The competition wulongs
In Taiwan, in most growing areas, there are tea competitions every year. The most renowned region is definitely Luku, for the famous Dong Ding (Tung Ting). Every year, for over 35 years, thousands of teas are analyzed by a team of experienced tasters, all producers of tea.
On average, during the competitions that take place in the spring and fall, around 6,000 teas are presented. The purpose of this competition is to preserve the style of "Dong Ding", which is a wulong oxidized between 20% and 30% and subjected a final roasting which has become the signature of these producers. (see article Dong Ding (Cooked): traditional regional flavour)
How is the winner selected? There are numerous steps, here are a few: Initially the producer submits 22 Taiwanese pounds (22x600g) to the Luku Farmers Association. Some is used for the competition and 20 pounds are set aside to be packaged by the association with a seal of protection to ensure the authenticity of the product.
I have attended and participated in tastings at the contest several times over the years. Each time, I was amazed by the hard work of the judges at the centre. The assessment is made according to several criteria. Five groups of five judges will review the tea gradually to classify and determine a winner. They will analyze both the appearance (10% of score), colour (10%), flavors (30%), taste (40%) and infused leaves (10%).
After several tests by the judges, the winner will be selected. Only one lot will be designated Top Grade the price of which will exceed several thousand dollars a kilogram (always 600g!). An honorable mention is also given for the next 10 best lots, from a First Class 1 to First Class 10. Then come First Class (only 2% of the lots), Second Class (5%) and Third Class (9%). There is also a designation 3 Plum blossom given to 20% of the lots and 2 Plum blossom to other lots (34%). Over 30% of the teas will also be eliminated by the judges and returned to producers.
Who buys these teas? Is the quality worth the price? The first lots are often bought by Taiwanese companies that want to treat or impress their important clients. These precious teas are vacuum packed in 5g amounts and offered as gifts. This year, we bought a first class lot (part top 2% of lots), as well as a lot from the honorable mentions (the 5th one). These tea leaves have gone through over 5 analysis by experts at the centre So how good is it?
This is a great opportunity for lovers of wulong to improve their tasting proficiency. We have a limited amount of the Competition Dong Ding vacuum packed in 10g. I invite you to taste it alongside the Dong Ding M. Yu Nen cooked, which, every year, offers a very good Dong Ding, roasted with both passion and expertise.
Enjoy your tastings!
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