Golden Moon TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.