Exploring the Characteristics of Dong Ding Oolong Tea from Taiwan

Dong Ding, also known as Tung Ting, is a renowned oolong tea originating from Taiwan. This tea, which means “Frozen Summit” or “Icy Peak” in English, is grown on Dong Ding Mountain in Taiwan’s Nantou County. In this article, we will explore the history, characteristics, and brewing methods of this tea.

History of Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Dong Ding tea was first cultivated in Taiwan over 150 years ago when tea plants were brought from China’s Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province. The mountainous region of Lugu in Nantou County was an ideal area for growing tea, and the tea quickly became popular in Taiwan.

Today, the Qingxin cultivar is commonly used to make Dong Ding. Qingxin is also the most popular cultivar for high-mountain tea in Taiwan. Dong Ding is considered an appellation, indicating that the tea is produced only on Dong Ding Mountain. However, the popularity of this tea led to its production in other parts of Taiwan, so it is essential to read the packaging labels to determine the tea’s origin.

The Characteristics of Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Dong Ding oolong tea is typically composed of 3-4 leaves, sometimes including a bud, picked by hand or machine. After picking, the tea undergoes a withering process, which can be outdoors, indoors, or a combination of both. The leaves are then bruised on bamboo baskets to initiate oxidation, which can range from 15% to 30%. The final roasting of the tea is done over charcoal, which gives the tea a toasty, woody flavor.

Dong Ding oolong tea has a traditional ball-shape like other Taiwanese oolongs. The steeped leaves will have a green center and reddish-brown edges. The tea’s liquor is a bright golden hue, which is aesthetically pleasing.

The taste of Dong Ding oolong tea is characterized by its light to medium oxidation, which imparts a nutty flavor and smooth caramel-like taste. The medium body of the tea is complemented by a pleasant roasty finish, making it a suitable tea for all seasons.

Brewing Dong Ding Oolong Tea

To brew Dong Ding oolong tea, use water heated to 185°F and steep for 3-4 minutes. For best results, use a gaiwan or a clay teapot to prepare the tea.


Dong Ding oolong tea is a classic Taiwanese tea that has retained its popularity for over a century. This tea’s unique characteristics, including its cultivation on Dong Ding Mountain and its toasty, woody flavor, make it a must-try for tea enthusiasts worldwide. When brewed correctly, Dong Ding oolong tea provides a smooth and enjoyable tea experience.

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