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Golden Moon Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

Tea & Cards TTB #5
Backlog from yesterday. I so wanted to try more from the box yesterday, but had enough caffeine, so I snuck this one in, rationalizing that it probably had less caffeine anyway. It had a nice, light melon taste. I couldn’t really distinguish specific melon flavors (cantaloupe, honeydew, etc), but it wasn’t too overly artificial or perfume-y. Because the melon flavor wasn’t too overwhelming, I could also taste the grassy notes from the white tea itself. While I’m not a huge fan of grassy greens & whites, it was nice to see the base white tea flavor come out on its own for once.

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92
drank Orchid Temple by Golden Moon Tea
350 tasting notes

Tea & Cards TTB #3
I have to say that I’m surprised by all the low ratings on Steepster about this tea. Although I did notice that many of them are older, so maybe the tea changed a bit since then? Anyway, I decided to ignore the steeping parameters given by the packet and waited for my boiling water to cool a bit before steeping. I also did a quick rinse before my first steep and did not let the first steep sit as long as 2-3 min as suggested by the packet. All this resulted in a wonderfully floral but not artificially perfume-y oolong. The floral tastes transitioned smoothly into a nuttier, roastier taste toward the end of the sip. The tea also had a buttery feel. I actually really enjoyed this green oolong, and since there is a weirdly small amount left in the sample, I may just pull the rest of it from the TTB.

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Definite notes of Laoshan black! If only I hadn’t found the Laoshan first, this may have been a winner for me. But if you’re looking for a lightened up version? This is your tea.

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92
drank Golden Bi Lo by Golden Moon Tea
137 tasting notes

Well, hello my new friend. How have I never run into this tea before? Or any bi luo? I think this is what I’m craving when I want green tea. This tastes like a dragon well grassy base with notes of…burnt sugar? And a pervasive light woodiness. Even a hint of an oolongy butteriness. I fear it will launch yet another in-depth investigation through all the bi luos I can get my hands on, much as milk oolong did to me. Any advice on high (or low) priorities would be very much appreciated!

ifjuly

oh man, i LOVE bi luo chun. it’s my favorite style of green tea bar none. yay!

ifjuly

oh, and my favorite one last year was verdant’s laoshan bilochun. who knows how it’ll be this year—these things can vary so—but it blew my mind all summer last year, hot and cold (soooo good cold steeped!).

Flowery

Thanks! Very excited to try that one…will absolutely look out for it. I can’t remember how this stuff ended up on my wish list, but heck, it was probably from one of your notes. It completely redeemed the order that was driven by the far less successful coconut pouchong. Just threw this one it since it was sitting there on the wish list…so (probably) thanks for that too!

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It has been years since I fell in love with oolongs, but flavoring them just sounded like such a terrible thing to do to such an interesting tea as it is….but coconut? There is something about that particular flavor that just sounds like it would go SO well with oolong’s fruity nuttiness. Then half of Steepster seemed to be so in love with this one, I just couldn’t wait to try it.

When it arrived today, I of course tore open the package…and was scared. I only smelled coconut, with no oolonginess. This is what I was afraid someone would do to oolong. But I brewed it up anyway, and even the first few sips were concerning. Just coconut. Lovely coconut, but I wanted tea.

But then it cooled, and the magic happened! The coconut faded a bit, and a delicate oolong came forward. Much, much better. I will definitely finish and greatly enjoy this tea, but I’m still not sure it will ever call my name from the crowd of great oolongs. Except….iced. I bet this is insanely good iced. Will have to try that asap.

UPDATE: On the second steeping, my opinion is that this is a well-balanced cup but just not a match for my general aversion to flavored teas. It really would have been a miracle for me to love it, and I still bet most people would like it quite a bit.

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100
drank Sinharaja by Golden Moon Tea
381 tasting notes

Okay, I caved. I opened the enormous bag. Sometimes you just have to have a favorite, and this is probably my favorite straight black. That said it will probably be in my cabinet for a long time (8 oz!), so I’m glad I like it.

This is so intensely honeyed. I love honey flavors but this is so natural it’s amazing. It’s really as if I dumped a large amount of honey into my cup. It’s identifiable as a Ceylon—there are those citrus notes and the lightness of a good Ceylon—but it’s so intensely fruity and honeyed that it’s easy to forget that’s what it is. Such a great way to wake up in the morning.

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95

what finesse, what splendor…. this is a very fine tea. exquisitely delicate, nuanced & perfect without needing any additives. the sense of calm imparted by the infusion is so striking i imagine this would be the tea of choice in a Buddhist monastery. it is that serene.

the aroma of the tea liquor is of steamed brown rice & a very trace amount of the toasted coconut flavor that was extremely apparent (and wonderfully intoxicating) in the dry leaf.

i’m getting a slight fruit note! not really an orchid or floral note, but a fruit note. a teeny hint of fruit is detectable, though i have no idea what it is. if it is a floral note i’m picking up on, it’s how shall i say, fruity. but that is only a modicum of the taste here.

it’s primarily a buttery oolong with the brown rice flavor and aroma being most dominant. i wholeheartedly appreciate such a quality, as i love hojicha and genmaicha, yet this is not that…..but a very subtle variation on the ‘toasted’ or ‘brown rice’ theme. this is so delicate but as i said nuanced (and with a perfect flavor!), that i feel like raving about it! the delicacy in this tea is precious. i find it stunning.

there is a buttery mouthfeel and aftertaste from what i can detect, which i love. this is most definitely a toasty tea, but in a sylphlike sense. it is undoubtedly a swan.

beautiful.

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15
drank Sencha by Golden Moon Tea
381 tasting notes

Sipdown. This is not like the sencha I’m used to at all. Tiny broken leaves, and it brews up yellow instead of light green. I’m struggling to find something good to say about this, actually, and I almost always try unless it’s just completely horrible. What I was expecting was a middle-grade green that I wouldn’t purchase; what I got tasted like overcooked asparagus (yes, that tastes as bad as it sounds). There’s some sort of a note that’s trying to be sweet in there but it doesn’t make it. It’s also moderately bitter, not enough to make me dump it but enough that I would never drink this again.

ETA: This gets more bitter as it cools, so it looks like I will be dumping it.

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85

Thanks to bluebelle for this surprise in our swap! The dry leaves smelled so strongly of caramel and general sugary goodness that I was pretty impatient while letting it steep. The steeped tea smelled and tasted more like a combination of caramel and nuts. I was expecting the caramel, but was pleasantly surprised by the strength of the nuttiness in this tea. It did taste a bit artificial, but much better than other caramel teas that I’ve had that just taste like chemical caramel flavoring. I will savor the rest of my little sample while it lasts!

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60

excellent! a beautiful, delicate, fresh lightly floral aroma. i think the melon is giving me this impression. not at all what i expected melon to smell like in a tea! i think a white base is quite smart. the leaves are lovely….

the flavor is pretty much what you smell. and if i had to venture a guess, i’d say the melon in question is honeydew (green) as opposed to the sweeter cantaloupe. the tea itself is not at all bitter and has a smooth finish. but my experience with white teas has been that they are so subtle you feel as though you are drinking water.

this comes off as a lightly-flavored water reminiscent of champagne. actually, i think it’s more like beer (from what i remember…i don’t care for the taste). someone else here mentioned that this reminds them of beer and baking bread. i agree that there is a certain raw dough/yeasty flavor to this, which the melon-infused tea interestingly enough, conveys.

others have said wine. maybe a fermented melon white wine that’s been watered down by a pitcher of ice cubes. that’s pretty much my impression of this. i don’t find it particularly exciting, but it could perhaps work as a palate cleanser.

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75

I think this is the last black tea in the Golden Moon box. Sadly, it’s pretty average. There are some sweet fruity notes and a darker woody base to this, but that’s about all I notice and I’m not blown away by it. Luckily I have other Darjeelings that are more interesting! This is a sipdown (222).

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70

Yikes. This got bitter fast. Oddly it also has a sugary-sweet aftertaste. There are some rich cooked-vegetable notes, like artichokes or asparagus, and then a straight sugar flavor. It’s not a horrible cup but I just don’t know what to make of it. I’m guessing this is a Chinese green, and those tend to be very hit-or-miss for me. This one’s a miss, but it’s also a sipdown.

ETA: Oddly this is growing on me as it cools—possibly because it’s less bitter and more sugary. Still wouldn’t buy it but it’s not totally horrible.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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77

Tasting note no. 666. Cue Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEllLECo4OM

(The spooky Omen music starts at about 1:48 but you can knock yourself out and listen to the whole thing if you have an hour LOL.)

I had nothing with devil, diablo, diable, satan, lucifer, or such in the name so I decided to go the opposite direction, literally up rather than down. Hence the Temple of Heaven.

After I sampled this in my 31 flavor Golden Moon sampler I gave it a rating of 73 and added it to my order. It’s weird, though. Now I don’t think I’d order something unless I gave it a 75 or higher, and I’d probably only order a few teas ranked in the 70s as there are so many I’ve given more than 80 to.

But that’s easily solved on this one by bumping the rating a few points. I don’t have a lot to compare it to in the gunpowder sphere, but as a green tea, it’s a nice change from the lighter, more vegetal green teas I’ve been having lately. The smokiness, though light by Lapsang and even Keemun standards, is quite enjoyable on a rainy February evening.

I may regret drinking this at 9 p.m., but I was up against the 666 number and I didn’t see this as a first thing in the morning tea. Heh.

Night night all.

TheTeaFairy

Hahaha! Love the evil dramatic music reference…I have it in my ipod, I do put it on sometimes and my dog starts howling like a wolf, so funny! Miss the omen, I love the darkness, mwahahaha!

pyarkaaloo

hahahah on Carmina Burana ;p O Fortuna!

caile

Hahaha! Was waiting for this one, and that’s perfect! ;-)

Kamyria

ha ha ha…. awesome note with a dramatic note! :D

__Morgana__

Heh. It was fun to mix it up a bit. Glad you liked it. :-)

Cavocorax

LOL. This was great. I’m listening to it at work and it’s making my mundane office stuff far more dramatic! :D

mpierce87

Omg, I’m listening to this and it is tripping me out how dramatic my cats’ antics are with this playing. Love it!

__Morgana__

Love how the cats and dogs react to this—LOL!

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83

TTB #11

The thing about flavored Golden Moon teas is that they are extremely subtly flavored. So is this one. I barely detect any melon flavor in it, but it is certainly there and pairs with the base tea very nicely. I’m guessing it would make a delicious iced tea, as the melon is the most prominent when the tea is cold, but since I am not a fan of iced teas that quality is mostly lost on me.

It is a top-quality white, fruity and brisk, with a hint of lovely, juicy watermelon. I might consider getting at least a few samples of it in the future, if I don’t feel like committing myself to several ounces just yet.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

TTB #8

My husband and I woke up to an insanely snowed in driveway. He couldn’t get out of it even with 4WD, so we had to shovel some of the snow out of the way. I knew my modest lil’ car would never make it, so I had to call off work. Not happy about it but OH WELL… I guess I will stay and taste some tea instead.

It seemed right to start off with some breakfast blend. Travelling Tea Box offered two Golden Moon ones (yay!): English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast. When I have a choice between these two, I always choose Irish. It could be the loyalty of coming from a tormented-by-history country, I guess ;)

The only Irish Breakfast blend I had before this one was Twinings’ bagged one. You can all take an educated guess that this is going to be the better one of the two ;D The color is deep, deep malty-red. And the smell… Here is the only point in common with the Twinings Irish – the sweet, grassy smell that reminds me of early afternoons at our cabin (alas, not a log cabin!) in the woods where we spend most of our time off from spring to autumn… Ah, it feels like we haven’t been there for ages!

Back to the tea though, the flavor is amazing! Pretty bitter, but not too much, it doesn’t need sugar or any other sweetener in my opinion. It sure gives you a solid kick and could replace any Colombian coffee any time (not that I care, I haven’t had coffee for months – and do not miss it). I also detect some very interesting undertones of cherry perhaps? Some kind of tart fruit.

As it cools down, it starts to taste really creamy. Delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
bluebelle

I knew it’d find a better home if I put it in! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Kat_Maria

I might have been slightly harsher with some other company. But Golden Moon Teas put a spell on me. I really love their teas!

Terri HarpLady

I love a good Irish Breakfast!

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70
drank Pu-erh by Golden Moon Tea
45 tasting notes

I must admit, this is the first mini-tuocha pu’er that I have purchased. As a result, it took me a while to steep this correctly. It is not a bad tea, in my opinion it is just not that bold. Sure it has that pu’er taste that I love but it is really a muted and weak taste. While my Mandala Noble Mark grabs you and says here I am, this one just says here I am, can you taste me?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75

Steep Information:
Amount: 4 tsp
Water: 1000ml at 212°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 1 minute
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: malty, sweet, floral
Steeped Tea Smell: malty, sweet, i get a melony-scent
Flavor: sweet, smooth, vegetal with a slight bakey finish
Body: Light
Aftertaste: sweet, almost a sumer melon
Liquor: translucent light orange brown

Resteep:
1000ml at 212°F for 2 min
very dark brown liquor
much maltier
i think i should have done 1:30

Resteep:
1000ml at 212°F for 2 min
malty, vegetal, less astringent, better (prior really ought to have been 1:30), nice and smooth, almost silky

Resteep:
1000ml at 212°F for 2 min 30 sec
good, vegetal

Resteep:
1000ml at 212°F for 3 min
weak, but drinkable i think it could handle another steep but it’s time to go home

Rating: 3/4 leaves

Blog: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2014/02/golden-moon-tea-company-loose-leaf.html

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 1000 OZ / 29573 ML

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79

Sipdown no. 57 for the year 2014 and also the end of revisiting the handful of Golden Moon samples I couldn’t decide about the first time through.

I will say that although this sample was tiny (about 1.5g) it was very aromatic in the sample packet. Having spent some time away from oolongs, I was really liking what I smelled. A lot of chestnuts and cedar, and yes, I could smell the dates and the orange blossoms, too. Sometimes being away can really refresh your senses. I rinsed the leaves and went for a first steep.

The aroma is very toasty and I definitely get chestnuts this time (I steeped longer-4 minutes for the first steep). There’s a sweet fruitiness that I’m ready to call dates. Both the chestnut and the date come through in the flavor, and around the edges and in the finish, I understand the claim to cedar. There’s also something like stonefruit.

The flavor is not as deep and round as I expected. I recall some other dark oolongs I’ve tasted as having that quality. But I think it’s better than I judged it to be the first time around when I had tea fatigue.

Second steep. I went longer this time 5 minutes. More chestnut, and a mellower, sweeter fruity taste.

Third steep. 5:30. It continues to mellow and get a little rounder in flavor.

The wet leaves have a smell I’d describe as green coffee beans.

My main issue right now is that I have a lot of oolong in my stash, more than any sane person should have, really. And because it is the sort of thing that I like to take my time with, steep multiple times, savor, etc. it tends to get drunk less than blacks, greens, whites and herbals. (The only thing that gets drunk less is pu-erh and that’s basically for the same reason.) I need to drink some of my other oolongs and see how they stack up.

I’m going to go ahead and put this on the shopping list. It’s a safe decision, both because I’m on lockdown and because even if I wasn’t, I have too much oolong and too much other Golden Moon tea to justify ordering more of this any time soon. (Don’t you love this public self-talk thing? LOL)

Bumping the rating a tad because I liked how the taste and the description on the label matched up.
Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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76

Sipdown no. 56 for the year 2014. A sample; another in the “not sure, try again” category after my massive Golden Moon order.

Trying this side by side with the Vanilla Mint to see how different they are. I will say that the Vanilla Mint has much more of the Andes/Girl Scout thin mint thing going on than this does. This is much more of a pure mint smell in the sample packet.

The steeped aroma is a delicate mint, and the flavor is pretty much as described in my original note. There’s a definite difference between this and the Vanilla Mint. This has a fresher, cleaner taste from the green tea base, with a rather buttery green flavor underneath. The Vanilla Mint is creamier and heartier from the black tea and vanilla.

I like this quite a bit. If I didn’t already have other green mints in my collection, I’d probably add this to the shopping list.

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

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76

Sipdown no. 55 for the year 2014. A sample; another in the “not sure, try again” category after my massive Golden Moon order.

I see in my previous note that I wanted to try this one next to the Moroccan Mint to see how they compared. Which probably explains why I also have a sample of the Moroccan Mint.

I’m going to steep them right after each other and taste them side by side. I’m going to try this one at 185 for 3 minutes since my previous note indicated that hotter water worked better.

I should caution you that sniffing the sample packet is risky because it’s amazingly reminiscent of Andes mints, or Girl Scout thin mint cookies. I see I said that in my original note as well, so I’m not crazy. See, there’s that chocolate/vanilla continuum thing again! There’s really no reason this should smell like chocolate mint since it’s vanilla mint. But that’s what I smell—chocolate mint!

I’m having a very similar experience this time around compared with what I documented in my first note. One thing I’ll add to the steeped aroma—there’s a spicy note I didn’t mention the first time, kind of a peppery kick to the aroma.

The flavor is a soft mint, with a creaminess to it from the vanilla. Its a somewhat heartier, full bodied flavor overall than the Moroccan Mint, because of the addition of black tea and vanilla. But standing on its own, this is a lighter, medium bodied tea.

It’s quite nice and I’d drink it again. Would I buy a full size tin? Hard to say. Probably not now as I have too many other mints and if I were to feel like mint I’d likely go for the straight mint of Tazo Refresh, the green mint of Samovar Moorish mint, or perhaps one of my various chocolate mint combos.

And gee, I’d tag the flavors, but there’s no mint among them?

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Nightshifter

Sounds decent! I saw a few missing options for flavor tags, too. No muscatel either. :)

__Morgana__

Heh, and that’s a key one, too!

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75

In the process of making tea eggs with the remainder of In Pursuit of Tea’s Golden Yunnan—that means two more sipdowns (uh, sort of). I decided on an oolong sample to brew up while I wait. I’m using the recipe Golden Moon sent out in their newsletter a while back, at least in theory, but I totally changed the spicing because of availability/preference. My kitchen smells amazing right now, so I must have done something right!

This smells gorgeous! It smells a lot like Adagio’s Dancong Aria to me, which is definitely a good thing. Fresh and fruity and lovely. The taste doesn’t quite hold up to the smell, oddly enough. It’s the exact same flavor profile as Dancong Aria—peaches, white flowers, cedar wood, and a little earthiness—but it’s weaker than I expected. It’s not bad, but there’s not enough fruit or floral to it for me and I’ve had better oolongs of this type.

ETA: Now that it’s cooled I’m getting way more fruit. I think this is one that’s great cold but not ideal hot.

Flavors: Cedar, Earth, Fruit Tree Flowers, Peach

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88
drank Jasmine Tea by Golden Moon Tea
381 tasting notes

A sipdown! I wasn’t actually sure what to get myself so I went for using something up. This got a little bitter with just an extra minute of steep time. Ouch. I think my main problem with this is that it doesn’t resteep well, because if I’m going to pay for high-quality jasmine tea I want to get two steeps out of it at minimum. It’s really a good jasmine taste on the first steep, and much lighter (fluffier, if you will) than most.

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