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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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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and 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’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to 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. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

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

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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