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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
64 tasting notes

Holy ambrosia! I now understand how Jason felt after prying the legendary golden fleece from the clutches of King Aeetes. This tea just makes you feel powerful, like you’re caressing some coveted treasure of the gods, attempting to hide it from their jealous eyes. Remind me again why I waited this long to order some of this tea?

While not the most complex tea flavor-wise, it is a magnificent textural tea. Please don’t get me wrong, this tea’s flavor is supremely balanced, and oh-so delicious—a tea with top-notch character. But really where this tea shines is in the mouthfeel. I will reiterate what most others have already claimed: it is silky smooooth. However, it’s not static from what I’ve tasted in my sessions with this tea. I wrote twice as many notes on textural fluctuations than flavors throughout steeps. I’ll outline my notes:

Steep 1-2: airily light, silky, melts away as swallowed
Steep 3: becomes heavier and thicker, like velvet
Steep 4: becomes lighter, but more creamy and soft
Steep 5-6: light and silky again
Steep 7: same as last steep, but with a sparkling texture that tingles the back of the throat
Steep 8: back to creamy
Steep 9: back to silky

As for the flavor details, this dian hong tastes like candy. Especially during the first steeps where the liquor is smooth and melty, I can’t get those Werther’s Original caramel hard candies out of my mind when I’m sipping. These combined with raw cane sugar, a hint of cloves, and malt make up an amazingly well-balanced body in the first few steeps. Going on into the third and fourth steep, the heaviness of the liquor compliments darker cocoa and mocha flavors as spices gently increase and a honeyed sweetness meets them midway. These notes are very well complimented by strong, wafting aromas of chocolate and toffee from the wet leaves and liquor, respectively. Continuing on, caramel flavors increase, accompanied by a new tapioca-like taste, while the intense sugary tastes subside for a steep or two.

At this point, an aftertaste has been well-established, as hints of licorice and toffee play in the back of the throat. Onto the seventh steep! The liquor’s aroma becomes quite strong now, whereas it had been lighter and less pronounced in the beginning. Playing on the sparkling texture, the flavor develops a syrupy sweetness that meshes with increasing malt and tapioca flavors. Steep eight is really where this tea came out for me. It was nicely thick and creamy, developing some complexities of an earthy or mossy quality and some faint astringency, which added nice depth to the taste established by the previous steep. From this point on, this tea mostly reverted back to the flavor profile of the beginning, creating a nice and even bell curve of flavors, if you will.

Other miscellaneous notes:
- The evolution of flavor after a sip is really quite fantastic. It starts off full of flavor, but it keeps gradually expanding, becoming full-bodied before slowly fading away into an aftertaste. I think this has one of the most lingering flavors of any tea I’ve had recently.

- The leaves are really quite amazing. Beautiful colors and sheen when dry, with an interesting springiness to them and a soft texture. When wet, the quality is even more apparent. These are probably the most consistent appearing leaves I’ve seen; every single one is exactly what it should be, nothing extraneous. Oh! And they smell heavenly. Honey, vanilla, a light dusting of spice, dried fruits, and caramel. There was something else that I couldn’t put my finger on, but after just reading the other reviews, I must agree there is an uncanny sweet potato aroma to them.

- After most steeps, a delicate layer of tea oils is visible.

Sorry for the length! Thanks for sticking through the whole thing!

Preparation
Boiling
Spoonvonstup

Great review! I love all of your texture notes- with you 100% on all of it.
I wonder if Helles fell off the Golden Ram because she was just overcome at how the fleece felt beneath her hands? In the face of it, perhaps the only sensible reaction was to fall to the Hellespont and become a sea goddess..

Azzrian

Amazing review!

Cody

=D Thanks so much to both of you! And that’s a pretty reasonable hypothesis Spoonvonstup. ;)

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Comments

Spoonvonstup

Great review! I love all of your texture notes- with you 100% on all of it.
I wonder if Helles fell off the Golden Ram because she was just overcome at how the fleece felt beneath her hands? In the face of it, perhaps the only sensible reaction was to fall to the Hellespont and become a sea goddess..

Azzrian

Amazing review!

Cody

=D Thanks so much to both of you! And that’s a pretty reasonable hypothesis Spoonvonstup. ;)

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Bio

I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Teaware
Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.

Location

Fort Myers, Florida

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