Dong Ding (Cooked): traditional regional flavour.

July 1, 2011
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Lake Dong Ding and tea gardens overhung by betel palm trees.

Dong Ding (locally known as "Tung Ting") is the best known of all the Taiwanese wulong's here in the West, for a long time it was one of the only members of this great family of tea to reach us! Hundreds of producers are growing these teas on the mountain Dong Ding (meaning "frozen peaks") in the vicinity of the rural town of Lu Gu (Nantou County). Traveling in this corner of Taiwan, we realize that it is almost entirely focussed on the tea industry. The people are very proud of their long tradition and the accumulated knowledge behind this floral treasure.

Though increasingly found in "uncooked" form (see the Dong Ding Chang in our selection), the traditional Dong Ding's stand out from the other wulongs of Taiwan for their tradition of roasting. In a competitive market where more regions of production are developing on the island due to the popularity of Gao Shan Cha (High Mountain Teas) and low oxidized wulongs, the distinction of these teas from Dong Ding must be preserved.
Grown at an altitude of around 700-800 meters, Dong Ding's are traditionally oxidized between 20 and 30%, rolled intensively for several hours and then dried. Finally they are roasted for a period of ten to fifteen hours depending on the preference of the producer. The result is a dry leaf that look like beads of a beautiful bronze-green to dark brown, with aromas of flowers, honey and pastries released when infused. The liquor, usually bright golden to coppery, contains sweet and floral flavors, the roasting offers hints of fresh bread, summer honey, tropical fruit jam, roasted butter or toasted cereal.
The Dong Ding (roasted) from Mr. Nen Yu, we have just received is a great example of the traditional character of a Dong Ding classic.

Mr. Nen Yu at the tasting of his teas in spring 2008

Each year, several thousand teas are presented in various competitions in Lu Gu. During a trip to Taiwan Hugo has the opportunity to be present during the course of the main competition where more than 3000 teas, all wulongs (many from Dong Ding) with the distinction of having the classification of "Dong Ding (oxidation / roasting style)'', are examined, tasted and evaluated.

Competition in Lu Gu where thousands of Tung Ting teas are judged in each contest.

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