Tung Ting Oolongs

A seminal tea of legend, Tung Ting ‘Cold Summit’, oolong, embodied the historical and contemporary relationship of Taiwan to China. In the mid 1700s, a learned scholar named Lin Feng Chi was vying for the civil exam in the mainland China. His villagers crowd funded his journey to take the exam in Beijing, and he successfully became Magistrate Lin. In return for their kindness, he brought back 12 small bushes to grow in his village. He also brought back processing methods and knowledge on how to make tea. To this day, on the peak of Cold Summit Mountain, there survived one of those original bushes. But now Tung Ting Oolong is the most well known of all varietals and oolong styles in Taiwan and beyond. It has adapted to the Formosa Island of fragrant flowers and sweet fruits, and has become the embodiment of Taiwan style oolong: lightly oxidized, vegetal, fresh, very aromatic, with a hint of spice and lots of complexity. The rolled style oolong has also become the world standard for oolong.

 

Speaking of which, Tung Ting is finding favor amongst the Mainland Chinese nowadays, and fake Tung Ting is grown in Fujian and elsewhere. Even if the root stock is Tung Ting, once removed from its indigenous environment, will no longer produce the same tea. In fact, in China it is spelled Dong Ding after its own Pinyin method. We respect the origin of this tea and continue to spell it Tung Ting for it’s Taiwanese origin. In the world of misinformation and appropriation, it is easy to sell an inexpensive oolong and call it Dong Ding or Tung Ting. Having the real progenies of those 12 original bushes though, is another matter! Our Tung Ting oolongs hail from the grandson’s family of the original patriarchs of Tung Ting Village, and are produced by one of very few female tea artisans in the country.
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