Oolong "Taiwan Dong Ding Oolong" or "Dongding Oolong" (from China Tea Book)

Taiwan Dong Ding Oolong Tea is produced in Luguxiang, southwestern Nantou County, and it belongs to the category of semi-ball rolled tea in terms of processing. Other teas produced in various tea-producing areas in Nantou County, such as Songbai Longqing Tea, Zhushan Oolong Tea, Yushan Oolong Tea, Qingshan Malong Tea, and Wushe Lushan Oolong Tea, also fall into this category. According to folk tales, during the Xianfeng era (1855) of the Qing Dynasty, Lin Fengchi, a juren (a successful candidate in the imperial examination), returned to Fujian to take the imperial examination. To thank his fellow villagers for their financial support, he brought back thirty-six Qingxin Oolong tea seedlings from Fujian to be planted by the villagers upon his return. Planted on the Dong Ding Mountain in Luguxiang, Nantou County (formerly known as Dong Ding Mountain), the Qingxin Oolong tea trees flourished and produced Oolong tea with a unique aroma. Because it was planted on Dong Ding Mountain and processed using Qingxin Oolong buds and leaves, it came to be called Dong Ding Oolong Tea.

Nantou County is located between 23°26' and 24°17' north latitude and between 120°36' and 121°20' east longitude, making it the central region of Taiwan. It is bordered by the Central Mountain Range to the east, adjacent to Hualien County. To the west, it is bordered by the Bagua Mountain Range, which connects with Changhua and Yunlin counties. To the south, it is bounded by the Qingshui River and counties such as Yushan, Chiayi, and Kaohsiung. To the north, it is connected to Taichung by the Zougou Mountain, Baxian Mountain, and Wuxi River. The county is traversed by three major mountain ranges: the Central Mountain Range, Yushan Mountain Range, and Alishan Mountain Range, with abundant mountains and few plains, earning it the nickname "Mountainous County." The average annual temperature is 23.7°C, with annual precipitation ranging from 2300 to 2600 millimeters and an average relative humidity of 80%. The soil mainly consists of red loam, yellow loam, and rocky soil, providing favorable conditions for tea cultivation. Tea gardens above 1000 meters in altitude are the most numerous in the island's high mountain tea regions. The tea gardens on the plateau of Zhangya Village (Dong Ding), located at an altitude of 700 meters, are in this county, and the tea produced was initially called Dong Ding Tea.

The Qingxin Oolong variety is the best for making Dong Ding Oolong Tea, while other varieties such as Taicha No. 12 (Jinxuan) and Taicha No. 13 (Cuiyu) also have good qualities. Qingxin Oolong belongs to the asexual lineage and is a shrub-type, small-leaf tea. Its leaves are elongated oval-shaped, dark green in color, with thick flesh and soft, elastic texture, making it an excellent raw material for processing rolled tea. During harvesting, manual picking is primarily used, and the two or three-leaf tea buds are usually harvested around the time of Grain Rain, with four to five harvests possible each year. Spring tea is rich and mellow, winter tea has a fragrant aroma, and the quality is excellent, followed by autumn tea. The processing of Dong Ding Oolong Tea involves solar withering, indoor withering and stirring (partial fermentation), frying, kneading, loosening, initial drying or initial roasting, shaping and rolling, and re-drying or re-roasting. Among these processes, indoor withering and stirring are critical for forming the quality. After moving the tea buds to the indoor withering area, at a temperature of 23-25°C, they are left to rest for 1-2 hours, during which the moisture content continues to dissipate, causing the leaves to shrink slightly and emit a fragrant scent. When the scent is noticeable, the first stirring begins, which is brief and gentle to avoid pooling of water. The stirring should be done 3-5 times throughout, gradually increasing the stirring time and resting time until the green taste disappears, and the fragrance becomes stronger, indicating the completion of this process. Timely and moderate frying is crucial; after the leaves are removed from the machine, they are kneaded and loosened, then subjected to initial drying to remove some moisture before being shaped into balls. The appearance should be semi-spherical, with a dark green color, bright golden-yellow water, a rich aroma, a mellow and sweet taste, and a lingering aftertaste, making it a unique Taiwanese tea that emphasizes both aroma and taste.


(Source: China Tea Book. Author: Guo Yaling)

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