Review: Teavivre Taiwan Dong Ding

Oolong Tea, Teavivre Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK" While the creamy fruit notes are pleasant, it's the vegetal elements of the profile that take precedence."
Sophie’s Teaview: 6.8/10
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Grown between 700 to 1000 meters above sea level on the slopes of Dong Ding (or “Frozen Summit”) mountain in Taiwan, this tea benefits from the cool climate, the clouds and the mist ever present at that altitude. The leaves have then been lightly fermented in order to produce a “greener”, more floral type of oolong. The rolled leaf clusters are rather large and display a mix of bright forest green and khaki hues. Their aroma is sweet and honeyed, similar to very ripe cantaloupe.

I first followed the brewing instructions provided on Teavivre's website. I steeped 3 and a half teaspoonfuls in 8 ounces of boiling water for 2 minutes. A pale yellow cup with a tangy fruit aroma ensued. Contrary to its scent, the tea is not very sweet. It's flavour profile is predominantly buttery and vegetal. However there is a faint flowery aspect that tempers the impact of the greens. Cooling mineral notes also provide a refreshing lift. The tea is smooth and creamy in feel up until the finish, where it takes a slightly drying, astringent turn. It's a pleasant enough cup but it doesn't have the well developed fruit and flower notes I was expecting.

I steeped the leaves again for 3 minutes. This cup has a bit more fruit to it compared to the first infusion. The bitter edge of the finish is now more prominent as well. It contrasts interestingly with the fruity flavours. Overall I find it heavier and less delicate than the first but still just as refreshing.

In my early morning confusion, I forgot to time my third infusion. At a guess it steeped for about 4 minutes. This time the profile is pared down to buttery grass notes and the astringency of the finish. It's enjoyable for all its simplicity but the leaves are definitely starting to wane.

Trying to get the best out of these leaves, I also tried some steeps with less tea and longer brewing times. I found these cups to be a little bland. I would also take care not to over-steep the leaves because they have a tendency to go bitter. While the creamy fruit notes are pleasant, it's the vegetal elements of the profile that take precedence. Personally I prefer my Dong Dings on the sweeter side so I won't be purchasing this particular tea. However since it's reasonably priced and available in a variety of formats, this offering could be a good way to get to know this variety of Taiwanese tea. Those who like buttery, vegetal brews would also do well to check this one out.

— To purchase Teavivre Taiwan Dong Ding, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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