Golden Moon Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

40

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.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I totally agree about the bacon smell. :)
A colleague of mine has described LS as ’standing in a smokefilled room with a mouth full of water. :)

It can be a bit much on it’s own. I would suggest trying with a bit of milk? That can smooth it out some. I also seem to like it more when in a blend these days, but given your initial reaction to it I’m not sure it would really help you much. Bit like rooibos IMO, for most people it’s a love or hate thing.

teaplz

As it’s hitting room temperature, it’s definitely getting a bit more tolerable and bacon-like, but the wet smell of ashes was just killing me! Maybe I’ll try adding a bit of milk to smooth it out, or even bringing the steep time way down. GM suggest 5-7 minutes, so yeah, it’s like smoke to the extreme.

And I LOVE bacon, so this is just a cup of weird for me.

Auggy

I reserve the right to recommend you try ROT’s lapsang souchong once I see how GM’s compares to it. It was more sweet cigar and maple-smoked ham than cigarette ash (gross, btw) but I might have had a better reaction to it because I approached with fear, not anticipation. Maybe I’ll get the chance to try this one this weekend.

Angrboda

7 minutes definitely sounds like a very long steep for such a strong tea. Auggy’s mention of maple-smoked makes me want to try and sweeten a cup of mine with a little bit of maple syrup. :p

sophistre

Man. This is super-depressing to me. The fireside smoke aspect sounded so alluring to me, even if only in small doses now and then. I’ve rarely ever hated smelling like a good campfire…such a cozy smell…and, well, living on the 18th floor the way I do, you can guess how often I get to smell THAT anymore.

I don’t smoke though. And I am allergic. And the smell of intentionally-inhaled-smoke repulses me. I will be eagerly watching for your updates to see whether or not you can make this work for you!

Bethany

Yeah, 7 minutes is WAY too long for a Lapsang Souchong. 5 is the most I can stand.

It really is one of those love it or hate it things. I have Adagio’s version and I adore it.

teaplz

I did it at 6, but man… oh man. This tea is now an entity that is sitting around my house, preying on everyone that walks into my basement. Seriously. Everyone’s like, “WHAT IS THAT SMELL WHAT DID YOU DO.”

feel it’s PERMEATED EVERY ONE OF MY PORES and now I’m just one big piece of smoked meat.

Cofftea

You get bacon? I just get campfire. 52teas has a maple bacon tea if you’re interested.;)

teaplz

OMG I needed to wash out and dismantle my IngenuiTEA about 7 times just to get the smell out. NEVER AGAIN.

Bethany

Hey, how much do you have left of the sample? Interested in a trade?

Janni

@cofftea: Maple. Bacon. TEA?!? Oh dear, must investigate. Sounds much better than this. I’m not the biggest lapsang souchong fan either, BTW. D:

Jillian

I think I remember someone describing Lapsang as wet socks that got dropped in a campfire, LOL. To me it’s more like liquid BBQ, bleh! I’ll stick to my Russian Caravan, thank you very much! :D

teaplz

Bethany, there is probably ~1/2 cup left, so it’s probably not a good idea to trade it away, hehe. I’ll probably give it to my boyfriend as a “surprise.”

Jillian, wet socks! Hahahaha! Russian Caravan… I know it’s related to Lapsang, but how does it differ?

Ricky

I’m going to have a field day with this tea! Maybe I should make some pasta with this tea. Bacon tea flavored pasta, yum! xD

Carolyn

Lapsang Souchong is one of the very few teas I sweeten. I also add creamer to it (but I do that with all blacks). Taken like that the flavors round out a bit. No question that it’s a weird tea experience, but it is one that I will probably do again. I have the sense that there is something in me that likes this tea, I just need to make contact. I think it would be wonderful to marinate tofu in.

Jillian

Russian Caravan is a blended tea that contains Lapsang mixed with other black teas, usually Keemum or Ceylon – so it’s a lot less smokey. However how much less smokey it is can really vary from company to company as there are no set ratios for the amount of Lapsang in the mix.

Angrboda

Jillian, if you added a green tea to that it sounds like you would end up with something similar to my gunpowder blend. To think I’ve been pretty much sitting on a nearly Russian Caravan all this time and I didn’t know it.

teaplz

I didn’t think that the smokiness of Gunpowder and the smokiness of Lapsang tasted the same at all. They’re actually really distinctive. Lapsang is definitely the stronger of the two, with a more of a southern BBQ taste. Gunpowder… I can’t even describe, but it’s more mellow.

denisend

Oh, my. Russian Caravan is LESS smoky than this? I’m FRIGHTENED to try this, since I REALLY didn’t like the RC I had last year. Wow.

laurenpressley

It’s no wonder I don’t like LS…. I can’t stand bacon either!! :)

Cofftea

I agree teaplz. I think that’s also because they’re different types of tea- green just couldn’t hold up to the flavor bang of lapsang souchong.

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77
drank White Ginger by Golden Moon Tea
358 tasting notes

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Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Auggy

And…. now I want to try this one too. Right now.

Ricky

Dooooo it! We’re having a party. Lemme get teaplz while we’re at it! Let’s both spam her!

teaplz

You steeped the leaves for an HOUR?! Damn, Ricky, that’s a LONG time!

And this is SO a flavored tea.

Angrboda

It depends, I think on whether you would call a tisane a tea or not. If you would, it’s blended. If you wouldn’t, it’s flavoured. :)
On the other hand you could brew ginger on its own, which you can’t do with for example fruit flavours and the like, so therefore it would be a blend regardless.

…It’s a flavoured blend. Yes.

Ricky

Hey, in my defense that was the third infusion and I totally forgot it was sitting in the kitchen table. We have a flavor blended tea! Ahhh! You guys are going to classify the teas from now on.

Cofftea

This is on my top 2 to try from this sampler! An HR??? The thought of ginger steeping for an hr physically hurts my mouth:) And I’d go for blended since the leaves themselves aren’t actually flavored. That’s the difference for me.

Ricky

Yeah, I think that hour steeping might of made the ginger too strong. The white tea flavor seems to have disappeared, but what’s left is an incredible sore throat ginger kick. Yack.

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59
drank Jasmine Tea by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

Preparing the entire sample, gutsy:)

Ricky

I think that GM’s plain tea are good, not amazing. It doesn’t help that you’ve been drinking their blends lately =P. See this is why I wanted to drink all their plain tea before moving onto the blends.

Auggy

@Cofftea, Well, it was either do the whole sample or have a tiny cup. Give me a big cup!

@Ricky, I don’t think I’d call this a plain tea though. Well, or a blend either. I have been drinking flavored stuff from them so far – 3 for 3. I do need to branch out and have some unflavored stuff, though!

Cofftea

@Auggy, I agree- but since you were leary about this one I thought you might go w/ a smaller cup so you could do 2 sets of steeping parameters.

Auggy

Very true! But ultimately I’m a more ‘damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead’ kinda gal.

Ricky

Sorry, my definition of plain is when the only ingredient is a single type of tea leaf. Jasmine Pearl, Gunpowder, Sencha, though I’d call English Breakfast (plain). I guess plain meaning standard types.

I also interchange the term blended tea with flavored tea, because it’s a blend of different ingredients.

Ahh, this reminds me of anthropology ;)

Auggy

The evolution and deconstruction of words and meanings! Hehe! Sometimes I include jasmine (and milk) flavored teas in with the ‘normal’ teas but I’m not consistent. I should work on that. Be decisive.

Ricky

I know, there needs to be an official Steepster Wiki. Then again Rose Tea could technically be considered normal. I noticed it was being offered on the menu at two places I visited today. Oh the dilemma!

teaplz

Wheee! Well, it didn’t win any prizes, but it was still halfway decent! This one SMELLS SO GOOD. And it was my first jasmine, so I have nothing to compare it to. But it didn’t taste like old-lady-perfume, which is good!

I let my water cool for a good three minutes before I steeped this one, which probably put the temperature probably around 180, so maybe that’s why I liked it a bit better? I didn’t get a salty green taste… I got more of the traditional green sweetness. Interesting, though! Still, above average and YAY SAMPLES.

I think there are 3 categories:
plain tea
flavored tea
blended tea

Ricky

Wikipedia lying to me =O. That’s absurd! They have an article on blending / flavored tea and it’s TOGETHER!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_blending_and_additives

Auggy

But what about a blended Earl Grey? Would that be flavored? Or blended? Or will my head just explode???

And I’m with you Ricky – blended is not flavored! Well, unless it is blended AND flavored. But I refuse to think about that.

Ricky

AHHH! I feel a headache coming.

teaplz

Here’s how I see it:
plain: one type of tea, no additives.
blended: different types of tea, no flavors (i.e. Irish Breakfast is Ceylon and Assam blacks)
flavored: additional add-ons to either a plain or blended base (like a coconut pouchong)

Ricky

What’s Tippy Earl Grey =D

Ingredients: Black Tea, Oil of Bergamot…

Is it plain? Or is it flavored? I mean they do all lavender into it.

Auggy

I’m gonna go with teaplz on the classifications (and try to get jasmine and silk oolongs in my mental “flavored” category – because they are). And so EG would be flavored. Yes?

So I think now I’m going to get a blended (?) herbal tea. Multiple herbals, no flavoring. Is blend, yes?

Ricky

I agree that jasmine is a flavor, BUT if Jasmine is a flavored tea. Then what is it’s base tea? Green tea, but what type? Just like Gunpowder is a green tea. And what is Jasmine Pearl? I’m so confused!

Foxtrot from Adagio would be a blend. It’s made up for multiple base tea (chamomile, peppermint, rooibos).

Auggy

The tea base on a jasmine could be anything. I’ve had green, white and oolong teas scented or flavored with jasmine. And I think GM has a black jasmine tea? Which I really want to try.

Wait, but would there be a difference between a jasmine that’s been scented/flavored with jasmine flowers and then the flowers removed and a tea that has jasmine petals blended in?

teaplz

Earl Grey could technically be BOTH a flavored and a blended if there is bergamot AND multiple types of tea in there. But I’m pretty sure it’s normally just flavored.

Green is the base of jasmine tea, but just like we don’t know what exactly the base is. Pearl just refers to the shape that it’s rolled into, I think.

I’m pretty sure that Harney & Sons classifies all their teas like this.

Ricky

Yes, yes. Jasmine is a flavor, but you can’t call green tea, green tea. I mean Sencha, Dragonwell, Gunpowder are all considered Jasmine. I guess my question is what is the green tea base that GM is using as it’s labeled “green tea leaves”. I mean Ceylon is a base (right?), it’s black tea leaves, but the base is Ceylon.

Ahh the confusion!

Jasmine scented would be flavored? Physical Jasmine petals = blended?

But wait, would that mean Adagio’s flavor teas are really blended teas? Uhoh.

No. Taking teaplz’s definition of “blended: different types of tea, no flavors.” Therefore, Jasmine is a blend! Not a flavor! Oh wait, okay I’m totally confused. Can we just go back to interchanging the two words like our trusty source wikipedia?

Ricky

Ehh, ignore the confusion in the first part of my previous comment. I was typing it up before your explanation of Jasmine / Green base showed up.

Auggy

teaplz. The voice of reason in a mind-hurty world.

teaplz

Well, I wasn’t thinking so far into it as to include stand-alone herbals, but I think that if an herbal is blended with a tea, then it’s a flavored instead of a blend. A blend still creates a standard tea taste. Like Irish Breakfast or English Breakfast. Those are blends. But when you add any other additional components on top of the tea plant itself, I’d say that it’s flavored.

teaplz

http://www.harney.com/Black-Teas/departments/2/ Look at the way Harney organizes its blacks. This is how I see plain, blended, and flavored.

Auggy

Okay, you linked to that specifically so I’d be even MORE tempted to get some H&S samplers, right? Because that is what you accomplished.

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80
drank Rose Tea by Golden Moon Tea
358 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

A guy drinking rose tea. I love it:)

Ricky

I wasn’t planning to. This was on the bottom of my basket, well I tossed the basket aside and replaced it with a plastic carton. The basket was a bit too feminine =D and it didn’t go with my cardboard box aka cupboard. It messed with the feng shui or something. Kidding. Err, about the feng shui and not the basket. If GM didn’t include it in the sampler, I would of never had tried it.

Auggy

Yay! You joined our little e-tasting!

And how dare you get your A&D DFTs before me!!! Of course, I haven’t checked the mail yet so maybe? Maybe?

Ricky

YOU CAVED AS WELL!?!?! Haha, I bet teaplz secretly did too, but she’s spent so much she doesn’t want to tell us. UPS just left it on my front door. It’s NYC someone could of stolen it! They even left my front gate open, argh!

Auggy

I totally caved! Seems like when I try to suspend tea buying to clean out my pantry, I end up buying more tea!

Ricky

More companies just have to offer 1-2 cup samplers of all their tea selections like GM. That would make life easier.

Auggy

Or more dangerous.

Ricky

It’s okay, I’ll just steal your pantry afterward you make a purchase. On that note, which tea to have next!

Jillian

I love the label on the Dragonwell – so awesome! ;)

teaplz

I totes did not cave on the AD stuff. I caved on TeaGschwendner and Harney & Sons instead. EVIL.

Ricky

Are we admiring the tea or the label ;D. Oh Andrews & Dunham, how you’ve done such a good job marketing. We all admire the labels, maybe a tad too much!

Ricky

I bet they ran out of stock before you had a chance to purchase it =P. You can’t deceive me! Oh, did you purchase the dessert tea as well :D

teaplz

I haven’t caved on the dessert tea… yet… >.>

Ricky

Still a chance to get it before Christmas =D

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Still haven’t tried your DFT yet, Ricky? I couldn’t manage to wait until the next morning, even with a headache.

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77
drank Rose Tea by Golden Moon Tea
187 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Auggy

Yay! I loved our tea party! And it makes me laugh how similar our ratings and thoughts on the tea are! Get out of my mind!!!!

No wait, you’re fun. You may stay in.

Ricky

Yawns, I’m late to the game. Making my cup soon!

teaplz

THE TEA PARTY CONTINUES! Yay, Ricky! Make some rose tea and write a review for us! :D

Auggy, I luffs your brain. It’s very comfy with teacups and shared experiences. I think I’ll stay here. :)

takgoti

You guys are cute.

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70
drank Rose Tea by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec
Cofftea

When I started drinking hot tea I never thought I’d drink rose tea. Now I love it:)

Bethany

My wallet is making sad faces at you and Auggy for all of these GM reviews.. I have bookmarked the sampler..

Auggy

Instead of bookmarking, you should BUY it! Muahahahaha! :D

Ricky

+1 for purchasing it. I actually have 3 boxes of GM samplers =X. Two of which I’m giving away as gifts, of course.

Auggy

Aw, Ricky! You got me a Christmas gift! That was so nice but I’ve already got this sampler! Okay, okay. I’ll take it but only because you insist.

teaplz

Hey, the other one must be for me! Why thank you, Ricky!

Ricky

LOL, yes it’s for you two. We could use it to float Auggy’s boat and a whale while we’re at it. I’ll even purchase some licorice on the side for you, cause I know how much you love them ;)

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78

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Auggy

“That earthy aroma that just screams “default!” to me”
That cracked me up.

Cofftea

Makes me want a crepe.:)

sophistre

This almost perfectly describes my last few days. I’ve needed black tea to get by, but with most of my current black teas being rather standard fare, there are only so many ways I can describe similar flavors with different variations in strength for each note!

Rex Barrett

I like smooth and sippable, but have been in the mood for complex and dark lately. Maybe it’s the unusually cold weather we’re having. :)

Ricky

Haha, see! It was a very standard cup of tea. Nothing compares to GM’s English Breakfast for complexity. I mean a mixture of four different kinds of tea!?!

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77
drank Darjeeling Tea by Golden Moon Tea
358 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
teaplz

Ricky, did you steep this too long? Most people steep Darjeelings to around the 2-3 minute mark, from what I’ve read… and the package says 2-4 minutes. They’re a really delicate type of black.

Just want to make sure that your tea tastes awesome!

Ricky

Nope cause I thought that it didn’t have enough flavor. Steeping longer should bring out the flavor. It wasn’t bitter or anything, it just lacked flavor. It was very delicate, a bit too delicate. It’s okay, it’s still a very good darjeeling compared to the other ones I’ve drank. Like the bagged ones I carry around, arghh.

teaplz

Okay! Just wanted to make sure, hehe, because I’ve definitely oversteeped stuff sometimes. :(

Reading other people’s comments, they seem to think it’s a delicate Darjeeling too! I haven’t tried it yet, but we’ll see what happens!

Ricky

I’ve been over steeping a lot of my tea lately. I keep getting distracted or caught up in my work. I thought you liked bold teas? It’s not as light as organic green, but it’s pretty light.

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88

This caught my eye yesterday but I made the coconut pouchong instead. Today, it is this one’s turn.

More leaf in this sample so I’m making a big cup tonight. Yay! The dry leaf smells nice. Almost candy-like but not quite like a caramel chew. It brews up to a pretty dark golden liquid with a smell that reminds me of a more roasted oolong – almost a sweet cigar smell – but with heavy caramel overtones. It’s more of a rich, decadent caramel syrup that you’d put in coffee smell instead of a caramel candy smell. I imagine that comes from the burnt sugar part of the flavoring.

The taste is rich yet mild. I can’t taste a lot of oolong, however the caramel taste is such that it doesn’t taste like I’m drinking a flavored tea but more like a scented tea. (Now I’m picturing tea leaves spread out with little caramel candy buds being set on them in preparation for their opening to flavor the tea before they are switched out for more. And more. Anyone know where I can get a caramel plant?) No chemical or fake flavoring taste to be found. This is another well-flavored tea – I’m impressed!

The caramel taste is strongest on the front end, when I can smell it, too, though the smell seems more burnt/caramelized sugar. Then the tastes morphs seamlessly into a sweet dark oolong flavor of floral cigar (though no smoky hints at all – there’s just a similar sweetness) and then the finish that coats my mouth after I swallow is more of the sugar but with caramel tones. Almost like about five minutes ago I finished a dessert that had a caramel whipped cream topping.

I like the coconut pouchong best between these two, but this is still a very good tea. Darker and sweeter in taste than the coconut. But just as good of a pairing of flavoring + tea. If GM’s plain teas are as good as these two flavored have been, I’m going to be a big fan.

ETA: The second steep has lost a lot of the overt caramel/burnt sugar flavoring. Or else that was because of the spicy peanut sauce I just had. But even though the smell and taste aren’t as obvious this time around, it’s still got a great dark sweetness to it and a soft burnt sugar smell.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
teaplz

Wait till you try the English Breakfast! It’s the best one I’ve had. :) I’ve really liked everything plain in the sampler that I’ve tried. The white tea was phenomenal, but I found the Organic Green to be a bit weak. Everything has been pretty awesome.

The flavors and the tea blend so well together. That’s what I love about them. You can taste both flavors separately, but you can also taste the new flavor and blend that they create. I AM SO SPOILED.

Auggy

I was actually eying their French Breakfast yesterday! Okay, okay, I was pretty much eying ALL of it yesterday. I don’t know why but I’m turning into a sucker for any sort of non-English or Irish breakfast blend. (Okay, and I’m a bit of a sucker for those, too).

Bethany

Had my one on this one for awhile. I’m beginning to think I should just suck it up and order the GM sampler.

Auggy

DO IT! I’ve only tried two but I’m happy I got it!

sophistre

Seriously! I have yet to read one bad review…

teaplz

Bethany and sophristre, doooo itttt. :) “teareviewblog” coupon code got me free shipping. Don’t know if it works, but it’s worth a shot!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

GMT is quickly moving up my list of tea companies to try soon!

Jillian

Damnit guys, stop bragging about your GM samplers! You’re making me jealous and I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more tea until after X-mas! :P

Janni

It’s now on ye olde shopping list. But with more reviews like this, it’s going to be shooting up the charts with a bullet. :9

kat

Man, I gotta opt in here for checking out this tea – never had GM before but thats gonna change here soon!! :)

Ricky

Companies should learn from GM and start offering samplers of their tea selection. ORDER IT! It’s totally worth it.

teaplz

Delete less than a minute ago

I agree with Ricky – I’ve been able to sample so many different teas and expand my tea knowledge. Since all the samples are 1-2 cups, it’s not a huge amount of tea in your house, but it is the ENTIRE GM catalog. All 31 varieties. I don’t know of any other company that has made a sample package with every single one of their teas. It’s actually remarkable.

I mean, obviously you’re going to like some more than others, but they’re an extremely solid company, and the sampler is just FUN.

LENA

Oh man, this one sounds good. I was planning to wait until AFTER Christmas to buy more teas too. I’ll just bookmark GM.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I made a physical list of tea companies I want to try just so I could put the GMT sampler near the top. It might well be my next order next year after I drink through some of my tea.

takgoti

I CANNOT GET THIS UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER. I CANNOT GET THIS UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER. I CANNOT GET THIS UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER.

Yes, that’s me, shivering in the corner in the fetal position with my hands over my ears. LEAVE ME ALONE, WILL YOU?

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56
drank Darjeeling Tea by Golden Moon Tea
197 tasting notes

Not the greatest, a bit astringent, nice floral and fruity taste, just nothing special

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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74

Alovely tea that smells like sandalwood, tastes like honey and flowers, without being sweet, [hooray] or flowery and has a nice lingering taste. A definite keeper

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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79

This tea and I are becoming such good friends it is on the border of being ridiculous.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
takgoti

I say, the best kind of tea is the ridiculous kind!

jennlea

Absolutely!

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79

Yep. That’s right. I drank this again. Sometimes, I find a tea I can’t stop drinking and don’t want to stop drinking. So there!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
takgoti

Yeah! Stick it to ’em! Us? Stick it to someone!

jennlea

I’m really not sure what got into me! This tea must do odd things to my personality.

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79

I can’t seem to stop drinking this and I am getting worried. I am not supposed to like Earl Grey!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

This is a great blend even if you aren’t an Earl Grey Lover…I agree!

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79

It is cold in my classroom. Is working heat too much to ask for?!

I have this on my tea table next to me and have been drinking it all morning trying to warm up. This is the 1st Earl Grey I have liked so I can’t really compare it to any others. I will say that the addition of lavender seems to really balance out the overpowering nature of the bergamont and perhaps that is why I like it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Micah

Ooh! Earl Grey with lavender. Sounds nice. The last Earl Grey I had was a raspberry Earl Grey and it was great but it’s gone. So maybe I’ll have to order some of this.

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81
drank White Licorice by Golden Moon Tea
187 tasting notes

Whoo! The goal is to finish off some teaness, and I figured I’d start with tea that I wasn’t too hot on, but was still nice and somewhat non-caffeinated for bedtime. And also, to finish off bits of samples that I have lying around, when I have more tea coming in. The vicious cycle continues…

Anyway, this one today was a lot lighter than I remember it. Maybe it’s because I had not enough leaf this time around? In any case, the licorice is really soft and gasp inviting, even though I don’t particularly care for its brand of flavor. The white tea here adds a nice sweetness and backdrop to the entire thing. It’s almost sort of like a caffeinated lullaby.

I can’t see myself ordering this one again, just because I’m not the biggest fan of licorice. But people who love fennel/anise/licorice root would definitely be able to get on board with this Golden Moon offering. It’s refreshingly sweet and flavorful, while having a very authentic star anise flavor.

Pretty cool indeed.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
sophistre

So strange. I find myself thinking about this tea sometimes. Not enough to buy it, especially with cupboard space at a premium, but because it was memorable and different and unusual.

teaplz

Yeah, I think I’ll feel the same way now that it’s out of my life. It’s a good unusual, which is hard to find.

Ricky

Well that’s what the one dollar samplers are for =]

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81
drank White Licorice by Golden Moon Tea
187 tasting notes

Oh my god Golden Moon, I think I’m in love with you.

Honestly, I popped this one open because I figured I’d HATE it. But I really, really wanted another cup of tea, and I wanted something white. I really, really dislike the taste of licorice. But anise is mildly better (they do taste different!). Still, I smelled the tea and shook my head. There it was. The scent.

I probably used about a teaspoon and a half of this stuff, and there’s about that much left in the little sample. These leaves pretty much look like… leaves. There are brown stems and green buds and it’s all very pretty, if not a bit rustic.

The resulting jus de tea was very pale in color, a pretty beige. I took a hesitant sniff. More anise. And then I braced myself, grimacing, and took the first sip.

Oh. My God. This actually tastes good. No, it tastes delicious! I’m actually pleasantly surprised. No, rather, I’m really shocked. The anise lends a very delicate flavor to the white tea, but doesn’t overwhelm it in the slightest. In fact, it almost tastes “scented,” which I know makes absolutely no sense, but it does to me! There’s the absolutely WONDERFUL sweet-nectar-white taste that envelops your mouth, and the anise almost makes the blend soft and warm. The tastes linger on your tongue in perfect harmony and complexity.

I don’t really know much about tea, but from what I’ve tasted so far, Golden Moon really knows how to blend their stuff. You can taste the individual components, yet at the same time, they meld together to create a unique and wonderful sensory experience. I’m just amazed. I would definitely have this again, no questions asked!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ricky

It’s at the bottom of my basket, along with any remaining chai =P

Cofftea

If I win the contest, I’ll gladly give you this;)

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I too like anise but am not too fond of licorice.

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88
drank Coconut Pouchong by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 21
Decupboarding Total: 42

I’ve been so busy today I haven’t had much time to do much of anything. Yet I hit a lull about 6:30pm and was able to squeeze in a last cup of this tea. I love coconut and I love pouchong so these two together are made of win. It’s so creamy and comforting. A perfect tea for the crazy day. Kind of sad that it is gone. I’m sure I’ll eventually pick up more.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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88
drank Coconut Pouchong by Golden Moon Tea
911 tasting notes

As a reward for going though many teas today, I’m having another one!

Well, at least I hope it is a reward since I’ve never had a coconut pouchong and don’t have the best luck with flavored oolongs (unless it is jasmine). But it smells like toasted coconut, not like raw coconut, so I know we are going in the right direction.

Small sampler so I am doing a small cup. And I’m sniffing the bag as I’m waiting for the tea to brew. Coconut – creamy, rich, toasted coconut. I hope I’ll like this but honestly, not expecting to.

Oooh, now that it is all brewed up, I smell the pouchong. It almost seems stronger than the coconut and surprisingly the coconut matches really well with the sweet scent of the pouchong. I love pouchong. I need to order some. I have none. :( (Wait, I have some in my Steepster cabinet – maybe I still have a little in my pantry… I thought I was out but if I do have some, happy days!)

Oh wow. That’s good. Just like the scent, the coconut doesn’t overpower the pouchong but rather they blend wonderfully together. It’s sweet but not sugary. The coconut is soft but distinctly coconut. And the pouchong is there and yummy in the way that pouchong always seems to be for me. The flavors mesh so well that it doesn’t seem like a flavored oolong – it seems like an oolong with strong coconut notes. The coconut is the first thing I taste (and smell) but it blends seamlessly into the pouchong and then I get a pouchong taste at the end, but then the flavor left in my mouth is mostly coconut but with a hint of green buttery pouchong.

It doesn’t make me want to chew the tea like some straight pouchongs do, but it’s really quite lovely. Big fan.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ricky

I’m saving this one for last, I was so tempted today! Must continue my Sencha journey.

Auggy

What can I say? I just gotta dive right in!

Carolyn

I’m so glad you guys like the Golden Moon teas. I adore them.

teaplz

Golden Moon is pretty much amazing. It has me liking licorice! LICORICE. I hate licorice! Review forthcoming!

Ricky

Yack, licorice! I have two cups of tea in front of me (pu-erh and sencha).

teaplz

Ricky, are they both GM? The White Licorice is technically star anise, which isn’t really the same thing, but… yeah. Extremely similar flavor profiles. I hate pure licorice much more, though.

Ricky

Sencha is GM, Pu-erh is Rishi. I’ll post a log soon… if I can keep my eyes open. For all the caffeine I’m drinking, it’s not working. Now if someone told me I won the sorapot, I think I’d be wide awake =P Is it Friday yet?

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

lol @ Ricky’s post. Ya’ll are giving me so many tea companies I want to try! I’m not normally a fan of tropical/coconut flavors but this one sounds yum.

Ricky

GM’s sampler is only $20 for 31 samples, each sampler gives you one-two cups. Totally worth it! s topped off with a ribbon o.O

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Oh wow! I’m noting that tidbit for later use. I need to drink some more of what I have before I can order more. I think I’m going to go wild in 2010 ordering samplers since I’ve found out more about places to order tea online. Thanks Steepster!

teaplz

Yep, chrine! It’s the entirety of GM’s catalog! When I ordered, the coupon code “teareviewblog” gave me free shipping, although I don’t know if it’s in effect anymore. I pretty much bullied everyone into buying it, which is why everyone is trying to pressure me into getting EVERYTHING ELSE. But the sampler was really worth it, because I really haven’t found a bad one in the bunch.

takgoti

Hot damn! 91?! That’s high praise.

Auggy

Hey! I have 19 whole teas that I’ve rated a 90 or above! …out of 185… But still!

I’ve actually been thinking about this tea some lately. Mostly because it reminded me how much I s probably one of my favorite types of tea. So this tea has reminded me I should never be without pouchong again!

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78
drank Sencha by Golden Moon Tea
358 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
takgoti

I just love seeing all these GM sampler reviews. Not sure why, but I think it’s just because between you and teaplz it’s like watching a puppy discover snow for the first time.

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54

Taken Plain.
Usually Golden Moon never ever misses with me. I can open up anything they send and adore it absolutely. Not this one. It is a very nice scented green but I have had better. I’ve had a TON worse and this is in no way a bad tea… but Ive had better. I’m just disappointed that this isn’t as good as the vast majority of their other teas.

What I was looking for was a deep toasted green base to add depth paired with the bright floral notes extending down into the base to pull it up into the light. The green tea feels like it is living up to my expectations but the jasmine seems to be the part falling short. It seems almost two dimensional and weak next to the base. Not weak as if you couldn’t taste it but weak like brittle. It does not have depth into the lower notes of jasmine flavor that would add richness to the blend and a more full mouth feel.

It’s ok. It is what they promise but I know that they can do better because they usually do. If you are looking for a light, pleasant and unoffensive Jasmine blend definitely give this one a shot. If you are like me and you want to be dazzled by new, bold and exciting flavors you might think this one is too calm.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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76

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 8 min or more
teaplz

Yeah, this one is incredibly light. I just found it a tad disappointing because it was as light as a white tea without the delicious sweetness associated with it.

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60
drank Tippy Earl Grey by Golden Moon Tea
187 tasting notes

Dear the Earl of Grey,

We have such a complicated relationship, and it’s really beginning to make my head spin. I’m not sure if we should break it off or not. I keep coming back for more, but instead of embracing me in your earl-y arms, you just forsake me, and leave me weeping, begging for a cup of something else.

I had faith that today you would be a bit less moody than normal. After all, Golden Moon blends you with the the tips of black tea, and lavender. I figured you’d be complex and mysterious and intriguing. That your bergamot would blend with your black and that for once, everything would be copacetic.

So, with slight anticipation (because I’ve been let down by you so many times before), I steeped a cup. Your leaves this time were quite gorgeous, with lovely golds and browns and greens. And you smelled absolutely delicious this morning – more on the floral side of bergamot than the citrus side.

The infusion today was red and copper, a beautiful color. And the smell coming from the steeped cup was more black tea toasty-ness than actual bergamot. Could it be? Were you ready to embrace me with open arms?

Mr. Grey, I have to say, you were quite tolerable today. But still heavily disappointing, just because I was expecting you to be that much better. I think the lavender smoothed out your rough edges, and took a bite out of your bergamot sharpness. Although I couldn’t taste the lavender component of the tea, there was a soothing feeling about you today. Your black base was definitely more delicious than usual, and a bit more complex than normal. But then your bergamot flavors had to invade and ruin the party. Granted, you weren’t as bitter or abrasive today. You were almost soothing. But there’s still something off between us.

Maybe we’re just not meant to be together. Yet I’m still attracted to your tweed and monocle. I just can’t help myself. Maybe our next date will be better.

xoxo,
teaplz

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Ricky

Certainly by now you should have realized, Mister Grey’s personality just doesn’t match yours ;) j/k I’m sure you’ll find the right Mister Grey…… some day.

Auggy

I’ve seen some place that had about 4 different EGs – straight EGs, not Lady Greys or other adaptations. But all of them were different because they used a different tea base. One did Keemun, one Yunnan, one maybe Assam and one was a blend? Something like that (the Keemun and Yunnan were the only ones that stuck in my mind, well, that and the high number of normal EGs they had). Anyway, I seriously want to try ones that I know have different bases to see how they compare. I’m sure I bookmarked the teas but, alas, they have been lost in my HUNDREDS of tea bookmarks. One day I will find them again and perhaps we can have and EG tasting party!

Auggy

PS – I totally pictured you on the cover of a bodice-ripper-esque romance while reading this.

teaplz

TWG has a bunch, I believe!
Breakfast Earl Grey
Earl Grey Fortune
Smoky Earl Grey
Earl Grey Gentleman
English Earl Grey
French Earl Grey
Earl Grey Theine Free
Earl Grey Buddha
Earl Grey d’Amour

Don’t ask me what they even mean, but D+D right near me has the Gentleman blend.

Auggy

OMG. Want to try them all!!!

sophistre

I’ve always loved Earl Grey…with milk and a tiny bit of sweet…and now that I’m spending a lot more of my time thinking about my tea, I wonder if that love affair will continue, or turn to brass in comparison to what my tongue learns is out there. Sad! This review was great though. :D

takgoti

I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Auggy on the bodice ripper comment. Consequently, when you got to “bergamot sharpness” I almost choked on a laugh. Go ahead and stroke his tweed, dear, just don’t let him get at you with his…pipe.

Errrg, sorry. I have been reading so many logs and it is getting late.

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77
drank French Breakfast by Golden Moon Tea
358 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
teaplz

Is there any actual honey in this one, or is it just a tasting note?

Ricky

Well the description said there was a honey flavor to this tea.

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