The scent of the dry leaves is absolutely exhilarating. Through the deep hungbei, the leaves have developed a new scent closer to whiskey than to fresh tea! There's oak and malts and sweetness...
The fragrances in the brew are also heavy, dark, ripe and rich. As for the taste, it's very rich and full body. There's a light sour note that turns mostly sweet with a little bitterness that carries the aftertaste very long. There's also a very powerful tingling on the tongue. It's a tea with great cha qi.
The choice of the brewing vessel has a big impact on how this energy is expressed. With a zhuni, the energy from the roasting (and the leaves) is felt very strongly and almost overshadows the fragrances. With a zhuni, I would recommend to pour the water very slowly. At this stage, even after half a year of rest, the better choice is to use a zisha or duanni teapot. The taste and fragrances get a much smoother mix and balance. And the aftertaste is fantastic: it has legs and seems to dance on the palate! Very long and energizing. The scents continue to emerge from this aftertaste as the boundary between scents and taste is blurred.
This Dong Ding Hung Shui Oolong is a wonderful example of the original Dong Ding Oolong taste. Traditionally, in Taiwan, this type of tea is more guys, brewed very strong, especially in the south of the island. But I see that it appeals also to many female brewers in Taipei. They would brew such tea much lighter, though. Not all roasted Oolongs stay good when brewed 'light' (with fewer leaves and longer brewing times). Only those that have elegance and finesse perform well then. This is one of those!
My name is Stéphane Erler. I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.