In June, I purchased Mountain Stream Teas’ subscription service for one month to see what it was all about. I’ve seen a lot of happy people on Instagram after they receive their monthly box and I wanted to experience this myself. In the box, there are four different teas. The main theme of this box is to show the freshness and beauty of Spring. The tea I will focus on today is the Old Master Dong Ding.
Do you want to know more about Dong Ding oolong teas in general? I wrote an article about what Dong Ding actually means. You can read it over here.
Old Master Dong Ding
This is an oolong tea from Dong Ding (hence its name) in Nantou County, Taiwan. It’s a very fresh tea as it was handpicked in April 2019 and roasted on the 25th of the same month. Mountain Stream Teas wanted to expand their ‘Old Master’ series and this is the tea they chose. It’s a tea that closely resembles the traditional Dong Ding style. The oxidation is around 50% and it has undergone a middle roast. The ‘old’ in the name is something you can take literally because the producer of this tea is 81 years old.
The dry leaves have a dark green and uniform colour and the size of the semi-ball shaped leaves is massive! It’s mainly a warm smell of roasted honey in combination with a fruity sweetness. Very subtle buttery notes as well.
In general, the smell is sharper and edgier once the leaves are wet and I’m getting some sweet fruits. The size of the unfurled leaves is truly massive! I can see some stalks here and there and the colour is still a uniform green.
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- Water 99°C
- 6g of tea for a 135ml Zini teapot
- 1 rinse
- 6 infusions
1st infusion (15 sec): this infusion has a light yellow colour. I’m getting subtle notes of honey at the start, which go on long into the aftertaste. It’s a sweet and roasted kind of honey. In general, this is a pleasant and soft infusion.
2nd infusion (20 sec): the colour is a darker yellow and when I look into the teapot, I can see the leaves have opened. Now I’m getting some roasted notes in the smell as well. Deep and warm honey at the start and this changes into a fruity sweetness. Again, nothing too intense.
3rd infusion (25 sec): the liquor seems really thick now. More intense roasted butter at the start and it changes into a light caramel flavour. It’s not an artificial kind of caramel but the good kind. This continues far into the aftertaste.
4th infusion (30 sec): it’s a clear yellow liquor. I’m getting notes of roasted caramel that go on into the finish and aftertaste. Nothing too intense, just pleasant and subtle. Quite a difference with the previous steep as that one was more intense.
5th infusion (35 sec): very dark and clear yellow liquor. The smell is still fantastic: notes of warm and roasted honey. No more caramel as it’s more focused on honey now. The finish is really sweet!
6th infusion (40 sec): more roasted notes again at the start. No honey or caramel this infusion but I’m getting a soft and enjoyable sweetness.
This Old Master Dong Ding was really enjoyable from the start all the way to the end. The flavours were just right and it seemed that I got something else each infusion. The combination of the different flavours was amazing! Subtle notes of roasted caramel, honey and some fruity sweetness here and there make this the perfect tea to relax with. I’m not a big fan of caramel in tea but the one I experienced here was not the artificial kind. It was subtle but prominent enough. This is how it should be!