1851 Tasting Notes
I can safely say that it was QuiltGuppy who ignited a love of oolongs in me with her samples, to the point that now I want to try every oolong I see! I ordered samples of the three oolongs that Golden Moon has for sale right now, and decided to go for this one today.
I definitely love the smell of the dry leaves, which is sweet and caramelized and caramely (distinguished from “caramelized” by the presence of a creamy note, together with a fairly different greenish floral aroma. Not quite vegetal, but not a flowery floral, if that makes sense. The scent of the brewed tea brings the oolong really to the foreground; the aroma almost makes me think of burnt popcorn, actually, and a lot of the sweetness and caramel has fled the aroma.
Fortunately it seems to have made its way back to the taste. You might think that the flavoring would overwhelm the oolong, but this tea is very “oolongy” to me. The sugar caramel flavor isn’t really the front and center here, more like a supporting role to the oolong. Vegetal with some unscented oolong-type florals, a bit buttery, a bit nutty, with notes of caramelized sugar that really come out in the decidedly sweet aftertaste. This is flavored in a way that doesn’t seem like its flavored, but more like you just got an awesome natural oolong that has those caramelized sweet notes. As it cools it just continues to get sweeter, like I seriously feel like I have just eaten some candy (oolong flavored candy, which actually sounds amazing). At the beginning of this cup, I was enjoying it but I wasn’t impressed to the point of wanting more because it didn’t seem to distinguish itself much from other oolongs I’ve tried. As the cup has progressed (and cooled), however, the taste has morphed into something that I really, really like. Would I go out of my way to buy this tea if it was the only one I wanted from Golden Moon? Probably not, but if I was already making an order, I think I’d throw it in my cart. I have enough for one more cup, so I’ll look forward to trying that one after all of my other myriad of oolongs waiting on me to see how it compares.
Yesterday I decided I would have this tea for my daily cold steep, but then as I was portioning it out into my cup, I had a moment of panic when I realized I would have to put all of the rest of my sample into the cup for the cold steep. Oh noes, I wouldn’t have any more! Then I sucked it up and told myself that I wanted to try it iced anyway, and that finishing a sample out of my cupboard should be a good thing. I guess this is already a definite to-buy!
I was surprised today that the tea was still as light as it was: more like a light gold instead of the amber I’m used to seeing for overnight cold steeped blacks. I was concerned that maybe I needed to let it go for longer, but it smelled good, and when I stirred up the leaves a bit more color was released into the liquor. This was definitely tasty as a cold steep, passion fruity and light, but with a decent helping of flavor from the black tea as well. All the same, I think I might prefer to hot steep this one and then ice it to get the most flavor out of it, or maybe just leave it to cold steep longer.
I’ve wanted to try a bunch of different teas from Golden Moon for a while now, so when a free shipping on any size order came up a while ago, I went ahead and ordered a bunch of samples. This was definitely going to be one of them, as I love a good Earl Grey. I’m also very picky about my Earl Greys, though, so getting a new one makes me both excited and apprehensive. This one apparently has lavender in it, too, which I didn’t realize, but lavender Earl Grey is a flavor combination that I like, so here’s hoping!
The dry leaf smells great, for a start. Nicely bergamotty, with a hint of lavender, but they meld well together in my mind and become hard to distinguish. The aroma of the brewed tea is a bit more subdued, as I would expect, with a malty black tea base showing up. The bergamot is still at the forefront, however, with a lavendery underlying scent.
I’m really enjoying the flavor of this one. It’s light; I feel like I could brew it for longer and get a more robust cup. But even like this the flavors are all very well done and well mingled. At the beginning of the sip I get a bright bergamot taste, followed by a wash of lavender and then the warm, malty black tea. It comes out some sips more than others, and I do want to try steeping this longer to get a more robust black tea taste, but I do really like this tea. The bergamot is strong enough but not overpowering and bitter, the lavender is light and not at all soapy, and it has a black tea base that I enjoy. It seems like it’s a bit polarizing, but count me on the side of those that really do enjoy it. I should have enough in my sample for one more cup, but I can definitely see rebuying this one.
I can’t say that I’ll ever be the kind of tea drinker who drinks plain black tea regularly, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think this one is pretty darn good! This is the kind of flavor profile that I like in a black: honeyed, a bit caramely, and other flavors that are fairly indescribable to me but that I definitely enjoy. Yum, yum, and thanks again to JacquelineM for sending me this one especially since it’s currently sold out!
I’d have to say this wasn’t a great cold steep. There wasn’t much apple or pear flavor that came through; in fact, I’d say there was pretty much no truly identifiable fruit flavor coming through. It tasted like green tea, which isn’t bad, but not what I was looking for. But also not exactly like green tea, more like green tea with something else. What that something else is… unknown. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor. Definitely disappointing, as I imagine that a pear iced green tea would be awesome.
I was most of the way through this tasting note when I reached out for my tea cup and bumped it with my hand instead of grabbing it. I almost knocked it off my (very tall) desk (actually a counter in a lab) onto the tile floor, where it would have assuredly shattered, but I somehow managed to grab it. Not without spilling a third of it on my desk and partially on my keyboard, however. Fortunately, my keyboard is pretty old and thus is pretty much impervious to liquids; unfortunately, I neglected to unplug it before wiping it off, and succeeded in somehow canceling my previous tasting note and thus deleting what I had written. There’s little more frustrating than taking time to write something up on a website and then having it magically erased. When you rewrite it, it’s never as thorough as before.
I threw the little that was left of my Chocolate and Cream black from TeaFrog (~1/2 tsp) into this cup to go ahead and use it up. I forgot to start my time when I poured the water, but I remembered about 30 seconds later, so the tea got a little extra time (because I once again forgot to stop it early). The aroma of the brewed tea was primarily that of a strong black, with a decent dose of almond, but not overwhelming.
The flavor of the main part of the sip is really the black tea with a hint of chocolate and bit of almond, followed by a strong, full marzipan aftertaste that fills your mouth and almost convinces you that you’ve been eating the confection (if it was sweet, I’m sure it would taste exactly like it).
Aaaand now that I said my keyboard was fine, the space bar and apostrophe stopped working, so I had to find another keyboard. Bleh. Anyway, tasty tea. Not so great for keyboards.
The first time I brewed this, it had a musty aroma that put me off and I never went back to it. I decided to cold brew it since sometimes cold brewing makes weird teas better. So it was with this tea: my cold brew is all coconut and vanilla, slightly sweet, and nice and refreshing. I would consider having this one around just as a cold steep, actually, since it’s so tasty. I’m not getting any florals from the rose buds, but that’s ok. I’m rating this one strictly on it’s cold brew, but I suppose I might try the hot again to see if I can get a better cup. Definitely has the potential to be very tasty!
I’ve been thinking about rose blacks lately, and this morning I decided I had to have one. And I thought: go big or go home. So I am having the last of my sample of the supremely rosey Rose Scented. This may go on my list to purchase more of because I feel like I’d like to keep some of this around just for occasions when I want something out of this world rosey. I actually still very much like my ESP Emporium China Rose for a more subdued but still sweet rose flavor.
I suppose I could have had this one this morning as well, since its a ginger lemon blend. I’m feeling better now, but I decided to have it anyway since I’ve actually only ever tried this one cold steeped. The last time I had it I described the scent of the dry leaves as like a lemon drop candy, but this time I’m getting more sharp, spicy ginger aroma as well.
The brewed tea smells lemongrassy lemony… you know, in that way that is both lemony and a grassiness that doesn’t come from the green tea. It also smells a touch sweet and a touch spicy from the ginger. When still very hot, I didn’t get a ton of flavor from this tea. There was basically an inverse relationship of flavor to hotness. By the time it cooled to just warm, there was more flavor, but it was still pretty light. Light and lemony, with a warm gingery flavor that has the sweetness of a ginger chew candy. Once it cools down to this temp, I’m really enjoying it and I think this will do nicely for times when I need a ginger tea. Also when I just want something lemony!
I’m not feeling the greatest today, so I was looking in my stash for something soothing. I actually don’t have any primarily ginger tea right now, which is odd and needs to be remedied. This is described as a rose oolong, but it also contains ginger and lemongrass (and the lemongrass seems to be the primary flavor), so I went with this one.
This tea is crazy because every time it tastes different. First time I had it, it was strongly lemongrass and ginger. Second time, it was only faintly lemony and mostly the green oolong. Today, it’s actually very rosey! With a nice, light hint of lemon underneath, adding a bright note that pairs well with the rich, sweet rose. This iteration is definitely an oolong I’d buy again, but I’m unsure I’d ever be able to replicate this cup.
This past weekend we went back to Coney Island to find our super rare Gray-hooded Gull again. If anyone is interested in seeing the gull, my pictures are here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvGy7Wq
There’s a NY Times article about the gull today, but the reporter was pretty lazy and didn’t even try to contact any officials or try to find the person that reported it originally (me!). http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/nyregion/gray-hooded-gull-rare-bird-in-us-is-apparently-on-coney-island.html?_r=1
ETA: Here’s an article from the American Birding Association, which actually does give us credit: http://birding.typepad.com/peeps/2011/07/gray-hooded-gull-coney-island-new-york.html