This will be my first ever dance with a moderately roasted Dong Ding, I like that I am gathering all aspects of the roasting spectrum in my constant quest to try all the teas. The aroma of the dried leaves is really neat, it is a blend of roasted and floral. You get notes of sweet roasted popcorn and barley, this fades to orchid and honeysuckle, which in turn fades to a subtle chestnut. The dried leaves smell delicious, I really like the balance between floral and roasted.

After the leaves have had a bath in the gaiwan the aroma of the now wet leaves is much more roasty-toasty. It has a sharpness to it that I associate with roasted oolongs. There is a blend of roasted barley and legit toast. There is also a hint of floral, but it is more of a memory than a strong aroma. The liquid is toasted and buttery with notes of yeasty toast, roasted barley, and a finish of subtly sweet popcorn.

The first steep is subtle yet tasty, you can tell this tea has not fully 'woken up' yet so the flavors present are not very strong. Oh the joys of short steeping and watching a tea's flavor bloom. The taste is roasted with notes of toast and popcorn, it has a finish of subtly sweet chestnut.

On the second steep, the tea's aroma stays toasty, but it is more on the popcorn and barely notes and not so much the toast. There is also a hint of cream in the aroma as well, right at the finish. The mouthfeel is a bit dry which really highlights the popcorn sweetness. There are also notes of chestnut and a hint of yeasty toast, these come to a delicate, floral finish. Much like a wisp of flower's being brought in on a breeze.

The aroma of the third steep is quite richly toasted and sweet, it vaguely reminds me of kettle corn, with a tiny hint of toast. The taste starts out with a sweet yet bold blend of roasted barley and toast, this fades to a fresh vegetation taste. There are no notes of floral this time, but there is a molasses aftertaste which is quite tasty. The mouthfeel is dry, much like the previous steep.

Fourth steeping time! The aroma is much like the previous steep with strong notes of toast and roasted corn, but with a sweetness. The taste is quite sharp and distinct, it has a slight bitterness similar to coffee with a quick transition to roasted barley. This steep is not very sweet, in fact it is more on the savory side with an almost salty quality. It has a great refreshing and moisturizing effect in my mouth and is cooling. This steep was very rich!

For the fifth steep we have a different aroma, there is, of course the rich toasted aroma, but there is also an alpine fresh vegetation aroma and a finish of distant flowers. The taste is a contrast as well, there is no bitterness, instead the taste is like sweet corm and roasted chestnuts with a finish of yeasty toast. The mouth is dry that changes to a salivary effect at the end, very refreshing.

The aroma of the sixth and final steeping is buttery and sweet, very little toasted aroma left, just a bit of chestnut and fresh vegetation. The taste is like a much milder version of the fifth steep, it is a very soothing finish to a nicely toasted tea. I admit I was expecting a bit more of a floral and roast blend from the initial aroma of the dry leaves, but I am not too sad because I love roasted oolongs. They always remind me of autumn days and rainy evenings while snuggled up under a warm blanket.

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