1120 Tasting Notes
Golden Moon sample No. 16 of 31. Selected randomly. I was sort of hoping for the Kashmiri Chai, but this was what came out.
I have some, but not a lot, of experience with jasmine tea. Most of my experience is with teas that don’t claim to be exemplars of the genre. So I was really pleased with how the dry leaves smelled when I opened up the sample packet. The jasmine provides a rich and very fresh floral scent. There is a lot of jasmine growing in my neighborhood and on cool spring evenings, it smells wonderful. This strikes me as very similar in fragrance. The tea smells quite nice too. Quietly herbaceous and a little earthy. It is darker than I’d thought it would be, not very green in color — more toward the browner side.
The tea is a dusky, light yellow, and it smells lovely. It’s pretty much only jasmine I’m smelling. Warmed and diffused by the water, the aroma smells even fresher than it did before.
Though I know it isn’t the best descriptor, the adjective that comes to mind upon tasting this is “pretty.” The tea is not distracting, nor is it absent. I am going to try steeping at 2 minutes and see if it becomes more present. It has a sweet, floral flavor, with a very slight vegetal note.
It seems to me a solid jasmine tea in my limited experience, but I had hoped for more green tea flavor to show through.
I looked back at how I rated the Numi jasmine which I think is the only other non-flavored jasmine I’ve rated, and which isn’t as nice at this. I gave it a 71, which is pretty high on my scale. Rather than bump this one up significantly higher, I’m choosing to bump the Numi down a bit. The Golden Moon is tastier and tastes higher quality to me, but as I’m fairly new to jasmine green tea, I am not yet sure it is the best example of its kind. So I’m making it the de facto standard “very good” for now, to be revisited as my experience grows.
This is the last of my free Herbal Infusions samples. And it poses something of a dilemma because if I’m reading the description correctly, it could be either a black tea or an oolong depending on what they send you? Or is it a mix of black tea and oolong? No idea.
I honestly can’t tell by looking at it either. A good bit of the volume of the sample is fruit chunks, and of the leaves I see, some could be stevia. I haven’t seen a stevia leaf except in the picture I just googled, so I am not sure. The leaves that look like tea are a medium brown and could be either black or a v. oxidized oolong. I’m going to use boiling water just because I’m feeling lazy today.
The mixture smells fruity, mostly a nonspecific non-citrus fruit scent. Apple and apricot primarily. There is some spiciness as well, which I have found in a number of samples from Herbal Infusions and which leads me to believe it is more likely this is primarily a black tea base, since that’s mostly what my samples were.
After steeping, there is a very fruity aroma. Mostly apple, maybe some pineapple. The taste is sweet and fruity, with a dominant apple flavor. The tea base is what keeps this from tasting like a very lightly flavored fruit punch.
It’s fun to drink something with this name, and it’s flavorful, but I tried it mostly because I liked the name and with the expectation ahead of time that it wouldn’t likely become a favorite. And I was right.
Another sample that came with my order.
Group A streptococcus has paid a visit to our house, and between the sick kidlet not sleeping well and his younger brother being jealous that he was getting all the attention in the middle of the night and choosing to have a tantrum about it, I did not sleep well either. My eyes are pretty much at half mast this morning and we’re out of toothpicks.
So I though I’d invite the Earl to tea and see what sort of impression he made.
Yellow and blue petals among dry leaves that smell strongly of bergamot. Steeps to a very dark, reddish caramel color. Less bergamot in the aroma after steeping, instead it is more of an orange scent and a very rich, almost chocolatey black tea undercurrent.
The taste is quite nice. The bergamot is not strong and perfumy, which is great. Strong, oily, perfumy bergamot upsets my stomach. It’s more of an impression the tea gives rather than an outright taste. It’s like the way a good jasmine or other flower scented tea gives the impression more than an actual taste. To the extent it’s a taste, it’s orangy, fruity and mild rather than tasting like rubbing alcohol smells, as some bergamot oils do.
The underlying tea is a yummy, smooth black tea. Medium-to-full bodied and medium-sweet with low astringency.
It’s a gentle, polite Earl and he’s welcome to come back to visit any time.
Finally! My inaugural tea of the Doulton-engineered French buying extravaganza!
And that’s just the smell of the dry leaves. Amazing raspberry. Reminds me of the filling in linzer tarts, which I used to get from a little pastry shop in Cambridge, MA. I can smell it from several feet away; if I stick my nose into the bag (that has an adorable little giraffe sticker on it :-)) it becomes extremely concentrated. Dark chocolate color leaves with flecks of lighter brown.
The variety and complexity in the aroma becomes more apparent after steeping. I can smell some vanilla, and berry, but I’m also getting a note that seems lemon or orange. Some citrus in any case.
The taste has wonderful berry things going on. It’s not the Kool Aid of some berry teas I have tried, it’s more of the kind of berry note you’d find in a nice wine. It adds a tiny bit of tartness to the tail of the sip. Vanilla is there, but not a strong presence. I’m trying to figure out what berry I’m tasting and I think it’s mostly raspberry and strawberry, but what a contrast to the strawberry of other flavored teas. It’s subtle, but deep and smooth. Apart from the tart berry-tail, the tea is medium-sweet. Not sugary like some blacks. I can see what they mean when they say caramel, though it isn’t the sweet caramel of the Sugar Caramel Oolong. It isn’t bitter either, it’s just a number of notches down from carmelized-sugar sweet. There’s a fresh note to the finish which strikes me as floral.
Note to self: try more leaf next time. I used about 1.5 tsp in about 8 oz water. I think it could go stronger and perhaps unfold even more.
Free sample with my last Adagio order.
I have experienced a lot of bad iced tea. Usually it’s pretty tasteless, or nauseatingly bitter restaurant stuff from mixes, bottled Snapple with flavors that seem artificial or with too sweet artificial sweetener, or my own pretty lame attempts at iced tea that never quite get the water ratio right.
On the other hand, I haven’t experienced that much good iced tea. As I sit here and think about it, I think the best iced tea experience I’ve had is Arnold Palmers at the Cheesecake Factory, and since they are half lemonade I don’t know that they really count.
So that may explain why I liked this even though it seems a lot of other people didn’t. Compared to my baseline, this is way good. :-)
No sweetener, but doesn’t need it. Nothing that tastes artificial, not weak, not bitter. The jasmine permeates the tea and is very flavorful. The tea has a chestnutty/waterchestnutty note to it that lingers in the aftertaste.
I’d drink it again over most iced tea I’ve had, but as I said, my experience is pretty limited when it comes to good iced tea.
Almost at the end of my Herbal Infusions samples. I don’t know if they’re even offering this tea anymore. I went to the web site to see what was listed in the ingredients and all they have there now when I search the site is Caramel Cherry Cheesecake, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the same as this.
So I have to guess at the ingredients. There are some yellow and red petals in among the dark brown tea leaves, I’m gonna say jasmine and maybe some hibiscus. The leaves certainly smell like they have some hibiscus in them to me. They have an indeterminate cherry/berry aroma. I don’t smell cheesecake or anything creamy or otherwise suggestive of it.
Steeped, it smells more cherry like and there is a hint of something that could be cheesecake, though to me it’s a more generic cream/vanilla note. The taste is, however, mysteriously suggestive of cherry and cake, though more shortcake than cheesecake.
It’s nice, and I’d drink it again, but like the Ontario Ice Wine it doesn’t bowl me over.
Golden Moon sample No. 15 of 31. About halfway through my random grab bag and loving every minute of it! Today I have a sick kid home from school with me, and had a hectic working morning, so for my lunch break I wanted something distracting and, hopefully, soothing and stimulating at the same time. Fortunately, yesterday after the caramel oolong, I hooked this tea on my random line.
The leaves on this one are really pretty. Some are very dark and brown; some are lighter and green; and some are silvery white. It’s identified as an organic black, though, so these colorful variations are all the more interesting and even a little puzzling. They smell to me like wood, and somewhere between the wood of a living tree and that of an unfinished board. It’s a dark, sweet scent, with a roasty/toasty tang.
V. pretty red/gold/brown clear liquor. The aroma is of vanilla and brown sugar with a woody undertone.
Wow. It tastes not a lot like it smells, but I like it. The note that the taste and smell have in common is wood. I find the taste hard to describe in comparison to other blacks. It’s almost easier to describe what it isn’t than what it is.
It’s not sweet except through the finish where I can taste some maltiness. I don’t get vanilla taste at all, nor do I get a strong floral taste. It’s like a super concentrated version of a high grade “tea-flavored” black tea. It’s super concentrated, without being overly strong or bitter. Oddly, despite its strong flavor, it doesn’t seem full-bodied so much as medium-bodied. But I am noticing that I am finding the Golden Moon blacks I’ve tasted medium-bodied in comparison to blacks from other companies. I also don’t think I’d call it smooth so much as “brisk.” Though it isn’t overly drying either.
I like it well enough to drink it as a staple black, I think, at least until I hone my tastes in black tea a bit more.
Had the last bags in my tin last night, which is something of the end of an era. This was the first thing I tried when I started my tea adventure last February and at the time I fell in love with it. Though I’ve long passed the pixie dust stage with it, it will always be special to me, though I’m not sure I’ll keep it stocked given my ambivalence toward rooibos. But this isn’t truly goodbye, at least not yet. I was so excited by it when I first tried it, I bought my boyfriend a tin, and his is still pretty full. :-)
Tonight, steeped at 1 minute instead of 1.5 to see what difference that might make.
Either it’s the steeping or it’s the luck of the draw of the flavoring agents out of the sample packet, but this time around I’m getting less sweet and more suggestion of rum. It’s a darker note, but it’s present in a faded sort of way so it gives the overall impression of less flavor.