Golden Moon sample No. 6 of 31 at random. I’d think it weird and that I seem to be channeling other Steeples today with this pick, but I’m saved from the weirdness because I actually fished it out of the basket two nights ago after the Coconut Pouchong. I just haven’ t had a chance to give it any attention until now.
Dry leaf mix is a nice range of colors across the tea color spectrum from very dark to silver flecks. Their scent is interesting. Vanilla, surely — it smells like cream soda vanilla to me. And jasmine, just as surely. And some darker notes: tree bark, and something that is almost musky.
I always have a dilemma as to how to steep mixed teas and I know I tend to like my greens steeped under two minutes and my black steeped around 3 minutes. It looked like most folks on Steepster who have had this went with longer steeps, so I chose closer to the black parameters.
To extend the cream soda metaphor, the liquor is pretty much the color of one of those old timely, hearty cream sodas — not the wimpy yellowish ones, the tan/amber ones. The aroma is lovely. The jasmine smells very fresh, and the vanilla smells more seasoned, and they come together in a nice, balanced way.
Unfortunately, I’m not feeling the love in the taste. Maybe I should have steeped longer? Or shorter? I taste some flowers, but not much vanilla. And there is an unexpected harshness to the blend. Something about it is making it stick in the back of my throat rather uncomfortably. It isn’t making me gag, it’s just a noticeable, continuing sensation, almost like an afterburn, though I didn’t drink the tea when it was overly hot. I would call it astringency except that it isn’t affecting anywhere else in my mouth, and astringency for me is usually an all over sensation. As the tea cools, I am able to taste more of the flavor of the green tea, the black tea, and the vanilla, all of which are tasty enough but the strange mouth sensation continues even with cooler tea. After the sensation, whatever it is, dissipates, the aftertaste is sweet and flowery, with an interesting, almost tobacco note.
The jasmine and the aftertaste are enough to make me willing to give this tea another chance, but it would have some work to do to change my mind. Mostly it would have to lose the climbing-up-the-uvula thing it’s doing in the back of my throat.