What Oolong Are You Drinking

Semi-oxidized tea
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Bok
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Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:56 pm

Rare treat from a friend: this years Dongding competition winner :shock:

Surprisingly it is quite heavily roasted, yet not to an extent that it has killed off the underlying flavours and layers of complexity. Clean tasting and with some stamina. Overall it is a more elegant and refined version of the most typical DD flavour profile that one normally finds. As such it is a very nice tea, yet not the most interesting as it is so mainstream in its characteristics, just in a luxury version. Still got a good amount left to further play with it, to see if my initial impression holds up.

At a retail of 20 000 NT(about 6600USD and normally does not reach the open market) for 600g, I wouldn't buy it, as it is not many 1000s of dollars better than even the best Dongding I could afford so far. It's just not in relation. Good to know that the best DD money can buy is not necessarily the best DD. Still a far stretch though from most DDs, even the better ones.

Makes me also wonder how some teas advertised as DD competition winners (not 1st prize) can be sold as cheap as they are, comparatively? I do wonder...
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Bok
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Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:59 pm

This mainstream kind of samey flavour profile of Dongding competition winners I have noticed several times so far(not all 1st prize but also runner-ups) and is a problem discussed by many in Taiwan. The catering of the tea makers to the palate of the judges. As such making it a rather one dimensional and predictable affair...
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Tor
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:16 am

Bok wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:59 pm
This mainstream kind of samey flavour profile of Dongding competition winners I have noticed several times so far(not all 1st prize but also runner-ups) and is a problem discussed by many in Taiwan. The catering of the tea makers to the palate of the judges. As such making it a rather one dimensional and predictable affair...
I look at it differently. The judges have to score the teas objectively, following the rules they’ve agreed upon. So naturally the characters of the high score ones will converge to something that they consider ‘good tea’. On the contrary, if they score the teas according to their palate, the result would be all over the place.

Just wondering, if the tea has some jasmin note, should we consider it a plus or a defect?

Just a novice’s two cents. :P
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Bok
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:43 am

@Tor generally speaking yes.

In this particular case it is widely known that the taste of Dongding changed to please those judges palate, they’re the same since some time.

I’ve had DD competition winners from way before their time in the 90s and it’s a totally different tea. I’ve equally had a lot of premium Dongding recently which is objectively magnificent and totally different to the mainstream. The maker of one of those I talked to not long ago, doesn’t even bother to participate (his teas are already excruciatingly expensive) as many see the current system as rigged.
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Bok
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:44 am

Jasmin in a Dongding I would find rather bizarre... did you ever encounter that?
faj
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:02 am

Bok wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:59 pm
As such making it a rather one dimensional and predictable affair...
On the one hand, competition requires scoring. When scoring, you will often have judges use "objective" evaluation criteria that will tend to move the results away from scoring purely based on enjoyment, but in addition to that you have an aggregation of scores which will cause teas that are well appreciated by most judges to rise above those that are appreciated to a supreme degree by fewer ones, including outliers that one (but not everyone) will either love or hate.

On the other hand, in terms of marketing (because these competitions surely have as a goal to increase the visibility of the chosen type of tea both locally and internationally), there is an incentive to having winners that are good but also similar to the overall offer to the market. This provides indirect value to the non-winners, because if consumers rely somewhat on judges to tell what good Dong Ding is, and judges choose winners that are representative of what is produced the most, then that tends to increase consumer fidelity to the current producers and methods.

I really know next to nothing about this competition or Dong Ding tea. But logically speaking, it would make sense to me that competitions centered on a specific type of tea would often yield winners that are representative of the mainstream understanding of what that type of tea is about.
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Tor
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:31 am

Bok wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:44 am
Jasmin in a Dongding I would find rather bizarre... did you ever encounter that?
No, I haven’t. I just raised it up as an example to show that competitions can be designed to serve different purposes. It can either endorse some set standards, or promote creativity and diversification.

Anyway, competitions are just that. I don’t think anybody really think that Miss Universe is the most beautiful woman in the world (or universe). :lol:
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Bok
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:36 am

@Tor very true! I for one am happy my taste is different to the judges, otherwise those teas become too expensive for me :)
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