This traditional 凍頂 Dòng Dǐng Oolong is charmingly complex and easily evades succinct defining. Its graceful responsiveness towards any kind of brewing style thrown at it endlessly keeps the imagination entertained. Simple tones and beautiful aromatics swirl with a light touch; its depthy layers accordion out into the robust when prompted. Thick sweetness is present throughout.
Mr. Lin, originally from Dong Ding mountain, is a quiet, principled man. Placing high in tea competitions every year, Mr. Lin’s unique and modified roasting approach is highly sought after.
Overseeing natural farming practices outside of Lugu, Mr. Lin insists on harvesting at what he considers the best time of day — noon — when the morning’s dew has evaporated and the leaf cells have opened more fully, optimal for withering. The cultivar used is a variation on an old Anxi county variety called 軟枝 Ruǎn zhī, improved and classified as no. 17 in Taiwan’s cultivar number system. Crucial in its ability to withstand the roasting it takes to make traditional Dong Ding, Ruan zhi cultivar has thicker leaves than the ubiquitous Qing Xin cultivar, and therefore requires twice as long to throughly evaporate the moisture out during withering.
After crafting traditional ball rolled oolong with an oxidation level of 50%, Mr. Lin prepares his modified roasting system, a style he calls “yin roasting”. The tea is layered and suspended 10cm thick in special baskets above the electric coils set below 300C. The tea is slowly turned every half hour, taking place over the course of 3 days using 3 different temperatures, for a total of 50 hours roasting time. This year’s finished tea’s roast level is considered to be at 50%.
This is truly a masterful dong ding oolong tea and every aspect conveys fine craftsmanship and care.
We are most grateful to work with Mr. Lin and to share his teas with the community.