December 4, 2010

Ding Gu Da Fang

I always feel a little guilty about having all of these teas going un-drunk and wasting away in the tea cabinet. So, Ive been making an honest effort to consume a substantial quantity of these neglected teas before Christmas gets here and I get bombarded with more gifts of tea.

Ding Gu Da Fang is a China green tea that was once a tribute tea during the Qing Dynasty and at one time was included in the list of China's 10 famous teas. Legend has it that a Buddhist monk by the name of Da Fang invented this tea during the Song Dynasty. Ding Gu translates as Valley Peak. Grown in the An Hui province.

First thing many people say about this tea is that it reminiscent of a Long Jing, "Poppycock" it's only similarity as far as I can see is that the dry leaf kinda resembles Long Jing in that it's kinda flat, thin and a yellowish green in color. It has none of the toasty, yeasty flavors that I associate with a Long Jing. The leaf in the above picture looks pretty tattered (bottom of the caddie) but you can see in the top picture that the dry leaf is for the most part whole and beautiful.

Ding Gu Da Fang tastes of chestnuts, smooth and buttery, slightly sweet and vegetal with a medium body. It's not a dainty tea by any means.  Most of the descriptions Ive read about Ding Gu Da Fang tea always refers to it as being rather strong tasting, Ive never thought of it as strong. Ive also never had a Ding Gu Da Fang that was anything more than a really good everyday type of tea, just a rich and tasty cup that wouldn't hurt any ones budget. For my tastes this tea requires extra leaf to get fully saturated flavors, I typically use about 3&1/2 gms. per 6 oz. 185 degree water, with a 2-3 minute infusion time. Ive had a kilo of this tea in the cabinet since last spring and though I drink it almost daily Ive got a long ways to go before it's gone. For anyone interested in trying this tea "Uptons" has just re-stocked it (which is where I had bought this batch) and it's affordable too boot!

The only reason for the above picture is just because I like the cup, but it's not mine. I got it for a friend and it's on it's way to Canada. Oh well......we bonded a little, we laughed, we cried, but now it's time for you to go. The cups as well as the shiboridashi in this post were made by Petr Novak. The shiboridashi has some issues, the glaze is chipping off all around the edge of the lid. But I don't know why, it's never been treated roughly. Perhaps Petr can tell us why the glaze is crumbling?


  1. Hey dude just wondering where you bought this tea?

  2. Tom, I added that info to the post. You can find this tea at several online vendors but I wouldn't recommend going to too much trouble tracking it down. Assuming your in the U.S. it's available from Uptons.

  3. I don't know anything about this type of tea, and this post was interesting to read.

    There's something pleasingly irregular about the leaf in these pictures. This tea seems like it would have a lot of character. I think I'm going to seek this one out next time I get an opportunity.

  4. Alex,

    Ding Gu Da Fang is a good everyday type tea. Nothing real gourmet about it, just a decent, affordable cup.