77

Golden Moon sample No. 23 of 31. Since I’m getting toward the end, and had an insatiable wave of curiosity come over me, I randomly drew the order of all of my last samples. This is the first. Here’s the order of the rest: Darjeeling, Tippy Earl Grey, Honey Pear, Rose, Kashmiri Chai (yay!), Imperial Formosa Oolong, Sencha and (drum roll please) Sinharaja.

The little gunpowder nodules look a lot like they did in the Moroccan Mint. I’m guessing they are the base for that tea. When I sniffed them without the influence of mint, I got a really interesting smell. At first, like Rabs I thought it was some form of rodent chow, or maybe lagomorph chow. That sort of grassy smell of those big blocks of compressed organic mystery material that pet rats chew on, or of the smaller pellets for rabbits. Second time, coming at it from having cleared my smeller by not being near anything with a strong smell for a few minutes I realized what it truly is. Millet seed. It’s the smell of the seeds I used to give to my pet finches. Or maybe it was the canary or parakeet. Can’t be sure now as that was a long time ago, but I definitely recognize the smell.

After steeping, I had an aromatic surprise. Up until now I haven’t been able to detect any smokiness at all in gunpowder. Mostly what I get instead is a sort of “dusky” or heavy green smell. With this, I did get a smoky aroma. Not smoky in the Russian or Lapsang sense, where you can really smell charred evergreen trees. More of a light whiff with a seed essence, as though you’d walked into a room where a sesame seed bagel had toasted too long after enough time had elapsed that the smell had almost fully dissippated. Along with that, there is the dusky green I remembered, which has a sweet aspect to it. The color is a deep, clear yellow.

The flavor isn’t as sweet and vegetal as other greens. It, too, has a dusky character with a sort of a nutty (or rather seedy) taste to it. I can find a tad of bitterness, but not enough to make it unpalatable.

I have very limited experience with gunpowder and may have to downgrade this eventually, but my experience hasn’t been nearly as unpleasant as reflected in the notes of a lot of other tasters. Or perhaps I’m just in a charitable mood. Really, though I didn’t dislike this at all, in fact, I liked it — my only hesitations are that I think it’s not something I’d choose to drink a lot, and that I don’t have a frame of reference to know how this compares to others of the same type of tea. So I’m giving it a default very good rating until I have grounds for comparison.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I should be getting my sampler set any day now and I do believe it will be fun comparing notes. Can’t wait. :-)

Rabs

I feel vindicated once again: hoorays! I’m very glad that you were able to move beyond the “hamster chow” aspects. I just couldn’t do it. And after reading your note I’m pretty sure that I messed up the steeping temp/time. The next time I purchase from GM I’ll buy a sample of this and try again. I doubt that I’ll love it, but I can at least with clear conscience move my rating up a bit. :)

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RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I should be getting my sampler set any day now and I do believe it will be fun comparing notes. Can’t wait. :-)

Rabs

I feel vindicated once again: hoorays! I’m very glad that you were able to move beyond the “hamster chow” aspects. I just couldn’t do it. And after reading your note I’m pretty sure that I messed up the steeping temp/time. The next time I purchase from GM I’ll buy a sample of this and try again. I doubt that I’ll love it, but I can at least with clear conscience move my rating up a bit. :)

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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