The dry leaves are multicolored and gently twisted into strips; this is the traditional style for Dong Fang Mei Ren tea. Unique to high quality Dong Fang Mei Ren tea, the dry leaf has five colors– black, brown, red, green, and white buds. The lighter colors are very beautiful against the darker brown and black found in this tea. The dry leaves smell of floral honey, with a hint of baker’s spice and zesty calamansi.
When steeped, this tea brews up a rich, bright gold that is not unlike the color of honey in sunlight. The first round of brewing is highly aromatic – the aroma is reminiscent of lychee, honey, and old arbor osmanthus blossoms. The flavor of this tea is very mellow, but rich. The dominant flavors are honey and dried lychee, but strong notes of calamansi, cinnamon, and Osmanthus are also present.
The second round of brewing sees a significant change in the color of the tea liquor. The liquor now has a wonderful red tint that is reminiscent of amber. The flavor is sweet, floral, and fruity like the previous round, but a subtle note of hinoki is now present. Towards the finish, the dried lychee flavor starts to increase. This tea enjoys a long aftertaste that tastes of honey sweetened calamansi juice and lychee. The sweetness builds in intensity as the aftertaste persists.
The third round of brewing produces an even darker, richer, amber colored liquor. The aroma this round is dominated by citrus, honey, and Osmanthus, but a distinct note of Pedro Ximénez grape has crept in. The flavor of PX grapes combining with the dried lychee and Osmanthus notes would almost be cloyingly sweet, if not for the balance provided by hinoki, cinnamon, and calamansi. This push and pull of flavors is one of the reasons Dong Fang Mei Ren such an enjoyable tea to drink.