Last weekend, I did two tea tastings, one for Dong Ding凍頂 and one for Tieguanyin鐵觀音.
We tried a Dong Ding from Zhu Shan竹山, and two from Dong Ding mountain. Before the tastings start, I normally ask participants to pay attention to how the tea will feel in the mouths, what the tea tastes like, and what tastes and flavors come up after one swallows the tea. It turned out that all of the participants did a great job!
The Zhu Shan Dong Ding is a modern style tea, which means it's a very lightly oxidized Oolong. The mouth feel is good, but it does not have enough body. The fragrance of the tea is very nice. In the fourth infusion, the taste of the Zhu Shan Dong Ding was gone. Then we moved on to the Dong Ding 101. People immediately noticed the difference in the way it felt in the mouth. I told them that I was going to brew 5 infusions. I asked them to tell me if the taste was still there in the fifth infusion. After the first sip of the 5th infusion, they all agreed that the taste was still there. Then we moved on to Dong Ding 301. After the first sip of the first infusion, I was smiling. Some people said that the tea was so creamy. They were delighted to taste a tea like this. After the sixth infusion, we studied the open leaves closely. Dong Ding 301 has red color on the edges of the leaves. That's a more traditionally done Oolong. I was happy that people were able to notice the traditional style Oolong's amazingly creamy and smooth mouth feel. Of course, they walked away with bags of tea. And 301 is sold out now (I kept 2 ounces for myself to drink).
The Tieyuanyin tasting was very fun, too. We started the tasting with a modern lightly oxidized Tieguanyin from China. Once again, I reminded people to pay attention to mouth feel, taste, and such. The green TGY is a pleasant tea. It is light with a very bright bouquet. We continued with a 1995 Tieguanyin. I passed the Gaiwan around to let people smell the bouquet. Everyone was amazed by the way it smelled. We drank five infusions of the Tieguanyin. People were very intrigued by the taste and the smell since not many people have had aged Oolong before. We finished with a 10-year-old Tieguanyin. It was smooth, sweet and round. People were very thankful for this experience.
And I am very thankful for those farmers who made these fantastic teas.
Next month, I'll be doing a special tea tasting as part of a Connosieur's tea series. The teas are from private collections, and will include rare and superb examples of oolongs and a puerh. Please check on the Floating Leaves site for soon-to-appear event information and contact me to sign up, since space will be limited and the store will be closed for this special event.