Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What-Cha: Taiwan Medium Roast Dong Ding Qing Xin Oolong Tea, A Tea Review

Oh man, I had a great intro to today's blog but the minute I sat down to write it, it wafted out of my brain like steam from a gaiwan. Dear tea friends, do you have that happen to you? If so do you have any special tricks to recapture the lost thought or just write it off as missing and hope it wasn't important?

Le Gasp! I just realized flipping through my notes that I am running low on What-Cha teas to review, jeaopordizing What-Cha Wednesdays, looks like a shopping trip is in my future, not that I need an excuse, but we are not out of teas quite yet, we still have Taiwan Medium Roast Dong Ding Qing Xin Oolong Tea for example. This tea hails from Wushe Garden in Nantou, Taiwan and is made from the Qing Xin varietal with a medium roast, the bare minimum for me to seek out a Dong Ding. No offense to green Dong Ding, I just prefer the roast, so comforting! The aroma of these leaves is really surprisingly sweet, like sesame seeds and almond paste drizzled with honey sitting next to a bouquet of honeysuckles.

Gaiwan time for the leaves, and the aroma of the soggy and unfurled leaves is really quite heady with notes of spicebush, squash flowers, orchid and honeysuckle, but blended with sesame seeds, acorn squash, and a gentle bread note at the finish. The liquid is sweet and creamy with notes of sesame seeds, acorn squash, almond paste, honey, and a finish of distant orchids.

For all the sweetness of the aroma, surprisingly the taste is only a little sweet, not at all cloying. It starts with a smooth almost oily mouthfeel and a distinct buttery note that moves to almond butter and sesame seeds. The finish is a gentle vegetation and bok choy note that lingers for a bit. This tea retains enough of its pre-roast that it shakes things up a bit, which is fun.

The second steep is intensely sweet in the nose, strong notes of honey and sesame, reminding me of sesame candies, and a nice burst of squash at the finish. The mouthfeel, like the first steep, is very smooth and almost oily, like eating cashews. In fact it has a bit of a cashew note along with the sesame seeds and almond nuttiness. This steep has more of the roasted notes I am used to with a roasted Dong Ding, notes of nuttiness with squash, honey sweetness, and mellow butteriness. At the finish is distant orchid which lingers for a bit.

Onward to the third steeping, notes of buttery spicebush and squash blend with honeysuckles and sesame greet my nose, it is sweet and gently toasty. The mouthfeel this steep is a bit dryer, with a crispness at the finish, but it is still quite smooth. The taste is sweet and toasty, notes of spicebush and cashews, sesame and honeysuckle, and a lingering gentle buttery note. This is a very mellow Dong Ding, and it hits the spot.

This tea was purchased by me.


  1. For how long and what temp did you steep it?

    1. 195 in approximate intervals of 30,60,90 seconds. I say approximate because I just watch the tea and pour when it looks right, it usually turns out to be around those times.