Friday, June 29, 2012

Fong Mong Tea, Charcoal-baked Dong Ding Tea

Fong Mong Tea Shop is a Taiwan based distributor that sells on Ebay with a 100% rating! Their offerings are often a bit higher priced than what is normally reviewed on the Everyday Tea Blog. This one is $30.99/150g (about 5 1/2 ounces).  Using 3g of leaf per steep that works out to about $0.62/mug. If you steep the same leaf three times the price is about $0.20/mug.

This tasting was from a sample provided by Fong Mong. It arrived in a heavy duty vacuum sealed packaging with an air absorber inside. I used half the six gram sample for my tasting. The leaf is rolled tight but not as tiny as the blue jade. It has a light smoked aroma. I got a little mixed up on my temperature as I was trying to decide between two different teas this morning. I used boiling water. I held the first steep to 3 minutes. Fong Mong recommends 85-90C water and a 6 minute steep. The leaf began to unfurl and rise in the water. The liquid is clear and dark yellow. The wet leaf is dark green and smells ominously charcoal smoked.

Fong Mong asked me if I liked dark oolongs before they sent this. I told them sure (I didn’t really know). Right now I am hoping it was not a mistake. I do love Yamamotoyama  and Foo Joy Wuyi oolongs in bag form so I am not really too concerned.

The sip – interesting! Not nearly as roasted as it smells. It actually impressed me as more green than smoked. The taste has almost a honey like quality about it. The aftertaste has a neat cooling thing going on like mint or menthol but it is not in the taste. It is just a sensation. As the cup cools the sip becomes to a bit creamy.

On cup two, also at 3 minutes, the leaf has relaxed enough to reveal some stems. I did some research and it appears this is normal for this type tea.  The stems do not prevent the leaf from rising up and doing a happy dance in my press. What I find amazing is that they were able to roll 2” long stems into those tiny little pellets. Boiling water and shorter steeps seems to work fine with this tea. Similar to the first cup except I am noticing the oolong floral notes coming through especially in the aftertaste.

The third cup @ 4 minutes is milder as the flavor is fading. The cooling sensation is actually more noticeable at this point. This cup is still very good but I am calling it quits here.

There is some resemblance between this and the bagged Wuyi oolongs I have enjoyed in the past. Of course they are darker oolongs, where as this is more green. Really, they are only a shadow of what is going on in this tea. It is as if you took the flavor knife and lopped off the ends, then cut what was left in half and discarded the bright happy side of the flavor. I say that, all the while admitting I like those bagged teas. Now that I know what I am missing, I am not as likely to rush into restocking them. I have no idea if this is a good quality example of this type tea. What I do know is I think it is really good.

It brings up a question in my mind. Why do I like the roasted/smoked taste in greens and oolongs but not so much in black teas? I have no answer other than preconceived ideas of how I expect a tea to taste.

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