Golden Moon TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlogging from the weekend in Louisiana.
This tea has officially become a required vacation staple. Uncontrollable brewing parameters? Pshaw! This tea is forgiving enough to take it! Bad tasting water? No problem! This is strong enough to cover it up and still taste delightful. This tea is a hero in my book. ♥
Whee! Smoky! I kind of feel like this is so smoky that it is seeping smoke out my pores. But I like this one – it’s a bit sweeter and much less tarry than any other lapsang souchong I’ve had. So it is super-smoky but it isn’t thick or too heavy. Lighter bodied for such a strongly smoky tea. Really glad I got a tin of this. It’s my favorite lapsang souchong, hands down.
Had a little side by side tasting of this and ROT’s lapsang souchong with my dad pre-present opening tonight. Ultimately he preferred ROT’s as it is a bit of a stronger taste and with a fuller body but I liked this one. It sweeter and softer with a note of a faint honey taste running through the tea. It is a thinner-bodied tea and not as dark and murky as ROT’s. There is a smoky flavor all over this tea but nothing overpowering. Instead, it is smooth and lovely. I will be ordering more of this one.
The dry leaf smells like meat that’s been soaked in soy sauce before smoking. Or like the meat has been smoked at too high of a temperature and almost burned but didn’t quite. Instead, it’s just really really dark. And salty. I only have the ROT’s to compare it to and this one smells more… carcinogenic.
All brewed up, this tea doesn’t smell near as strong as ROT’s, but instead of sweet maple tones to the smell, I get… pickle. BBQ’ed pickle. There’s a tartness in is somewhat vinegar-y. The husband was actually intrigued enough by the smell to try this before I did and his response was “Not a fan, but good.” I asked him explain because that’s… confusing. He replied that it was a good smoky taste but was too much for him – there was nothing else to it, unlike with overly smoked brisket, at least there is brisket under there. (He pretty much felt the same way about ROT’s – he felt no need to drink Liquid Smoke).
It’s cooled a little so I’m ready to try it. The scent I inhale is sweeter than what I was smelling before. No sweet maple or anything but no vinegar/pickle either. Just like a sweeter BBQ sauce. The taste initially is a lot milder than ROT’s, but it seems to expand in my mouth. Faint smoky tea building until my mouth is filled with a smoky but smooth flavor. If I keep sipping, that taste builds but if I take a little longer between sips, it fades.
I can actually get a little tea undertone to this after I swallow. It doesn’t appear regularly but rather when it’s been a bit longer between my sips so the smoke flavor that has built up in my mouth has faded some. Also, I’m getting a sweet, somewhat meat-like aftertaste.
I’m actually really liking this. I mean, I don’t think I could drink it every day, but I do really like it. To the point that, depending on how the second (and maybe third?) steeps go, I would seriously consider adding this to a GM order when I make one. It’s mild when compared to the ROT but definitely not too mild. Just really smooth and not overpowering. Definitely distinctive but…. relaxing and pleasant. I hope I have enough left of this for a second cup because I want to do a tasting with my dad over Christmas of this one and ROT’s – because if anyone could appreciate a smoke tea, it would be him.
ETA: Second steep @ 6:00. Smooth, smoky, sweet and really yummy. Yeah, I’m going to have to order some of this.
Third steep @ 8:00. Smooth, very sweet and a tail of smoky. SO. FREAKIN. GOOD.
And another tea is out of my pantry! YAY! Slowly I’m getting rid of the little single or double cup amounts of leaf I have. Whee!
Honestly, not as good as the first time I had it. I let it cool too long and they honey pear flavors have flattened out and gotten musty. And overall, there’s just too much honey taste to it.
Didn’t get to have this at work so I’m having it now that I am home.
Holy crap does the dry leaf smell like pears! Big, juicy, mess-making pears. Wow! That’s a slight, possible floral smell added to it that is maybe the honey? No idea. 98% of this is full on pear smell.
So my timer went off and I went into the kitchen to pour my cup? HOLY HONEY MONKEYS, BATMAN! I was still a few feet from the counter when I got slammed with succulent fruit juiciness and honey. The honey smell is very obvious now and makes it smell like pears, soaked in honey. Quite why they are soaked in honey, no one knows, because it stops them tasting like pears and makes them taste like honey… and if you wanted honey, you could just… buy honey. Instead of pears.
ahem But I digress.
Sipping on the tea though and the BAM ness of the honey pear is in the scent and the actual taste is much more normal and sane. There is honey, then tea, then pear, then honey again. It is like a lightly flavored pear tea was sweetened with honey. Or maybe a gentle tea was sweetened with honey and then had a splash of pear juice added.
This is smooth with a little dryness showing up right after I swallow but quickly fading. It’s sweet but in a wild, honey/musky fruit way. And the body is pretty light. No desire or need to chew the tea here (which I might actually enjoy…) I really want to see how this will turn out when cooler, but I may be too impatient (and it may be too yummy) for me to see. I think a bit more pear is coming out, but again, I’m impatient.
So this all sounds great, right? So why is my rating just at the lime green happy face and not higher? This seems like it has all the elements of wonderfulness: strong and recognizable smell, no chemical taste, the flavoring doesn’t overpower the tea, no additives needed to make it yummy….
I dislike honey.
Yeah, I know. I’m weird. Just not a big fan of honey. Sure, I’ll mix it with mustard and dip chicken into it. I have occasionally put it on a biscuit. But generally, I’m pretty particular about my honey. I go for the lighter, sweeter honeys – orange blossom over plum (which strikes me as a very dark-tasting, wild honey), the local wildflower honey over sourwood honey. I don’t even really like the taste of the ‘typical’ clover honey. And this honey strikes me as a slightly-darker-tasting-than-clover honey. So while I recognize that this is a good tea, this is just something that’s not up my alley.
However, those that like pears and honey both? Will probably love this one. Now I vote that GM makes a pear tea (I don’t think there is one in my sample box, right?) because this tea minus the honey, I think I’d LOVE.
My husband is a fan of all things caramel, so I gave this sample to him. I’m snagging sips now as he’s on the phone.
I taste a bit of the oolong, but mostly burnt sugar caramel taste. It’s interesting, but I’m not so much of a fan of it that I would buy it. We’ll see what he thinks of it.
I might like it better if it was sweetened, but it’s his cup, and he doesn’t sweeten. :-(
Here are his words (until I can get him to get his own account):
It’s a very mellow oolong. The sweetness of the caramel is present but there’s not a lot of burnt sugar. It’s subtle and pleasant.
I’d drink it again, but am not impressed enough with it to buy it. It’s probably a good afternoon home from work, relax tea. Due to the caffeine content it would have to be early, though.
Oh my god. I think I’m in LOVE.
I’ve been wanting to try chai, but I didn’t know how, and frankly, the process can seem somewhat intimidating. But takgoti and Auggy really broke it down for me, and I ended up using takgoti’s super-long chai special process (which I think is really close to Samovar’s, but what do I know?). Anyway, when I opened the packet of Kashmiri, my nose did a dance and then died from happiness. It’s so rich and spicy-smelling and warm and inviting. I can smell the cloves and cinnamon and cardamom. And it all smells like a heavenly mixture of wonderful.
I used the entire packet for this one, and followed takgoti’s brewing instructions, which I will type out for one serving right here:
1 cup of water, 1 cup of milk/milk equivalent (I used vanilla soy, as I’m lactose intolerant), 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of chai (I used the entire GM packet).
Boil water and sugar together in a saucepan until sugar dissolves into water. Into a syrup.
Add the chai, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the milk, simmering and stirring.
When it comes to a boil (be careful that it doesn’t boil over!), turn the heat off and let it sit for a long time. Like 7-10 minutes long. I let it sit for around 8-9 or so.
Strain and serve.
OH MY GOD. The mixture smelled AMAZING cooking. Seriously. It was like this fragrant warm beverage. Everything you ever think of when you think the word “chai.” It’s got a light brown color, and it smells delicious. And the taste is nothing short of amazing. I can taste all the spices individually, but they meld together. And amazingly enough, I am tasting a tea flavor as well. I can’t pick out green and black and whatnot, but I don’t think that’s the point of chai. It’s supposed to just be a nice and spicy and warn and delicious milky beverage. And that’s what I have right here. This would probably taste better without the nuttiness of the soy, but it does add an interesting dimension. I would definitely want to try this with my Very Vanilla Silk, which tastes like a vanilla milkshake. Mmmm.
I did get more than 8 oz. of chai… it was more like 12. So I have about a half-cup that’s going into the fridge to chill. And I bet that’ll taste amazing when it comes out.
Seriously, I’m so happy that I bit the bullet and actually made this a more proper and authentic way instead of steeping it normally and then just dumping milk into it. It tastes much deeper and well-rounded as a result. Full of flavor and deliciousness. I’m having a tea-gasm here. Can I tell you how it compares to other chais? Absolutely not. I think this one overall isn’t very aggressive with its spices. It’s more mellow and comforting. The only thing I regret is that I don’t have more of this GM blend to use!
Very dark amber in the cup. With most teas, the bottom of the cup can be seen – not with this, it is very nearly opaque. This tea tastes exactly as most people describe, strong and earthy. This is a tea that one generally has to get used to – it will be an acquired taste for most people.
The “earthy” taste – some people just call it strange – comes from a unique ingredient that appears during the curing: fungus, bacteria, or mold. Anyone who has ever scraped out the deep blue veins from a strong Danish cheese and licked the mold off the knife is going to recognize the source of the “earthy” taste in Pu-erh immediately.
Extremely old (40-50+ years) Pu-erhs are known to have visible strands of blue mold. Even on younger Pu-erhs, the mold is still present, just not visible. It is that fungal growth that gives it the unique taste.
The age of a Pu-erh is important when thinking about the tea, Golden moon does state what year it may be from but they describe the ingredients in the tea as: Aged Chinese Tea from the Last Century. Pretty vague, but given the price, the tea probably a recent vintage from the last 2-3 years.
We brewed this for 2 minutes, 30 seconds using boiling water.
Today has been a pretty rough day but thanks to takgoti and teaplz I’ve finally gotten in a good enough mood to feel up to making comfort tea. At least I hope this will be comfort tea. Here’s hoping.
Larger sample size for this one – looks like I’ll be able to try this one twice! The leaf smells pretty cool but rather different than what I was expecting because I get a distinct cream soda smell from it I was expecting the jasmine to be the strongest flavor but it looks like the vanilla wins.
The tea looks pretty light – kind of a dark cider color… maybe I should have done a little longer? But I’m impatient. So I didn’t. Smells nice though. Not getting cream soda anymore (which is a bit sad but ultimately okay because I’m not sure if I’m ready to drink cream soda tea), but there seems to be some chocolate smell in there tucked under the vanilla. Or maybe a cocoa scent is more accurate. It does smell good. Vanilla (homemade-ice-cream vanilla, not high-and-sweet-vanilla-cake-from-a-box vanilla) with that cocoa note peaking out and then a soft floral of the jasmine on the tail end. It makes me want to eat s’mores. I’m nervous now because I’m afraid the taste will be a let down. This just smells SO good. I can’t see how the taste won’t be a let down.
Okay, it’s not a let down but it is definitely tastes different than it smells. Smell-wise I get sweet and sweet and a little rich and sweet. The taste is a little darker. The tea is more evident. And the aftertaste is back to a bit of sweet vanilla cream soda (but not as strong as was in the smell of the dry leaf). But sipping this is a pretty awesome experience. The taste changes and expands as it hits my tongue. At first, it is a darker, almost graham cracker taste (sorry – the s’mores association is stuck in my head), or maybe even caramel. But then the second I swallow, the taste lightens and expands – first with the vanilla and then with the jasmine. I still can find some similarity to cream soda, but it’s pretty neat and not overwhelming (and this is from someone that doesn’t like cream soda).
I’m a bit curious as to how this would be with sugar, so for the last half of my cup, I’m going to sprinkle a little in. And apparently I’m going to put a little in my keyboard too. Oops. The sugar shortens the taste expansion a bit and makes the similarity to cream soda more evident. The dark taste at the front is muted and I almost instantly taste the vanilla. And that vanilla taste seems to continue a bit more to cover up the jasmine. The sugar also adds a slight aftertaste that makes me think eventually I will need either gum or water to cleanse, but prior to the sugar addition, the tea left me with a pleasantly clean and light jasmine aftertaste. Ultimately, I prefer this without sugar but neither way is bad.
This reminds me a lot of two of my favorite flavored teas, SerendipiTEA’s City Harvest Black and Colonille. I’d rank this as number three in that group, which is pretty good company to be in. It’s distinctive enough that I don’t feel like I might as well drink one of those other teas but similar enough in the nicely flavored vanilla and chocolaty tones that I do group them together.
So yeah, different than what I was expecting from the smell but honestly? The difference is good. Sure, it’s not quite like eating s’mores but the depth of flavor this tea has is really nifty. Less like candy and more like comfort tea. An easy 4/5 stars for me.
Our taster was disappointed with this tea. Vanilla Black tea is her number one favorite tea of all time (as in – vanilla tea must never be missing from the cupboard) but this one was found lacking in the vanilla flavor.
Golden Moon uses Vanilla extract and pieces of bean. Our taster said that it seemed like the vanilla flavor never took. There is a method for making vanilla bean-based teas that goes far beyond simply blending the ingredients together. The dry tea leaves need to absorb the vanilla oils and aroma and this takes time (about a month) and a sealed container (similar to making vanilla sugar) – using that method reduces the need for extracts which is a shortcut method.
Using extract to flavor vanilla tea is acceptable practice but it doesn’t always work well; some blenders manage it better than others. Whatever batch our sample came from; the result was disappointing.
Our taster also thought the tea as a whole seemed a little stale. It came to use in GM’s usual heat-sealed packaging so if it was stale or off then there may have been a storage issue at some point in its handling.
Golden Moon’s brewing instructions were followed: Infuse 3-4 minutes in freshly boiled water.
So, I… er… hrm.
This one difficult. Really difficult. It’s my first experience with lapsang souchong, and… I. Wow, I’m just flabbergasted.
Well, let’s start with the basics, shall we? I was actually really looking forward to lapsang souwhatever because I really liked the smokiness of gunpowder, and figured that this was the black tea equivalent. And let me tell you, from the get go, Golden Moon’s blend smells fantastic! It smells like BACON. I was practically skipping around my kitchen, sniffing the little package and smiling. Bacon! Bacon tea! MMMMM. The smell is like hickory BBQ, savory and sweet and a bit ashy. I was entranced. I kept thinking of foods to pair with it. “I bet this would be AWESOME with eggs!”
So anyway, I steeped this one up, and that’s when I ran into the first sign of trouble. The leaves smell like ashes. Wet ashes from a cigarette. I’m not a fan of cigarettes at all; in fact, I pretty much loathe the smell of them. So now I’m wrinkling my nose and dumping those leaves, stat. The liquid still has a smoky smell, but there’s really a wet ash smell down in the pit of it. And now I’m not so sure anymore about how I feel about this one… The infusion was a really pretty dark copper, by the way.
So I brace myself and take my first sip. And I’m utterly confused and perplexed. It’s just… weird. Very savory, and very deep and dark. Ultra-smokey. Like I just inhaled a bunch of smoke from a campfire and somehow it’s in liquid form and now it’s in my tummy. I think I’m tasting hints of pine, and touches of the black tea base, but I’m just getting really weirded out by the entire experience.
I almost feel like I’m drinking carcinogens in a mug. Seriously. I keep thinking to myself, is this good for me? As it’s cooling down, the upfront ashy taste is mellowing out, but I’m sipping this one slowly. Very, very slowly. I’m actually not really sure if I like this or not. If I’m just so weirded out by the entire sensory experience and can’t process it properly. If it tastes awesome or just plain horrible. I’m actually leaning more towards the horrible side with this.
And I’m actually sort of tremendously disappointing. My entire family is now complaining that my kitchen smells like smoke. Hell, I’m pretty sure I smell like smoke. This is just very, very strange. I can’t get over how WEIRD this is. Okay, I know I’m babbling though, but… it’s weird. WEIRD.
I think I’m done now.
A little birdie that goes told me I should try this one so I thought I’d brew it up. The jasmine smell is lovely but I’ve become a bit cautious (and pretty darn picky) with jasmine flavored things, so we shall see.
This sampler has 4g of tea, so I’m making a big cup. The packaging states that this is green tea but that it should be brewed in water ‘just below the boiling point’, which I am taking as 195° (and water that has been freshly boiled ‘but allowed to cool slightly’ I’m taking as 175°). But since it is green tea, I want to do it at 175°. But I’m not. We’ll see how it goes. And in fact, the leaves don’t look super green. More dark olive maybe. And once the leaves are wet, I think they’d definitely be classed as olive.
On one hand, that’s good right? Not a super-green leaf so it should be happier at a higher temp, yes? But at the same time… olive? I would be lying if I weren’t starting to get just a little concerned. After all, GM has to strike out sometime, yes?
Hmmmmm…. I’m a bit torn. It definitely isn’t a strike out, but I don’t know if I love it. It’s different than what I was expecting and from what I’ve had before but I can’t quite figure out why. There’s an additional flavor there that I don’t normally get with jasmine teas.
AH! I’m a dork! I just figured out what that end taste/aftertaste is! TEA! There’s the blip at the end, right before I swallow, that is almost all green tea and then it reappears in the aftertaste when I inhale (after an exhale of jasmine). It makes this one of the more deeply flavored jasmines that I’ve had. Samovar’s had a good depth to it but a more cookie depth. This one has more of a salty, almost astringent Chinese green depth which, as it flows back into the jasmine, gives a bit of a tang for me. Of course, along with being hard to please with my jasmines, I’m hard to please with my Chinese greens.
So, is it good? Well, it’s not fake tasting or heavily done so sure. It’s good. Is it in the same class as there coconut pouchong, sugar caramel oolong or rose? Nope. It’s a good jasmine that I don’t hate and it has a brilliant scent to it which is so delightful that I could probably smell my cup for days. But I like Samovar’s jasmine pearl better for a jasmine tea with depth and I like Adagio’s jasmine silver needle best for a soft, fluffy, light jasmine. I think both of those are better done than this one, at least for my own personal tastes.
That being said, I might enjoy this more if I had done it at 175°.
ETA: Resteep at 175° for 4mins. Still good but not in love. This one reminds me a lot of Adagio’s Jasmine #12. That’s a good thing.
Auggy and I just busted open our packets of GM’s Rose Tea together, and had a little e-tea party! So I bet her review is forthcoming as well, as we’ve been discussing the tea throughout our entire sipping process. Good times!
When I opened the package, the immediate smell of rose hit my nose. This really is rose. I can’t describe it any other way. If you’ve stuck your face in a rose and taken a deep breath, this is that smell in its most concentrated form. And let me tell you, it’s an absolutely gorgeous smell. Fresh and inviting and glowing. Floral, yes, but not overwhelming to the point of throw-uppy-ness. And not fake rose at all, because that’d be disgusting. The tea itself is some black. It looks like a Ceylon, and the smell of it does come across.
The resulting tea-and-flower juice was actually a bit darker than I expected, but still somewhere around the copper color of the Ceylons. In the smell of the liquid, the rose was a bit more muted than the dry, but it was still there. And now it was mingling deliciously with a black tea smell.
Let me tell you, this is another winner by Golden Moon. At my first sip, I could just taste the quality of the flavoring. The rose is very much a present and dominant force, but it’s neither overpowering nor domineering. It tastes rich but light, and definitely floral but not overwhelmingly so. This one has a lovely sweetness that’ll creep up on you after multiple sips in a row, and lingers on the tongue well after the tea is all gone and in your tummy.
The only criticism I could have of this tea is not with the flavor of the rose, but with the black tea itself. It’s fairly weak. I can definitely taste that it’s something of quality, as it doesn’t have bitterness or astringency, but it definitely plays second fiddle to the rose. Not that that’s a bad thing, per se, but it would be nice if the black brought something a little stronger to the flavor profile. I feel like the tea would be better rounded out if that was the case. The black did start to make an appearance as the cup began to cool, but by that point I was already at the bottom and nearly finished.
That being said, this was still really tasty and yummy, and I finished the cup pretty quickly. Could I drink this every day? Absolutely not. I’d get tired of it immediately. I probably couldn’t drink another cup today. But this one is another testament to the wonderfulness that is Golden Moon!
I can’t help but compare this tea to the Rose Congou I had this morning. The smell of the leaf is SO much better (not that that would be hard, mind). While the other smelled sour and a little floral, this smells like roses. Actual roses plus maybe a tiny little hint of candy. The dry leaf battle totally goes to this one.
Wow, as this flowed out of my handy dandy ingenuiTEA, I’m hit with a soft wall of rose scent. It actually reminded me a bit of Teavana’s now discontinued Rose Marzipan. But, you know, without the marzipan. But now that the tea is fully dispensed into my Totoro mug, it’s muted a bit. I can smell the rose, but I can also totally smell the tea. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled the tea when we are talking about a flavored tea. It’s always hiding underneath the flavoring. But not this one! This makes me happy.
No sugar for this (though I do have some in my desk, just in case). Oooh, don’t need sugar though. This is nice. Smooth and sweet. Very rose-y, but not like I swallowed a flower bush. I seem to get it more of a distinct rose on the exhale after the sip. Otherwise is it a sweet, fluffy tasting tea. As it cools, I seem to get more tea flavor out of it.
This isn’t an overly deep tea taste-wise but it does have more… roundness (for want of a better word) than the Rose Congou this morning. This is better than the rose/floral aspect of Rose Marzipan, too. I think the roundness of flavor is coming from the tea base (Ceylon, it seems like?) and it increases as it cools. My last sip had a little edge of something that was delicious and I want more of but I’m afraid I’m too impatient to let it cool enough to get that.
This tea makes me feel like I’m strolling through my grandmother’s rose garden. She used to have rows and rows of bushes. Strangers would pull off the highway to compliment her. It was fairly impressive. And this tea makes me mentally wander down one of the rows. It’s not so overpowering that I feel like I’m stopping to stick my nose in the closest rose bush, just wandering through the nicely spaced rows, enjoying the scent of rose lingering in the air.
This isn’t a tea I’m going to reach for daily because ultimately, I find roses (both tea-wise and flower-wise) a bit too perfume-y and sweet (even (or especially?) when the flavoring tastes as natural as this) for daily contact. But this is a lovely make-me-mellow type tea. Again, mental rose garden.
So the rose tea battle goes to Golden Moon. I will still try the Rose Congou sugar-less some time in the future (this weekend maybe?) but I have a feeling it won’t be able to compete.
ETA: Did a second steep just because I can. Initially had the timer set for 4:30 but the tea looked a little light so I added a minute. It’s still a light (but pretty) bronze color. Still smells lovely but is more similar in scent to the Rose Congou this morning. Tastes a little more like it, too, since it isn’t quite as smooth. Much thinner too. In fact, this is a (still) smoother version of this morning’s tea but without sugar.
In other words, Golden Moon’s SECOND STEEP is equivalent (and actually a hair better) than a similar tea’s FIRST steep. Go Golden Moon. That being said, this tea is probably not the best one for a second steep.
I had a feeling that I wanted straight, unadulterated tea this morning. So I rooted through the glorious Golden Moon sampler and came out with this French Breakfast. From what the packaging says, it’s an estate Ceylon, which I found quite interesting. I like Ceylon, but I usually think it’s better suited for blending instead of as a stand-alone.
The dry leaves smell like… black tea. That earthy aroma that just screams “default!” to me. They’re fairly small and wiry, so if you’re expecting a show in your teapot, don’t put this one in. This one brews up to be a very pretty red/copper color, quite typical of the Ceylon varietal but still very yummy looking. I can detect a slight sweetness in the smell, but other than that, it smells like… Ceylon. As do the wet leaves.
I have a fairly difficult time describing Ceylon. The word I usually use is “smooth.” I think if you want to start someone out on black teas and don’t know where to begin, Ceylon would be an excellent choice. It’s familiar, in that it tastes like a WAY higher quality Lipton (and I’m pretty sure their normal teabags are Ceylon dust/fannings). It’s pretty much a baseline tea. As a result, I’m never completely blown away by it – it’s not surprising, but it is comfortingly familiar. Like that old sweater you don’t wear as often, but still keep around just because on cold winter days it feels good to snuggle down with.
I actually found that when I stopped sipping the tea and went off to do something else, the flavor actually subtly expanded to include that elusive honey-like note Golden Moon describes in their tasting notes. It’s a sweetness that doesn’t usually come out particularly strong in black teas, so that was a welcome surprise.
Something like this French Breakfast would be a great daily drinker. While I definitely prefer something with a bit more complexity and oomph to it, this one is smooth and entirely sippable.