2003 Dong Ding....is it still good?

Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

2003 Dong Ding....is it still good?

Postby tacobell » Nov 28th, '08, 21:11

A friend just gave me a vacuum packed half kilo of Dong Ding. Upon opening it, the aroma did not jump out at me and find it a little disappointing brewed. My oolong of choice is Ti Kwan Yie.

So, how long can tea stay in a vacuum packed foil package? Is five years pushing it?

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Postby Salsero » Nov 28th, '08, 21:56

I have some that I am leaving in a vacuum pack in order to see if it will age over the years into something nice, but very different from a fresh Dong Ding.

The wonderful fresh oolong smell you wanted probably doesn't last more than six months even in vacuum pack. It may still brew an interesting and worthwhile tea, but not the same thing as ultra fresh.

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Postby tenuki » Nov 28th, '08, 22:31

Just roast it.

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Postby tacobell » Nov 29th, '08, 02:20

tenuki wrote:Just roast it.

How does one do that?

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Postby ABx » Nov 29th, '08, 03:04

I think that it would last more than 6 months in a vacuum pack - I tend to get more than 6 months in a regular tin, even being opened periodically.

I would say that it depends more on how green it is. If it's completely green then it will probably be diminished at this point but I would still think it *somewhat* enjoyable - I've had green oolongs a couple years old that were still plenty nice from being vacuum packed.

The "traditional roast" isn't going to be as fragrant, and I've recently found that it can sometimes take a lot of heat to really unlock the best qualities. Until I found this I thought of these as very lackluster and boring - a simple "honey" taste without much dimension and little aroma. The very high heat brewing, however, brought out a nice woody/fruity complexity with light notes of berry and spice. It's a little hard to describe. These aren't as easy to find these days because it's a fair amount of work that's probably not worth it when it's the very green ones that are most popular.

A heavy roast isn't going to be fragrant but shouldn't be degraded much at all. These can also take quite a bit of heat to get the most out of, but should still have plenty of flavor anyway. These are even less common, probably because it's neither popular nor traditional, but that's just a guess.

Of course it's also possible that you just got crappy tea :) My bet would be on the second, though. Try brewing it as hot as you can get it. Use yixing if you can, otherwise the thickest walled brewing vessel you have. It would really be best to brew it gongfu style - so the hydrated leaf fills the vessel. Pre-heat it more than once, so that it's pre-heated as hot as it will get and minimize the time that it has to cool off (meaning get the leaf and water in fairly quickly, rather than letting it sit empty while you do other things).

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Postby wyardley » Nov 29th, '08, 04:21

It's probably just in an awkward stage. Put it in a well sealed canister with not much air (but not vacuum sealed), and forget about it for another 5-7 years.

If it doesn't taste good then, you can always throw it away.

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