Golden Moon Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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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?
Amount: 4 tsp
Water: 1000ml at 212°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 1 minute
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
Aftertaste: sweet, almost a sumer melon
Liquor: translucent light orange brown
1000ml at 212°F for 2 min
very dark brown liquor
i think i should have done 1:30
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
1000ml at 212°F for 2 min 30 sec
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
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
Sipdown! My kettle is being weird again because of the weather, so all temperature notes are approximate today. This looked really delicate so I brewed it low like a white tea. It claims to be a green but I’ve seen snow sprout classified as a white before, and it has flavors like both… Huh.
It’s moderately grassy but more in a hay way than a vegetable way. It reminds me a little of snow peas, actually. The end of the sip and aftertaste blend together into a sweet green taste that’s almost floral. Not a bad cup but not a favorite for me.
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.
Longer steep this time with the same leaves. This time I’m mostly tasting green tea and almost no jasmine. It’s not bitter, and it’s a fine green, but where is all the nice floral flavor? 52/100 for this cup.
ETA: There is a teeny bit of jasmine there in the aftertaste. Teeny. I didn’t even notice it until halfway through the cup.
Brewed lower and shorter than recommended just in case. Jasmine greens have a nasty habit of going bitter on me.
This is really pretty good. I still think there’s better jasmine out there, but brewed this way it’s surprisingly buttery (not a word I’ve ever used for a Chinese green before), and the jasmine is amazingly light and sweet. It’s almost like jasmine cotton candy, if you can imagine that. I may try the resteep a little longer just for comparison’s sake, but this is a good cup.
Amount: 5 tsp
Water: 750ml at 212°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 1 minute 30 seconds
Dry Leaf Smell: roasty
Steeped Tea Smell: floral, roasty, maybe even a little dirt (like puerh)
Flavor: nutty, floral, roasty, slightly gritty mouthfeel, sweet finish
Liquor: translucent light orange brown
very light and yet complex for this first steep
750ml at 212°F for 2 minutes
750ml at 212°F for 2 minutes 30 seconds
750ml at 212°F for 3 minutes
7 is a lie, no way
Rating: 2/4 leaves
This is one of my favorite black teas. When I think of black tea this is what I want simple slightly robust intoxicating smell. Soothes me all over! I can get 2 flavorful steeps easily and the third just doesn’t quite do it for me. I use 1 heaping tsp. for 8 oz steep at 208 for 3 min first infusion and 4 min for second infusion. I have tried making sinharaja in my beloved Breville but it just doesn’t work for me the flavor is just not there.
Another sipdown. I have 11 of these Golden Moon samples left. I actually tried to brew this one up last night, but the Lapsang Souchong was so strong that it tainted the strainer and messed up the first cup. I had to (literally) scrub the strainer in water as hot as I could stand with mild soap. I also had to get a new mug.
This one is certainly no “golden-green cup”—it’s goldish brown like a black tea would be. In the bag it almost smelled like the Lapsang, but luckily brewed up it smells like the gunpowder tea I’ve had before. Sadly the taste is too smoky for me. I don’t notice anything aside from the green, smoky flavor. It doesn’t change at all—there’s no layers, no aftertaste, nothing. Another disappointing cup.
ETA: It cooled down by about 10 degrees and now it is so incredibly bitter I can’t drink it! Ugh. I didn’t oversteep, either.
Sipdown! (122) I’m on a roll with trying new things and with sipdowns today so I’m going to try and do some more of both. I made a pot of this and split it with mom, as usual with anything I have in a three-cup quantity. Luckily the samples of Golden Moon’s blacks are less of a one-cup thing and more of a “try a cup and then try another and another.”
The taste isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as I’d expect from this company. It kind of reminds me of a marshmallow flavor more than a true vanilla, and it’s weak and thin-tasting. It might be better overleafed, but I’m out of leaf so I can’t do that. Oh, well. If you want a taste like this I’d go with one of Della Terra’s marshmallow blends instead.
ETA: With milk added the marshmallow taste is even more intense. It’s like I melted down a few into a cup of hot water. Not impressed with this.
Sipdown technically, although I am going to try and resteep this time. (123) When I like something enough to have two cups in a row (or two cups in a day, period), it’s something special. This time I overleafed and put some milk in—lemon in EGs isn’t my favorite, but I do like them with milk.
This one holds up to milk well—it brings out the bergamot more and blends with the lavender to make the whole cup more smooth. Very nice!
Oh my goodness! This is a naturally sweet earl grey. I was dreading bitterness, but instead the bergamot and lavender combine to form a honeylike sweetness. It’s barely perfume-y at all, instead managing to make lavender taste like a fruit. There’s also no chalky aftertaste, which can happen with EG sometimes—I’m just getting a lightly floral honey flavor. I want this in my cabinet.
Another sipdown! (125) I ran out of things to steep tea in, so I got a little creative and made this in one of my teapots. Oolongs can only benefit from spreading out, right? I definitely understand the date and chestnut claims, and I can smell the cedar strongly, but there’s also something that smells like fresh-baked bread. It’s lovely.
The taste of this is delightful. It is bready and woody like the smell suggests, and then that gives way to an almost boozy note—it’s like what I wish beer tasted like. Still bready but almost fermented. The sip ends with the date note, and it’s strong and delicious. Another one I would buy—oh, my poor wallet.
Sipdown (124). Cold-brewed this last night for about 15 hours. Sadly I’m not sure this one is ideal for it, because the leaves didn’t open up all that much. Despite that the tea flavor still got into the water.
Cold-brewed this tastes like smoke-flavored water. There’s a little bit of sweetness or even fruitiness in the aftertaste, but I’m really not wowed. I’m going to have to declare this as Not My Thing, but I won’t say that of all Lapsang Souchong until I’ve tried at least a couple more. It might be the intense burnt-pine flavor of this that’s putting me off.
By the way, I remembered what the smell reminded me of! It was a shampoo I hated a few years ago. Odd how smell can make you remember these things.
Another one I’ve never touched before! It smells like a campfire, which in my opinion is a good thing but mom didn’t know what to make of it. She even said she’s had lapsang souchong before and it wasn’t this smoky! I could swear I’ve smelled this smokiness before (maybe in a food?), but now that the tea is under my nose and the other thing isn’t I can’t place it. Oh, well.
The taste is exactly like it smells. I honestly can’t decide if that’s a good thing. Do I like this? It’s certainly unlike anything else I’ve ever had. The smoke notes linger but after a strong punch of smoke at the front of the sip it mellows into a medium-bodied black with notes that almost remind me of coffee or chocolate. It doesn’t quite make it to bitter in spite of that.
I guess I’ll have to say this is another one I’m not feeling right now. Maybe I’d like it cold-brewed?
Okay, I liked this one so much that I sipped it down. I had never made chai on the stovetop before, so I looked in the tasting notes section for this tea. Luckily teaplz shared a method (http://steepster.com/teaplz/posts/20967) that seemed relatively easy. I used honey instead of sugar because it was easier to get to in the kitchen.
This is incredible this way! I’m so impressed that I’m upping the rating. There is so much flavor in this it’s amazing. I get more of the clove and pepper in this cup, but because of the milk and sugar it’s also round and sweet. There’s an almost savory quality to the aftertaste and the whole thing is calming, warming, amazing.
My tastes seem to be okay now, so it’s back to trying Golden Moon’s samples! This one smells amazing: there are whole cardamom pods in my tiny little sample envelope! I wasn’t expecting that.
I just made this with water, but I’d like to try the next cup with milk. It’s amazing. Most chais are too spicy for me, but I barely notice the pepper in this at all. There’s a lot of cardamom and cinnamon to it, which is delicious and warming and makes it a little sweet. I don’t need to add anything to this to make it drinkable, and in fact I’m kicking myself for not trying this sooner and adding it on to my Golden Moon order. No more orders for a while means this will probably be absent from my cabinet until next fall.
This was ok. Not bad at all, especially not for a Ceylon, but not remarkable either. It is quite smooth and relatively gentle as Ceylon goes, with less of the woody drying element many have, but it doesn’t have the deep intense flavor I crave for a morning tea (it’s “too refined” for breakfast if that makes sense). I’d be more likely to appreciate it in the afternoon as a pick-me-up than first thing in the morning. It actually tastes better as it cools; I had a couple sips leftover in my second mug this morning that got nearly cold and they were actually quite tasty with a natural sweetness.