Golden Tips Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got my Golden Tips sub box today! I am wayy behind on posting tasting notes for these teas, but I wanted to taste this one first! The name itself is intriguing.
Tulsi, or “Holy Basil” is a interesting tisane, which I’ve only tried once before. I can’t remember if I liked it either. I’m not particularly sure then if the Basil part of the name is redundant or if there’s also Basil in there. Chai isn’t something I reach more usually unless someone else is making it in milk for me.
I swear this dry leaf smells like Dr. Pepper soda. It also looks like confetti, or glitter. The leaves are super small. If it were any other tea, I would call it fannings.
The liquor still smells like Dr. Pepper but a bit spicer. I’m a cola addict btw. I’ve been trying to kick the habit with tea, but I still get relapses, this is giving me cravings. The tea itself doesn’t have much by way of taste though. It’s got a bit of a nose feel that’s really warm and full. (By nose feel, you know when you have a bite of wasabi and it’s all spicy up your nose feeling? That general area. It’s really weird, but cool.) I guess this is what Tulsi tastes like? This is categorized as a black tea though, so that’s confusing.
I’m not sure what I feel about this tea. On one hand it’s Dr Pepper! Awesome! On the other hand, it has some olfactory sensation, but doesn’t really lend much to the experience otherwise, mostly just warm water. Yup.
Usually I am griping about how much of a garbage pile my body is, with the Fibromyalgia and all the stupid allergies I have, but this once I am going to congratulate it on being awesome! Everyone in the house caught a nasty cold, and I live in a house full of Marvel Comics-esque Super Soldiers, so you know it is awful when they get sick. Guess who was the only person who didn’t get the cold…yep, me! I was up under Ben and Rita gaming and bringing their sick selves tea, so I know I got lots of exposure, and now that everyone is on the mend I think I am in the clear. Good job body, you got to be the healthy one taking care of people for once.
Today we are having our first look at Golden Tips Tea, an Indian tea company with a very respected history and legacy. Plus, when you get a package from them it comes in some very awesome wrapping!
I recieved several samples from them (yay! I needed more Indian teas on my blog!) and the first one I pulled out of the box was Castleton Moonlight Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush, I did a little happy dance because I have become hardcore addicted to Darjeelings lately. Plucked in April of 2014, this FTGFOP1 Moonlight Grade first flush Darjeeling comes from the Castleton Tea Estate, which was first established in 1885. The aroma of the dry leaves is, as expected, quite delicious to the nose, there is a strong muscatel presence, blending fresh juicy grapes and a hint of the more honey sweet raisins. Also fresh hay, a touch of peppery nasturtium leaves, and a bit of freshly crushed parsley at the finish giving the tea a neat herbaceous touch.
The brewed leaves are surprisingly herbaceous with notes of parlsely thyme, and fresh broken leaves. Of course there are notes of muscatel, primarily fresh grapes and honey. At the finish there is a hint of distant wildflowers and hay. The liquid, well, that packs a sweet punch! Like fresh grapes and raisins with a pinch of thyme and a strong apricot undertone. Fun fact, thyme and apricot is wonderful together, I suggest mixing the two whenever possible.
Ok, so the taste, well, wow! One of the things I love about Darjeeling tea, especially first flush, is how the taste reminds me of Scuppernongs, the super sweet and juicy grape variant that I would eat fresh and sun-warmed from the vine during my childhood in the South. The muscatel notes are the notes of happy memories to me, so how can I not love it? The mouthfeel is smooth and light, there is more to this tea than muscatel notes, there is also a refreshing note of fresh lettuce and a bit of thyme. The finish is sweet honey drenched apricot that lingers into the aftertaste. A delicious tea that tastes like summer and sunlight, I certainly enjoyed every sip.
It’s hard to get my palette back into the many different flavors teas have to offer when I have started to develop a taste for good medium dark smooth coffee. The caffeine rush I get from coffee doesn’t compare to the light teas I’ve been drinking lately. Over a year of waking up a few times a night and never sleeping past 9 after years of oversleeping will turn one onto something with an instant kick. The huge downside with coffee is that it becomes addicting rather quickly and drinking it for pleasure soon becomes drinking it so I don’t get a grumpy massive headache. During my days of drinking lots of black teas, I did notice withdrawal symptoms when I hadn’t had my cup or two but it wasn’t anything a cup of green tea couldn’t fix. I’m in an adjustment period in my life, one that seems to be lasting awhile. I would like to get back on track with tea, as it makes me a better person, and I’m confident I will. I just need some more time and lots more black tea.
In my attempts of getting back on the tea train, I have been have one cup of coffee in the morning and one cup of tea in the afternoons, usually a black tea- with milk and honey. Today I’m drinking this Exotic Assam. I set some aside before tainting it with the sweetness of the honey and the creaminess of the milk. Naked, this tea is very very smooth. It’s not an offensive black tea at all. I could very well drink a full cup of it without my english ways. In fact, I’m starting to regret I made a cup with milk and honey. As the tea cools, I find I much prefer it very hot on the tongue. The velvety smoothness in my mouth is much more powerful at a higher temperature. The tannins are also noticeable sightly cooler. The aroma is sweet and golden. It’s a tea I can see myself drinking more of. Even with the milk and honey, I’m starting to no longer regret my choice as the tea settles into the cool air. It blends well and holds onto my taste buds coaxing them for more.
Flavors: Malt, Tangy, Wet Wood
Whoa supermalt…even with milk this one has a lot of personality. I find that most assams taste the same to me, and require milk to reduce bitterness. This one does do well with milk, but it tastes different. It is good – I like malty flavor as long as I have milk around to make it creamier. People who enjoy assams more than I will really like this, I think. Even I think it is pretty darn good.
This was pretty good – particularly for a cold gray day like today. It was toasty tasting and warm, and not bitter. That said, more and more I am realizing that this subscription might not be for me. I like black tea…but not enough that all of these samples I am trying to try taste different.
I am rushing because for my tea loving friends, I am passing along all samples that don’t wow me. Helps to make space, which is much needed. I actually need to reorganize my cupboards so I can actually fit all of my tea in there. Right now, my “usually iced tea” shelf is only a third full and it is bigger, while the second shelf of hot only tea is overflowing because it is smaller, and my hot tea takes longer to use up. Multiple steeps and all. Perhaps an activity for later today.
This is tasty, though I don’t get much in the way of mint from it so much as fruit. It smells fruity even, though it isn’t super sweet oddly enough. I am glad to be on a run of these that I really enjoy – I was getting nervous about this subscription, finding so many of them to not be to my taste. I guess the ones I like just floated to the bottom of my samples box :)
I really enjoyed this – compared to many of the others I tried, it seemed very balanced in flavor. It had some heartiness, fruitiness, sweetness, and breadiness. I have learned to steep my black teas below boiling to ensure minimum astringency without affecting the flavor too much. This one is a keeper.
Exotic Assam is a signature blend from Golden Tips that is a pretty straightforward assam flavor profile. It has a simple medium maltiness with a touch of woodsy spice and a slight aftertaste of malt that stays on the tongue. Nice is a good word for this tea. It is smooth, has a medium mouthfeel and enough body to do what Assams do well: make it feel like you’ve had breakfast even when you haven’t. Nice tea.
First tea of the morning here! This sample (pouch) came from Blodeuyn as a surprise bonus in our swap. I’m pretty much a noob when it comes to Darjeeling, having only tried one or two others before this one. Oh well, onward! The leaves of this tea are somewhat short and wide, and they’re a myriad of browns with some spots of silver. Dry scent is sweet hay and sunflower seeds in the shell. I used a teaspoon of leaf and let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma is not terribly intimidating – it’s lightly toasted bread with tart fruit preserves and a touch of floral. The flavor is a lovely and light combination of bread and grains. Mostly I tasted lightly toasted bread, raw oats, sweet hay with a touch of mustiness, and a mild floral note. There’s sweetness here, but it’s a very light and clear sweetness, reminding me of honeysuckle nectar. Underneath all of the other flavors is a nice deep roasty quality, I would compare it to roasted nuts perhaps? There is a touch of astringency here as well, which is not terribly unpleasant. Overall, a very accessible Darjeeling.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle, Musty, Oats, Roasted nuts, Toast
One of the many assams from my Golden Tips subcription box that I need to review.
Picked this one for breakfast.
Golden brown cup. Malty. Not strong enough for me to get that kick-start in the morning. Just about average.
Dry leaf aroma: Malt and hay with a hint of cocoa.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/shg8pHFcHZ/
Wet leaf aroma: Damp hay.
Wet leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/shhzToFcIX/
Preparation: Brewed western style in a ceramic infuser mug.
First steeping: 4 minutes at 210 degrees. Brisk malty flavor with suggestions of fresh-baked bread and a pleasant brisk aftertaste. As the cup cools the bread-like notes are more prominent.
This was my first experience with the Soula estate in India and I quite enjoyed this Assam.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Malt