Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Steepster Select
A gorgeous Wuyi Oolong with a deep rich liquor, big aroma, and a complex flavor that lasts steep after steep.
Read other Steepster thoughts on this tea here.
Hooray! This month’s Steepster Select box has arrived! Five more amazing teas to sample is always something that will bring a smile to my face.
The aroma of the dry leaf of this Da Hong Pao Red Robe #55 Oolong Tea from Steepster reminds me of the smell of early evening air in autumn here in the Pacific Northwest. You step outside and you can smell the smoke rising out of the chimneys, and it smells rustic: like smoke and wood and the crisp, cool, clean air. I love the smell! It’s not overly smoky which I often find off-putting; it’s a gentle smoke scent.
After a quick 15-second re-awakening of the leaves, I steeped my first two infusions of the leaves and combined them into one cup. One of the other members of Steepster mentioned that this has a burnt hazelnut caramel sort of flavor, and I’d agree with that. There is a deep, nutty flavor to this that I find compelling, and a delightfully sweet caramel-y undertone (think dark, rich caramel!) that is keeping me sipping.
Pleasant smoky notes are in the foreground but they aren’t overpowering. A woody mid-note that plays to that rustic sort of feeling that I usually experience with a Big Red Robe Oolong. A deliciously complex cup. One thing that I’m noticing with this particular Da Hong Pao is that the finish is cleaner. It has an astringency to it that cleanses the palate, so I feel less of a heavy aftertaste. I don’t taste a “coating” of smoke that I sometimes experience from this type of Oolong. Nice!
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) brought out new flavors to explore. I still enjoyed notes of smoke and wood, however, these tones were softer than they were in the first cup. Now, I’m noticing a sweet-tart fruit-like note in the distance. It isn’t a clear or distinct flavor, but, it’s back there, waiting for me. It is as if it beckons me to brew the third cup to taste more. The nutty tones were a little clearer this time, but there is a little less of a heavy caramelized flavor. Still sweet … but more like a honeyed sweetness rather than caramel.
The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) was incredibly smooth. Similar to the first two cups – I could still taste notes of smoke and wood, and the honeyed note became more distinct while the caramel notes diminished slightly. The fruit note emerged a little this time … tasting a bit like a cross between a nectarine and a plum. Notes of tart, but mostly it’s sweet.
A really enjoyable tea. One of the nicest Red Robe teas I’ve tried.
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!
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