I had not previously had the opportunity to taste any aged oolongs so I was very curious to try auraTeas‘ Formosa Aged Dongding, 2004. I prepared it in the traditional gongfu method, using a yixing pot and serving pitcher. The pre-brewed scent of this tea is wonderful, rich, sweet and complex and it has a nice dark reddish hue.
The tea liquor of the first infusion was darkly flavored and a little like honey and mulch, not at all like the darkness of a pu-ehr. By the second infusion the flavor was more reminiscent of fresh cut oak leaves. It grew in intensity with the first three infusions and then began to drop off slightly in the final two steepings.
One thing that I found interesting about the leaf as it changed over the course of multiple steepings was that unlike most leaves it never fully flattened out. The aging process imposes more compression and wrinkling of the leaf. The leaf does expand in the pot, fully imparting its favor into the liquor, but even after five infusions it remained more wrinkled than most teas.
Having not experienced a wide variety of aged oolongs I can’t assume that the character of this Dongding would be similar to others, but it seems that a certain timbre of the tea would be consistent. I enjoyed this one quite a bit and would recommend it to anyone interested in a good entry-level aged oolong.
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As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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