Friday, February 20, 2009

Dong Pian - Oolong's late winter harvest


Tea leaves don't grow in cold weather. In theory, there should be no harvests between the winter harvest (which happens at the end of fall) and the spring harvest. But Taiwan's oceanic, subtropical climate creates a mild winter. And if the weather happens to be sunnier and warmer than usual, then the tea leaves can grow enough to be harvested. 

What are Dong Pian's characteristics?
Dong Pian grows in similar conditions as high mountain Oolong: sunny during the day and cold during the (winter) night. Therefore, Dong Pian Oolong is on the light oxidation side, with very fresh and light fragrances. The yields are lower.

Why is it called Dong (winter) Pian? 
Pian - which some have poetically translated as petal - stands for the numerous tea buds that sprout between the leaves (see where the arrow point in the next picture of JinXuan Dong Pian). These small buds are concentrated with the light tea fragrances. And because these buds happen at several levels of the branch, the hand harvested Dong Pian usually contains 3 to 5 leaves and as many buds, instead of 2 leaves and 1 bud for the spring season.   
  The older leaves and the stem add body and sweetness (and weight!) to the Oolong.

This Dong Pian is a Si Ji Chun cultivar from Zhu Shan in Nantou County. 
Harvest was mechanical at the end of December 2008.

Competition testing parameters: 3 gr, 6 minutes, 150 ml, boiling water.
Color: fresh and vivid green leaves. Clear tea brew.

Fragrances: Refreshing and strong. Heavy flowers and sunny countryside. These smells are not as delicate and fine as High Mountain Oolong. They have a more masculine character and are more suitable for an everyday Oolong.

Taste: Sweet with aftertaste on the middle of the tongue. Very little astringency or bitterness. 

The combination of a Dong Pian harvest and low elevation Si Ji Chun Oolong creates a simple, fresh Oolong that is easy to brew and enjoy.  

3 comments:

Marilyn Miller said...

Thanks for the explanation of Dong Pian Oolong tea. Very educational. Oolong teas from Taiwan are my favorite tea.

Stephane said...

Thank you Marilyn,
And I wish you good luck transforming your 20 old quilt blocks into tea quilts!

Sebastien said...

Hello, today I tested this tea. After having received the packet yesterday, I am eager to taste all of them. I should take the time and not open all the tea bags at the same time... but well it is exciting to taste new teas. I try to to abide by my law (one tea per day), but I am too impatient... I must say that I am a beginner. I had some advices from a wise tea drunker. Then, I try do get my own ideas about the teas I drink. Si Ji Chun teas are my everyday teas. Most of the time the leaves are not complete. As a consequence the liquor gives quite some astringency and bitterness. The one proposed here by Stephane gets beautiful leaves and no astringency and no bitterness (a little says Stephane, but not as strong as I could saw or other ones). My brewing sequence (30/30/40/60) is probably not perfect, but this tea seems tolerant to my inexperience. I confirm that it is an "easy brewing" tea. You smells flowers not only in the aroma cup but also in the drinking one. It lasts during all the brewing sequence. And, something that is quite interesting, it is very affordable. Better quality for exactly the same price that you would pay for a poorer one. What else to ask for?