1120 Tasting Notes

73
drank Jasmine Tea by Golden Moon Tea
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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

“Quietly herbaceous”—excellent description!

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65

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Earl Grey Royal by THE O DOR
1120 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
SoccerMom

Sorry to hear your you have a sick kiddo. Hope they feel better soon and that you get some rest today.

__Morgana__

Thank you!

Rabs

::hugs::

__Morgana__

Thanks, Rabs!

Rabs

Aw, you’re very welcome! It sounds like you had a very rough night and yet you wrote a lovely tasting note that makes me want to try this tea. So thank you too! ::more hugs:: :)

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89

Finally! My inaugural tea of the Doulton-engineered French buying extravaganza!

MmmmmmMMMMmmmmmMMmmmm.

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
S

Ooh, do you remember the name of the pastry shop?

__Morgana__

Unfortunately no, and I have no idea if it is still there as I haven’t been back since the mid 80s, but I remember where it was. It was in a shopping center in Harvard Square that also had a Souper Salad and Pizzeria Uno, among other things. The little pastry shop was right next to the Souper Salad. It really wasn’t a lot more than a counter with cookies and pastries in a window, but I remember it being a great temptation after having tried to be virtuous by eating at Souper Salad!

S

Oh, sad, I don’t think it’s there anymore :( and neither is Souper Salad, although Uno’s still is!

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76

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.

Preparation
Iced 0 min, 15 sec
Cofftea

I was SO excited when I got their white tea as a free sample last year. I’m very hard pressed to find bottled unsweetened iced tea… but then they ruined it w/ citric acid! I wanted to cry. Since then I’m so leary to try their other ones.

__Morgana__

This has vitamin C in it, but I don’t taste anything acidic and it doesn’t list citric acid as an ingredient, so I’m guessing it is safe.

Cofftea

Or maybe it was vitamin c. Idk whatever it was- it was bad. If I want vitamin C I’ll drink an orange flavored tea… or orange juice.

S

Heh, I guess that when you don’t add all the sugar and lemonade and other stuff, the flavor of the preservatives become obvious and it doesn’t taste good…kinda ironic/sad :)

Auggy

It has Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid. A lot of RTD teas can have that in them since it is used as a preservative.

Cofftea

Sugar and preservatives or vitamin c… what a choice. I’ll make my own thank you.:)

Cofftea

Auggy, ascorbic acid/citric acid same thing. Not in my tea thank you.

Auggy

I think the Cha-Dao brand of RTD teas is one of the only that doesn’t have ascorbic acid/Vitamin C in it. (I have to watch out for it because it is usually from corn sugars and corn = evil for me.)

Cofftea

I always make my own so it’s so rare I even desire RTD.

Auggy

And actually, ascorbic acid and citric acid are not the same thing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascorbic_acid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citric_acid

Meghann M

Interesting reading about the differences between ascorbic acid and citric acid. Sounds like ascorbic acid is man made and citric acid is natural. Thanks for the info:)

__Morgana__

I’m pretty sure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) it is tasteless without additional flavoring, whereas citric acid does have a taste. So I’m guessing the addition of vitamin C to this drink doesn’t affect the taste, which was where I was trying to go with the vitamin C comment. ;-)

Cofftea

Well by “same thing” I meant an additive in my tea that is NOT welcome.

Auggy

Meghann, no problem! Just something I ended up having to learn about even though I didn’t want to! :)
Morgana, I’m pretty sure you are right in that Vitamin C/ascorbic acid is tasteless since I’ve never tasted that lemony taste in Adagio RTD teas that I have in ones that had citric acid instead. I guess a lot of companies use citric acid because it makes it like a lemon tea? Or am I just making stuff up?
Coffetea, just a misunderstanding with wording then.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Try the Green AnTeadote, it is my favorite iced tea ever. I have been drinking it continuously for at least 5 years except for the few times they were out of stock. If not that the Ito En green is great too. I just prefer Adagio’s.

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70

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
S

I have a sample of this that I’ve yet to try…

Oh, and I totally understand what you mean about medium-bodied black teas. It’s kind of strange how drastically different the mouth feel of two similar teas can be. I’m finding I like the rich, thick, almost opaque black teas over the clearer, lighter ones. :)

__Morgana__

Yeah, it in mouthfeel and also in depth of flavor. The GM teas seem generally a little less deep than some others, sort of in the way that generally speaking a merlot isn’t as deep as a cabernet.

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72
drank Vanilla Rooibos Parfait by Tazo
1120 tasting notes

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. :-)

Rabs

Awww to the somewhat end of an era. You also made me consider that I should get myself a man just so I can use him for more tea storage! ;)

__Morgana__

Hahaha! The trade off is that you have to put up with the snide comments when the fifth tea package of the day arrives.

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40

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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84
drank Masala Chai by Rishi Tea
1120 tasting notes

Second try, with 1.5 cups water, 1.5 tbsp chai, 1.5 cups milk. Much creamier, much nommier. Bumping the rating a tad.

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Bio

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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