Golden Moon Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a small tin of this in the last TTB and decided to break into it. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Much sweeter than I wanted, almost syrupy. I think it would make a lovely iced tea in the summer, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for in the dead of winter.
I’m also not quite sure what the melons were – looking at the picture, I can see honeydew and cantaloupe, though neither came through distinctly when I was drinking. I wonder if I can taste them now that I know they are both there?
I was never a big fan of licorice – in fact I downright loathed it as a kid. Time (and good tea) has eased my dislike considerably but it’s still not my favourite flavouring. As it turns out, this tea has it in spades. In the blend’s defense there aren’t any artificial licorice flavours used, instead the licorice was achieved with star anise. Star anise, while very licorice-y, has a unique flavour all of its own and none of the (sometimes overwhelming) sweetness that usually comes along with adding licorice root to teas. It complements the white tea base well and it isn’t horribly strong or anything. I personally wouldn’t buy it, but if you enjoy licorice flavours then this may well be the tea for you.
Mmmm nice crispy, bacon… At least that’s what the tea smells like. I’ll be honest I’m not a big fan of lapsang souchong, preferring its milder sibling Russian Caravan but I have found a few that I liked so I try and keep an open mind.
This one is definitely smokey but at same time apart from the smoke the flavour is curiously bland making this tea something like a one-note wonder. There’s just a bit of sweetness somewhere in the middle and something weird that might be pitch. Whatever it is I’m just not feeling it with this one.
The smell of this tea is intriguing – as other people have described it I found it to be almost chocolate-like with a cured-hay undertone. Flavour-wise the earth notes were present but quite mild and smooth so I would definitely recommend this tea for someone who doesn’t like strong pu-erhs or is just starting to get in to that particular tea type. Unlike many pu-erhs it unfortunately doesn’t hold up all that well for resteeping as I found the 2nd steeping (@ 4 min) to be rather weak in comparison.
As someone who is (slightly) more familiar with pu-erh teas this one didn’t wow me particularly but it was pleasent enough to drink while I scroll through my tumblr.
This was a bonus sample from my swap with Tealizzy. I’ve been interested in trying this tea for a while, though I’ve only ever tried one other tea from Golden Moon. They’re changed their business model lately, and now only carry organic teas, so this one looks to be discontinued. Hopefully I don’t fall in love! The pellets are quite small compared to other rolled oolongs I’ve had lately, and they look to be a medium to dark roast. Dry scent is sweet with a brown sugar note.
The steeped tea smells roasted and sweet. I’m surprised that it doesn’t taste overly sweet. The brown sugar and/or caramel notes are present and they make a nice accent to the slightly sweet, roasted flavor of the oolong. There’s a very light taste of apples as well. It’s pretty good, but luckily I don’t love it.
Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Nuts, Roasted
A very old sample but sealed in metallic like packaging. The leaves are longer, larger, and the color seems a little bit on the brown side. The flavor was okay, definitely no old-green-tea-flavor which was nice, but overall, this one doesn’t really have too much other flavor either. Almost like drinking plain hot water. Nothing offensive, but also nothing special. Too bad. Not a resteep for me.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Backlog from a couple days ago. This is an older sample, but it’s basically completely sealed in metal (well, plastic metal) so I thought it would be fine. I’m surprised Golden Moon is now rid of most of their usually stocked teas because they went completely organic. (They still have a couple of my favorites like Sinharaja but I don’t want to think about it too long to remember my favorites that I’ll miss.) This is one of the teas missing. I’m guessing by the odd flavor, probably due to the age, that this one wasn’t entirely organic.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 10 min after boiling // 2 min
There is definitely an odd old flavor that a typical oolong wouldn’t normally have. Honestly, it tastes a bit like paint. It’s really only at the top of the first cup and definitely disappears after that. I think it’s what should be the sugar caramel flavor. Which is a shame because underlying that flavor is what I think is a gorgeous oolong. Mostly floral with undertones of peach. My favorite.
Steep #2 // few min after boiling // 2 min
Another delicious cup (thankfully missing that off flavor). This time along with the floral and hints of peach there is pineapple. There you have my three favorite flavor notes in an oolong.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
Another delicious cup and the flavor could keep going. I’ll rate this tea even though it is on the older side, since the base tea is so nice. I think oolongs can last a really long while. They don’t seem to age too badly. A decent oolong like this one doesn’t need flavoring… I was a little skeptical of “sugar caramel” anyway.
I have a confession to make; I am terrified of pu-erh. After trying this tea, I’m pretty sure it knows. I don’t get any spice out of this, just overwhelming bitterness and earthiness. It tastes like wet, moldy leaves smell in the fall when no amount of raking or collecting seems to get rid of them (and for the record, I am allergic to the mold on those leaves). There’s maybe a hint of orange peel that lingers after the sip, but since I’m not a fan of orange peel either I don’t consider that a plus. I’m going to refrain from rating this since pu-erh seems to really not be my thing. At least I know that for sure now.
Well, having gotten a couple of emails by now about Golden Moon changing the way they do things, I’m looking at the couple of old sample pouches I have left and feeling bemused. I’m not sure what the point of sampling is if they’re going to have all new tea! But at least it’s a sipdown.
This is fine, but I’ve had better jasmines. The floral flavor is intense at the start of the sip and then just disappears. There’s a hint of sweetness but it’s also there and gone, and the base is lackluster. Luckily I’ve already found several jasmines I love, because this is not going to be added to that list.
Okay, I needed to follow the directions, I guess. I was a little nervous about steeping a Ceylon type of tea for 4-5 minutes. But at 3 minutes I get a pretty standard, unremarkable tea with none of the notes that other reviewers have noticed. Gonna have to try it again. Longer time, maybe more leaf.
Oolongs! I really want to try more oolongs. They’re so interesting, so different. Such interesting flavors can happen with them.
Ost sent me this, which was lovely, as I wanted to try it.
Its light, with a faint sugar note laced through it. Mellow, pale, and very good. It was a good accompaniment to the rain that we’re having right now. I like oolongs as afternoon teas.
Thanks to Ost for this sample!
Honey flavored stuff is strange. It is almost a perfume like taste that I associate with honey candies from my childhood, but it never really captures true honey. It makes for a really nice aftertaste, but it never does much for me in the sip. The pear in this is okay, but isn’t very prominent or true to the fruit. It almost matches the honey in perfuminess. I’m kinda eh on this one.
The wonderful and generous DigniTea sent me this tea as part of a swap, and the only label on the bag was “Golden Moon Tea Sinharaja”. I’ve never heard of Golden Moon Tea, or of Sinharaja before, so when I looked at the medium length, black tightly twisted leaves, I had no idea what I was up for.
But then I opened the bag.
Do you know the wonderful smell a really good Ceylon has? Of juicy plums, and sweet, sweet raisins? This tea has it, abundantly.
So, first for the Ceylon haters among you – yes, it is astringent. But it is a very, very mild astringency – something that you oftentimes get with Assams, Nilgiris, Kenyans or other non-Chinese black teas.
And now for the Ceylon lovers – how is it?
Silky smooth, with a juicy sweetness to it that has a slightly darker twist on the Ceylon flavour profile than more sparkling Ceylons and Ceylon blends have. This is like a Ceylon grown up – no longer playing the trumpet, but taking on a baritone saxophone instead. So there isn’t the bass of an Assam, or the super smoothness of the Nilgiri, but it is leaning in that direction.
An interesting and excellent Ceylon that is probably a must buy if you like Ceylons, and a “yes, you should certainly give this a go” for people who don’t normally go for the Ceylon flavour.
P.S. I wouldn’t couple this with milk, although if the astringency bothers you, sugar will take what little edge there is off.
P.S. 2 – Sipdown!
Flavors: Molasses, Plums, Raisins
Pass the Stash TTB #6
This is lovely, absolutely lovely. I adore coconut, though it’s not a flavor I usually seek out myself. But when I do have some, I’m reminded how much I truly love it. It’s creamy and warm and adds a hint of decadence to ordinary tea.
Truly wonderful. This tin is staying with me.
I picked this up from Dinosara.
It’s a very light tea, but quite lovely. The leave is pale and silvery, and smells very roasted and nutty, with a bit of smoke.
Liquor is very pale yellow, but with good flavour.
My first steep was 20 seconds after a quick rinse. The colour of the liquor belies how flavourful this steep is. The opening of the sip is full of nutty, roasted, grain flavours. In the middle a fruitiness blossoms and then fades out to a bit of a vegetal tang. The finish is very delicate but leaves a hint of corn on the palate.
Second steep 25 seconds. The liquor is a more intense yellow this time, and slightly cloudy. This cup came out very astringent. There’s a touch of floral on the nose.
Third steep, 15 seconds, lower water temp. Still a touch astringent, but much better. The flavour has gotten quite delicate, but still has most of the same notes.
I think I will switch it up after this. This is pleasant and I really enjoyed my first steep, but I’m not wowwed.
Flavors: Astringent, Fruity, Grain, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Vegetal
Sipdown Sunday Tea and Books!
This tea was one of the oldest teas in my collection as I bought it back in February when I ordered a Golden Moon Tea sampler. I learned along the way, though, that I’m not a huge fan of white teas, and hesitated to drink this.
Iced tea seemed like the best way to use up all of the leaf from the sampler in one go, so here we are.
I used the whole of the sample on 2 L of cold water and let it steep overnight. I also added about 2.5 tsp of sugar to the pitcher. The resulting tea is not very melon-flavoured, as I can really taste the white base (I think it’s Shou Mei). However, I’m happy that I’ve finally dealt with this tea so that I have one less one in the cupboard to worry about.
This tea is supposed to taste like melon, and while I can sense the taste, it’s not very fresh and juicy, but more dark and dusty. I’m pretty sure that other people here have said that this tea tastes like muskmelon. So that’s the flavour I’m assuming to taste here.
When I think of muskmelon, a particular sci-fi story comes to mind: “Tiny Tango” by Judith Moffett.
This was a novella that got nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula awards after it was published in the late 80s/early 90s. It’s about a botanist with HIV who chooses a life of academic mediocrity to hide her HIV-positive status, as she’s worried that the stress and high profile of a successful academic career would both ruin her health and run the risk of “outing” her to the world. She instead devotes her time to breeding a new variety of muskmelon.
However, as time goes by, other issues become far important to the world’s landscape: the arrival of extraterrestrials, climate change, and a vaccine to prevent HIV. The story shows her reaction to all these things in turn.
I’m not really explaining this story well, I realize. It’s a hard one to sum up, especially considering the public discourse around AIDS has changed a lot since the story was first written. But when I thought of this tea, and the flavour of muskmelon, this was the story that immediately jumped to mind.
For those who are interested in reading it themselves, it’s available on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IA66OAG/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IA66OAG&linkCode=as2&tag=morein-20
Cold Brewed this sample from 221Tea who generously added it into are swap “way back” a few months ago. I’ve been sorta waiting for the so called “perfect” moment to drink it given how I’ve heard really good things, and I do love cold brewed coconut tea quite a bit.
And true to the reputation; this was amazing. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say “life changing” or anything, but damn good. It was a refreshing, crisp and solid coconut taste with more of a confectionery edge to it than a tropic one and with nothing “tainting” or drawing away from the flavour. It even had a sort of frothiness to it that was very, very welcome.
Honestly, this could totally be my new “Coconut Grove” in so far as the strong, purely Coconut cold brewed tea department goes…
Except it’s a sipdown, so it’s not. But hopefully this’ll find its way back to me someday! I’ll be waiting, with open arms.
This is a one teaspoon sample I’ve had for a while, but it has been in that terrible metallic packaging… terrible for one teaspoon anyway, so I haven’t been in a rush to drink it. This tea could last 100 years in this packaging. And this packaging could fit a few teaspoons, so the least they could do is make the packaging smaller for one teaspoon. ANYWAY, I wish I was on a vacation and I was hoping this coconut would be enough. The oolong is a twisty long oolong, not rolled. Yes it is sunscreen coconut and it is delicious. The oolong has a little bit of a vegetal flavor to it, otherwise it is hidden by the coconut. The second steep had more hints of oolong that were allowed to shine with slightly less coconut. There seems to be a hint of a tangy off flavor to this, but probably because I’ve tried a couple other teas similar to this that were a little better. I have no idea how this is actual coconut milk anyway. But at least this tea is what I expected!
Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // closer to 4 min steep
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 4 min
Purchased this from kimquat in her stash sale. I’ve been rather curious about Golden Moon for a while, so I figured I’d pick this one up while I had the chance. Dry, it smells extremely minty! There’s a little vanilla sweetness in the background too. I did a 3 minute steep because mint teas tend to get too minty for me if steeped longer.
Yum, the aroma is much mellower in its mintiness, and there’s a lovely creamy vanilla in the background. This is quite delicious! The front of the sip is mostly mint, but the vanilla quickly develops around it and is especially strong at the end, where it obtains an almost custard-like quality. This tea makes me think of white chocolate with spearmint leaves, if there is such a thing. If not, there should be! :) A lovely, mellow mint tea.
Flavors: Custard, Spearmint, Vanilla, White Chocolate