I received a freebie of Lugu Competition Dong Ding with my order, so thank you Totem Tea :)

Gone gaiwan. 2.5g, 60mL, 200-190F, didn’t keep track of steeps.

The scent of the dry leaf was one note — roasted peanut butter. Warming and rinsing the leaf brought out notes of roasted peanut, brown sugar, something marine, wood and violet pastilles. The first several steeps were incredibly light and smooth, so much that I couldn’t pick out any distinct notes beyond basic descriptors like bitter, tart, floral and vegetal. Very little aroma. I did get some bottom of the cup scents of violet, hyacinth and brown sugar. The light bitterness grew ever so slightly and the vegetal taste revealed itself as banana leaf. Some roasted walnut also popped in. Around the sixth steep at 30s, astringency and a metallic tone came in. The tea continued to ride out its light demeanor until the end.

This is the most expensive oolong of Totem Tea’s current offerings. I have to say I’m grateful this was a freebie because the price is out of my range and it turns out I didn’t enjoy this tea too much. At this point, I consider myself a sufficient taster but I just couldn’t pull anything significant from this tea even with lowering the temperature. I would’ve gone higher but was thinking that might increase the bitterness and astringency. It reminds me of how LuckyMe feels about some other comapnies’ Imperial Grade offerings. Totem Tea described the Lugu Competition Dong Ding as having notes of open flowers, caramel, spiced plum and clove but the closest I came was an undefined floral note. Maybe somebody with a really refined palate can get more pleasure from this tea than I was able to.

They have some killer incense, though!! I purchased the sampler of all 12 varieties they sell (except I only received 11?). My favorites are Kalimantan Aloeswood (China), Young Sandalwood (Taiwan), Golden Gaze and Golden Walks (Mongolia), Sinking Night (Japan), Offering (Taiwan), and Frankincense (Taiwan).

2 OZ / 60 ML

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Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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