2017 Winter Top Hung Shui Oolong from Dong Ding
A cousin of WuYi
Cultivar: Qingxin (ruanzhi) Oolong
Harvested by hand: on October 24th, 2017
Origin: Feng Huang, Dong Ding, central Taiwan
Process: Rolled Oolong with a medium roast
The brew has an excellent transparency. The color is dark orange.
The dry smells are intoxicating. They combine fresh fruity scents of dark pears with a light roasted aroma. The brew has ripe fruits like apples, pears and peaches. The empty cup reminds me of garden scents on a sunny day. It's a very traditional roasted Dong Ding. What I like about this particular batch is the finesse and purity of this fragrance. There are no burned smells due to a too strong roasting.
In competition mode (3 grams for 6 minutes), I noticed a good harmony in the taste and a long lasting aftertaste. There's also a light dryness on the tongue. The taste is soft, mellow but powerful and well balanced. The absence of defects is quite remarkable. Even this 6 minutes brew is very enjoyable. This tea also has a delicious 'Wuyi suan', a slightly sour/astringent note that makes the mouth salivate with pleasure. We can see that the leaves open up well and haven't hardened due to an excessive fire. On the contrary, the Hungpei (roasting) has well preserved the freshness of these leaves.
Brewing techniques and advice for this tea:
1. Using a good Yixing teapot can help smoothen and deepen the taste. But you can also brew it in a gaiwan to distinguish its aromas more precisely.
2. The first pours should be rather slow, since the roast is very recent. (Water still needs to have reached boiling point. Don't lower the temperature, or it will taste dull, but pour with care.)
3. The longer you let it rest in a porcelain jar, the more it will loose this dry roasting. Then, it will be possible to use more strength in the first pours.
4. Brew it with relatively fewer leaves the first times. The recent roast increases the flavors' strength, so it's wise to compensate with fewer leaves. Otherwise, you may be surprised by a brew that is too concentrated for your taste. This refinement and balance of this Oolong from Feng Huang is a wonderful reminder of the beauty of traditionally roasted Dong Ding Oolongs. See a previous Chaxi experience here.