Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Naivetea
1st Place 2011 North American Tea Championship Aged/Baked Oolong
Layered flavor, notes of toasted rice and caramel, lingering refined sweetness.
Mouth Feel: Soft with medium and smooth body
Aroma: Subtle, roasted aroma with hints of cane sugar
Ingredients: Ching Shin Oolong
Oxidation/Fermentation: Medium, 30%
Origin: Dong Ding, Central Taiwan
Elevation: 700 meters/2,296 feet
For the month of October, the Steepster Select theme was “Oolong October.” Needless to say I’m overjoyed about the theme, as Oolong is one of my favorite types of tea. (And no, we didn’t skip a month. The first month was August, received in August. The guys at Steepster decided to change it up a little after that first shipment, so now the teas we received in September are October teas… and the teas we receive in October will be November teas… and so on).
Anyway, this is the first tea that I tried from our three Oolong selections in the October collection. I was thrilled because I love Naivetea’s Oolongs – they have a wonderful selection and their flavored Oolongs are amazing. I haven’t yet tried their Dong Ding, so I was definitely excited by this opportunity to taste it.
The first thing I notice is the aroma of the dry leaf. It reminds me of the smell of autumn … specifically, the smell of the woods in autumn, when earth and wood is damp and the leaves are drying and there is a distinct note of smoke in the air from a nearby cabin’s chimney. The fragrance of the brewed tea is a different, but still quite enjoyable: warm and roasty-toasty, with hints of earth and vegetation.
Mmm! This is an absolutely perfect tea choice for autumn! It is sweet and toasty, with an caramelized flavor that teases the palate. It has a somewhat vegetative taste, but it is more like a roasted vegetable flavor: you know that sweet, slightly charred taste of vegetables that have been roasted at a high heat? You can still taste the vegetable there, but, much of the natural sugars in the vegetables have been caramelized. A sweet yet savory taste. Yeah… that’s pretty much like what I’m tasting now.
Unlike some of the greener Oolongs, this has a thinner texture. It isn’t a buttery or thick mouthfeel, it is soft and light, which allows me to experience the complex layers of this Oolong. So happy to have had the opportunity to try this Oolong – it’s outstanding!