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Traditional Dong Ding Oolong


This year's traditional 凍頂 Dòng Dǐng Oolong is charmingly complex.  Its graceful responsiveness towards nearly any kind of brewing style thrown at it endlessly keeps the imagination entertained. Simple tones and beautiful aromatics swirl with a light touch; depthier layers accordion out when prompted, with a thick sweetness present throughout.

Mr. Lin, originally from Dong Ding Mountain proper, is a quiet, principled man. Placing high in tea competitions every year, Mr. Lin’s unique and modified roasting approach that he refers to as "yin" style roasting is highly sought after.  Mr. Lin exposed this year's tea to a total of 50 hours of roasting, raised at a specific height and suspended together at a specific thickness.  The tea was turned every hour, and experiences 3 different temperatures throughout this process.  This roast is a gorgeous 50-60%, giving a sweet mintiness at the onset as the complex broth boldens up over the session for the long haul.


Mr. Lin and his father. Mr. Lin's son will be the 4th generation of this lineage of Dong Ding craft

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 thoroughly 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 陰火烘焙  “yin" roasting.  The tea is layered and suspended 10cm thick in special baskets above the electric coils set below 300° C. 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 50-60%.


This is truly a masterful Dong Ding Oolong 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.



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