Golden Moon Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
after today’s cup, i may just have to place an order for this. this is a light green oolong, but given my initial impression of how delicate the flavors were initially, this had a really developed flavor palette by comparison with previous tastings.
preparation-wise, i treated this like a green tea & took the 180 F temp seriously. but i let steep for 1 minute more than the recommended 3 minutes because the leaves hadn’t quite opened up yet and the water didn’t quite look like tea…
at about 4 min, to 4 min 10s, the tea liquor was finally a lovely crystalline shade of pastel yellow. the taste was really impressive….steamed white rice infused with the lovely toasted coconut which was promised in the dry leaf. i was thrilled—-the coconut really came through in this, albeit delicately. the aroma in the dry leaf smelled so much like actual toasted coconut flakes, the kind you’d sprinkle on top of vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day. as steeped tea, this reminded me of thai sticky rice with coconut instead of mango. well, sort of. the rice flavor in this oolong was not so much a heavy, starchy rice as it was rice paper….but steamed white rice it was, at least to me. i actually recall having gotten a ‘rice’ note in other oolongs i’ve tried, which i absolutely loved.
so, all in all: steamed white rice with the fragrance and flavor of toasted coconut. there may or may not have been a light florality underneath (maybe something of a gardenia which was trying to peek its head out) but this certainly tasted (and felt) like an oolong: which is sometimes hard to describe! this didn’t have the tang i found to be present in Golden Moon’s Sugar Caramel Oolong, but that’s probably because this is a different varietal. regardless, it’s welcome in my cupboard any day!
Flavors: Coconut, Rice, Smooth
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.