Saturday, April 30, 2011

Norbu 2010 Winter Harvest Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding

To me, Taiwanese Oolongs are a relatively new thing.  My first experience with them was only a few months ago in the wintertime when I was enjoying lots and lots of shu pu.  This one is another winter harvest and roasted, too, so I think I know what I'm getting myself into.

This is what I'm getting myself into.

According to the description on Norbu Teas, this tea was oxidized around 20% and the roasting was at 40%.  I'm not sure how one measures the roasted-ness of tea, but I would have called this a very light roast.  When I opened the sample bag, the aroma was mild and sweet, with what I would call "mountain air smell" if I was in a pinch.  The leaves seemed normal size, shape and color for what one would expect for a tea like this - some of the leaves were dark green, some were light green.  They're also made from the Jin Xuan varietal, which means I can expect a pleasant sweetness in this stuff.

I brewed it gongfu style, using 4 grams of tea in my 100 Ml. Gaiwan.

Even though I couldn't detect the roast in the aroma of the dry leaf, it made itself known in the liquor.  Five out of the six infusions had a slight roast flavor to them, and every cup had a pleasant Tie Guan Yin like floral character.     At first, the mouthfeel was thicker, with more buttery flavors and feelings sliding around the palate, but not really adding too much depth to the tea.  Later infusions really increased in complexity and one infusion even had an aroma of warm milk!
The plastic wrap on the floor is because I'm a klutz.  Oy!

The third cup was really the most complex and offered up the best of all of the teas qualities.  It was relatively thick, with a great smooth mouthfeel.  Floral notes and spices mixed with stonefruit and the mellow sweetness of an English Walnut.  The aftertaste was floral and lasted for entire minutes inside the mouth and throat.  Despite all that, it was still just okay.

Overall, I enjoyed this tea, but it lacked depth.  It may have been that the roast was lighter than I prefer, or maybe that I didn't add enough leaf to the gaiwan.  Either way, It was slightly above average and may be a nicer version of an everyday tea, due to it's lack of longevity and how rough the mouthfeel became during most of the cups.  Nonetheless, if I could give advice on what teas to try, I would still say "Try every tea that you can get your hands on."  Later.
Good Leaves!

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