29 Tasting Notes
I generally prefer lighter less astringent teas, but this one is interesting enough and complex enough that I’m definitely glad I tried it.
Reading the reviews from my fellow Steepster members teabird, Lee, and Jace Lion Repshire really added to my enjoyment of this tea.
In addition to the wonderful honey flavors that are abundant and obvious in this gorgeous red tea, I also enjoyed the complex dried apricot, malt, tamarind, and dark wheat bread flavors.
BrewTEAlly Sweet’s description of the cinnamon flavors helped to identify those bitter flavors that other reviews did not detect, as well as the mint tea mouthfeel.
I probably won’t seek this tea out again, but I certainly am happy to have experienced it.
Oh wow. I don’t even know where to begin.
This is my favorite tea so far from Steepster Select.
The delicate smell and taste of sweet perfume and fruit are out of this world.
The leaves unfurl beautifully.
I’m looking at enchanting lush photos of Shan Lin Xi (http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=shan%20lin%20xi) and imagining the journey these leaves have taken to get to my tea-pot.
VISUAL: The dry tea leaves are gorgeous! Golden and green and feathered like dried flower petals. The tea itself brews to a beautiful rich dark caramel color. Surprising considering how light golden and green the dried tea is.
SMELL: I was surprised by this one, the first whiff smells very similar to an Assam tea like Irish Breakfast, although with more subtletea. Smelling more carefully reveals more floral and sweeter notes of a Chinese black tea.
TASTE: Oh wow YUM. It’s more delicate than teas from India, and like BrewTEAlly Sweet mentioned, not at all brisk. Others have already described this one perfectly, tobacco leaf and rich sweetness. Very smooth and creamy mouth feel.
PREPARATION: 16 oz of water, just off a boil, steeped for 2 minutes (stopped short of the recommended time because it tasted pretty perfect already). I don’t generally add any sugar to my fine teas but tried it on the recommendation of my fellow steepsters Michael Cutillo and Julie Stiles. A pinch of sugar did bring out the flavor nicely. Thanks! (For my second steeping I left the sugar out, call me a purist).
I’m thrilled to be among the pilot members of the new Steepster Select program. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue subscribing, as it’s well over my monthly tea budget, but for the moment I’m enjoying indulging. My first shipment arrived yesterday.
The Guiyuán Roasted Dong Ding is the first tea I’m trying from the Steepster Select shipment. I chose it because I’ve never heard of this varietal of oolong and it sounded like what I wanted this morning.
I brewed 16oz following the directions and got a strong cup of tea, on the verge of being bitter, but not. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably try slightly cooler water.
This tea is is true to the description, sweet and smokey. I do detect the coffee, brown sugar, concord grape, and roasted coconut aromatics as described on the pouch.
The mouthfeel is rich and wonderfully creamy, although by the end of the first cup the tannins gave me that pithy feeling on my tongue like you get eating an unripe apple.
A second brewing at 185º came out even better than the first. Some of the more subtle oolong flavors from the first brewing are able to shine. It’s also a little softer on the tongue, less rich, and with less tannins.
Overall I found this tea satisfied my desire for umami as well as my desire for a rich oolong tea.
I was about to say I couldn’t be more pleased, but it appears this Steepster sourced original is sold out! Shucks, I guess I’ll just have to surf Steepster for another Dong Ding. Any suggestions?
At my local organic grocery store, with practically an entire aisle of teas to choose from, this is my favorite cheap bagged green tea.
I’m a fan of the Newman’s Own brand. I’ve found their products are generally high quality, and I like them for being green and donating 100% of their profits to various educational and charitable organizations.
When I don’t have time to hassle with loose leaf brewing, this is a fine choice for green tea.
It is especially forgiving of accidental over-steeping or using water that is too hot.
The flavor is fairly mild (double-bag for stronger results), with flavors of honey and malt in addition to the classic green-tea flavor. This isn’t world class green tea, but it is totally drinkable, affordably priced, and nicely satisfies my green-tea cravings.
If only this tea tasted as good as it smells in the tin!!
I first discovered Harney & Son’s Green Tea several years ago. I thought it was one of my all time favorite teas. I went through 5 tins, sharing enthusiastically with friends and loved ones, before I realized…I don’t actually love this tea.
When you first open the pretty pink tin, it smells divine, like exotic flowers, fresh vanilla beans, and tropical fruit and coconut.
Unfortunately, no matter what volume or temperature of water I use, or the steeping time allowed, it never tastes half as good as it smells. At best, I end up with a cup of fairly bland green tea with flavors of grass from the lemongrass. I imagine I can barely taste the coconut, vanilla, and ginger, but I think I might be fooling myself.
A second or third brewing often brings out the subtlety and flavor of high quality green tea, but with this one it comes out even more bland after a second steeping.
My primary complaint is that the tea just doesn’t taste as good as it smells. The other problem is that it’s not cheap. Unfortunately, the only way to purchase this tea is in a fancy pink tin with 20 little silk sachets inside. If H&SFT would sell this tea as loose leaf, I would still likely buy it, just because this tea smells so amazing.
Unfortunately, the amount of tea you get for the price, combined with the flavor not meeting the expectations created by the scent, made me realize that I don’t love this tea as much I as I thought I did.
Our host at the Vital Tea Leaf tasting room in San Francisco China Town loves giving this tea to visitors because it’s so unique. I consider myself to be a tea connoisseur, and I’d never tasted anything like this.
His brother calls it “party in your mouth tea” because the flavor changes dramatically with each sip. It starts out with a nice Oohlong flavor, but the aftertaste is wonderfully sweet from the licorice root. Additional sips will continue to change in taste.
This is one of my favorite teas to help me focus through my work day. I also love sharing it with friends because it’s so unique.