Golden Moon Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
Zarafina: black, loose, medium
sweetened with rock sugar
There’s a strong musky honey note dominating this tea. Detecting the pear taste is difficult, and I’m realizing that I much prefer teas flavored with actual bits of whatever rather than flavor oils.
I got this as part of Golden Moon’s sampler set, but I won’t buy it.
This cup steeped up to around the same color as the first, and the leaves opened up a bit more. The taste is surprisingly stronger than the first cup, but it’s still a bit weak tasting. It tastes grassier by far, and there’s still the lingering sweet note. There’s almost an earthy note to this as well. I actually think the sweet aftertaste has mellowed out completely, and I doubt that anyone would be able to pick out “candied pineapple” in this second steep. So it’s probably more green-tea-like. However, I think I actually favor the first cup more. There’s still a wonderful purity to the entire taste. It really is clean and fresh. The first cup was more subtle, and water-ish, but the nuanced flavor profile in it was more interesting than this one.
I’m starting to love the fact that green teas really just have this natural sugary flavor to them. I can’t imagine anyone adding anything to Golden Moon’s Green. Maybe the tiniest bit of honey, but I think it’d overwhelm the delicacy that’s at play here.
I probably could have gotten another steep out, but I’m tiring of the tea, so I dumped the leaves. Still, pretty good for a basic green!
If you haven’t heard, I have the best boyfriend in the entire world.
So, my boyfriend is always amused by my various obsessiveness. I tend to cycle through hobbies and pastimes pretty quickly, and he’s always along for the ride. When he found out that I was getting into loose leaf tea, and made my first order from Adagio, he surprised me with the Golden Moon Tea Taster’s Sampler set (http://www.goldenmoontea.com/Tea_Taster_s_Sampler_P56C28.cfm for those that aren’t in the know). It’s $20 for their entire catalog, 1-2 cups of each of their 31 varieties, and if you use the code “teareviewblog” you get free shipping (it worked when I ordered, at least). It was the perfect gift, and as a result, I have the chance to work my way through the various and interesting teas of a highly respected company.
The box is a bit daunting, so I figured I’d start with the basics. And what’s more basic than plain green tea? I don’t have much experience with green tea overall, but I read on here and elsewhere that this was just straight green tea, with a very mild flavor.
When I opened the little packet, I was sort of surprised at how much there was in there. The leaves were pretty and twisted, a wonderful verdant color. There were some broken bits at the bottom of the packet, but for the most part, most of the leaves were intact. I’d read that many of the offerings were really one cup only, but I measured out a heaping teaspoon of this, and I still had half left. Since I didn’t want to overdue it with the leaves, and add too many to the pot with no knowledge of the the temperament of this tea, I just did the one heaping teaspoon and sealed the rest of the bag up for another time.
The dry leaves smelled… leafy. Green in a plant-like way. Nothing distinctive. The resulting liquid after brewed was a light yellow color. A very, very pale goldenrod. The cup had literally no smell.
On my first sip I was a bit surprised. This tea doesn’t have a strong flavor at all. As someone that’s accustomed to blacks in the morning, it was a bit interesting. There are barely any tasting notes to be had while the cup is still piping hot. A hint of vegetation, a sweet aftertaste.
As the cup cooled, however, the sweetness really came into prominence. I only really tasted the “candied pineapple” tasting note once or twice (this is not flavored with pineapple, so don’t expect a strong flavor at all). The best thing that I can say about this tea is that if it was cold, it’d be immensely chuggable. And I mean that as a compliment. It’s refreshing and light and tasty, with a very pleasing sweet note. It tastes pure and refined. Does it taste like “tea”? No. So if you’re going into this expecting a flavor parade, you will be disappointed. It tastes more like drinking dew from a large leaf in the morning. What I would imagine the water served up on Olympus tastes like.
All great compliments, but when I’m drinking tea, I don’t really want water, I want tea. I really enjoyed the subtleties of this tea, and I’m going to try resteeping it (some of the leaves still have a twisted shape and didn’t unfurl completely), but I can’t imagine ordering more of this.
Starting is a sweet smooth chrysanthemum taste with a floral over tone that fades quickly to sweet and toasty and then finally to the white tea base.
This tea is exactly what Golden Moon advertises and it is wonderfully smooth and calming.
Pairing chrysanthemum over the white tea adds interest to a very simple flavor and accents the mouth feel to make this a more full bodied tea.
The tea leaves prior to brewing show full chrysanthemum buds so if you have certain plant allergies you may want to check to make sure this wont bother you.
But if you can drink this it is wonderful.
Taken with a sprinkle of sugar.
As with the vast majority of Golden Moon teas this blend demonstrates a balance between flavoring agent and tea. Neither fight for dominance. Both can be tasted. Which is awesome and something I think more blending professionals should aspire to.
It seems that the rose is the balancing part of the tea. First hint is of an almost tin-ie (for all of you non-musicians out there tin-ie is a description for a sound that has no resonance… most commonly piccolos and trumpets… you know… the annoying instruments ;p ) black tea. After that the rose flavor develops over the black tea base.
Obviously this is extremely floral but the rose flavoring does not become a perfumed mess when chilled which is nice.
What makes this blend work though is a tertiary flavor that reminds me of teas that are defined as smoky. Think Lapsang super duper light. I honnestly don’t know if this is a quality in the leaves they chose to blend with or if they added a bit of oil or what-not but I’m pretty sure that’s what keeps the flavor in this blend together.
Anyways… pleasant treat!
UGH! The tea is good, but memories of this make me shutter. This was when I drank tea only cuz it was supposed to help me lose weight. I didn’t like the taste so I added mint to every tea I drank. And I steeped all my tea for 5 min…. I want to smack my former self! So much better when steeped properly.
Taken with no additives.
This is my favorite tea. It is rich, sweet and decadent all by itself. This is one of 2 teas ever that I have never gotten sick of and I really believe that is because the flavor is so subtle. The mouth on this is very rich feeling so you don’t just feel like you are drinking flavored water. There is a distinct texture to this tea that coats and feels almost hearty.
And in complete contrast the flavor lingers subtly almost like a breath of sweet air.
After taking the time to season a yixing with this particular treat tea the flavor is slightly bolder but remains subtle and non-offensive. I’ve been waiting to see if the coconut would take an artificial over tone after being enhanced by the pot but it continues to remain wonderful.
This is the last of my sample and I am purposely oversteeping to see the difference. I steeped for about 5 to 6 mins. I strongly suggest this. It has more flavor and it isn’t bitter but on the verge of maybe getting bitter if steeped longer. The pineapple like scent DOES come out more if steeped longer. I am going to try multiple infusions.
As many of you know I do NOT put anything in my tea…ever…including my chai (unless it’s added by someone else ie a cafe/restaurant while purchasing). This is the first time I am trying this Chai and I must say I LOVE IT. It’s lite and creamy with a little bit of spice. I have had Chai that are very spicy and over the top and know why people put cream or milk or soy equiv. in it but this doesn’t need anything! It’s a nice calming/relaxing blend that is very Creamy as is.
This is going to be a very trying day for me as I am having a lot of trouble getting my fingers to communicate correctly with my brain. Case in point [though you can’t see what just happened and will simply have to take my word for it]: I just had to delete and re-type the word “communicate” seven times. And three more just now.
If this is indicative of how the rest of the typing I’m going to be doing to get schoolwork done today, maybe I should just cut to the chase and start crying now.
Luckily, during some of life’s gloomier and more frustrating sequences, we have tea. And I picked a good one this morning.
I can see this becoming a staple.
Carolyn mentioned in her review that she caught a flash of midori when she drank this and that is exactly what I parse out. For me it’s more present in the smell than in the taste, but that’s perfectly fine by me. Anyone who’s ever had midori knows how sweet it is, [and for those of you who don’t know…er, it’s pretty sweet] and so to have it take over the taste in this tea would be cloying.
Don’t get me wrong, midori is actually my absolutely favorite liqueur. Midori sours are my go-to drink when I’m out because I’m a girly drinker and I don’t like to taste the alcohol in what I’m sipping on. But, that’s a different class of drinking. When I’m drinking tea I don’t want to think that I’m drinking alcoholic kool-aid.
Sometimes when I sniff this as the scent rises out of the cup, I think I’m smelling apple cider, which is also something I enjoy quite a bit. The scent of the leaves themselves has little hints of both the melon and the cider, but also something else I can’t place. As a single entity, it smells a little bit like candy.
The tea is light, but has the softness in its flavor that honeydew melon, or perhaps cantaloupe contribute. I find it subtle and calming. There are likely to be aspects of it that I’m not picking up presently, but I’m too busy typing and retyping characters to be too bothered at the present. I expect I’ll be spending some quality time with it in the future.
This tasting note has been brought to you by Carolyn, the letter K, and Mavis Beacon.