Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Steepster Select
Our Guìyuán Roasted Dong Ding is a classic style produced using the traditional method of hand roasting over charcoal. Exposure to high heat gently changes the leaf sugar composition to a naturally sweet liquor.
Read other Steepster thoughts on this tea here.
The Steepster Select monthly tea tasting box is back and it’s better than ever! Here are some of the changes that have been implemented since the last tasting box: first, the boxes include not three but FIVE different teas. Second, these are truly “samples,” and as a taster, I like that. I get two (2) one-serving packets of each tea in my box. Like I said, I like this new feature, it’s just enough tea to allow me to taste it but not so much that I feel overwhelmed by the amount of tea in the box.
The first tea that I’m tasting from this month’s box is this Guìyuán Roasted Dong Ding Oolong from Steepster. This is an outstanding Dong Ding! From the moment I opened the sampler pouch, I could smell the roasty-toasty goodness of the Oolong. It smelled warm and nutty, and evoked thoughts of the smell of a log cabin in the woods with a roaring fire in the fireplace.
The flavor is sweet and smooth. I notice only a faint astringency with my first cup, which is a combination of the first two infusions following a 15 second rinse. The nutty tones are sweet and there is almost a creamy texture to this tea that allows the liquid to glide over the palate very smoothly. This creamy note is almost reminiscent of toasted coconut.
This first cup has a very silky taste and texture! As I progress to mid-cup, I start to pick up on faint vegetal tones, hints of flower, and insinuations of fruit, but, mostly what I’m tasting is sweet, toasty, nutty flavor with notes of cream, and maybe a hint or two of freshly roasted coffee.
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) offers more toasty and sweet notes. I can taste a charcoal-y sort of note along with the still present nutty flavors. The aforementioned notes of vegetation, flower and fruit are a little stronger now, but they are still distant flavors within the layers of complexity in this cup. The astringency becomes slightly more dry this time, but it is still not an overly astringent tea.
With my third cup (the fifth and sixth infusions), I began to pick up on more of the fruity notes of this tea, tasting a bit like what a bunch of purple grapes might taste like if it had been grilled over a bed of hot charcoal embers: the heat encourages the sweetness of the fruit to emerge while there are background notes of tart and touches of toasty, smoky notes.
I’m still tasting notes of charcoal and the nutty flavors, but the nutty flavors are a little less distinct now. The vegetal and floral tones are still rather distant. I notice more of a drying sensation with this cup as the finish leads into a mineral-y sort of taste.
With this third cup, I also notice the coffee notes I first tasted in the first cup. Here, they are beginning to define themselves, tasting a bit more like coffee, complete with that hint of coffee bitterness. I like how this bitterness contrasts with the sweetness of this cup.
If you’d like to try this tea and the others in this month’s Steepster Select box, I’m currently offering my second sample packages from this month’s box (one of each of the five teas sent in this month’s box) in a sampler at a discounted price. I only have one of these offers available! Check it out here.
Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn't drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn't cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!
Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn't cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!