2007 Tasting Notes
In my new quest to try a bunch of different kinds of oolongs and discover the joys of unflavored varieties, I ordered this Imperial Formosa to try. It may just be the first of its kind that I’ve tried; I don’t have a lot of background in these things. I have to say, the dry leaf smells pretty different from all the other oolongs I’ve tried so far, though I haven’t tried many dark ones yet. It’s very woodsy, and has an aroma that is familiar to me but that I can’t place right now. The directions say to steep for five minutes, which I’m a little worried about (I don’t steep anything but herbals and rooibos for five minutes), but I did it anyway.
Steeped, the aroma is much more familiar as an oolong, albeit definitely a dark one with a rich, almost black-tea type aroma and maybe a hint of a floral note. Honestly, based on the smell of the dry leaf I didn’t expect to like this tea very much, but I am enjoying it. It doesn’t blow me away, but a nice cup. It’s a bit roasty, a bit nutty, the slightest bit vegetal, with a tiny floral note at the end. I feel like that slightly sweet note that oolongs often have is lurking in there, but hasn’t been let out. Tasty, but I prefer oolongs with a bit more florals.
Cold steeped. I’m not quite sure what to make of the flavors of this one when cold steeped. Definintely vanilla, definitely jasmine, but cold steeped they combined to make some other flavor I couldn’t really place. Almost minty, perhaps? Not one of my favorite cold steeps, but still decently tasty. I think I prefer this combo in its incarnation as a Monk’s blend with the added bergamot.
I took the day off yesterday and spent it out and about, hence my lack of tea notes. This is the last black tea I have to try from my Golden Moon order, and I can see that it seems like I will like this tea, or just think it’s too weird.
The dry leaf gives the aromas of what I might expect: intensely pear, with a strong accompanying note of rich, floral honey. It smells a bit like a pear hard candy, with actually a hint of “green apple”. I dunno, I can’t quite place the particular aroma that smells like a candy I’ve had before.
Brewed up, it smells much more like the black tea base. As it cools a bit I get more of that honey and pear aroma from the dry leaf starting to take over the cup. As to the taste, you can count me in the fans of this tea. The aroma of the dry leaf is pretty faithfully translated to the flavor, but with a lovely black tea base that fits in well with the flavors. It’s a bright base, and not especially malty, so that it reminds me of a darjeeling. I would consider the pear the primary note, with the somewhat floral honey backing it up. This honey reminds me of eating comb right from the beehive: it’s fresh and dark and wild (and delicious). I don’t find the tea “weird” at all, like many others, but perhaps that’s because the flavor is already one in my repetoir. I’m really enjoying it and it’s one I would probably keep around.
This tea smells amazingly good dry. Someone else mentioned coconut macaroons, and that is exactly the smell of the dry leaf. Not just coconut, but a baked coconut meringue, or perhaps a recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk for the base instead. I want to eat them, but I know that they will not taste like that.
The brewed tea is a very light greenish yellow, and the aroma has come down a notch. It’s not quite so bakey, but still definitely coconutty. I’m still getting some slightly buttery-creamy notes, but they’re tempered by a lightly floral green aroma poking through.
Mm, wow, this is one of those teas. You know the ones… you don’t have many expectations, and they smell good but not outstanding, and then you take the first sip and they just blow you away. This tea is coconutty, yes, but also buttery and creamy and sweet. It’s toasty while being fresh and vegetal. It’s deliciously smooth and it leaves a lovely aftertaste of coconut macaroons hanging out in my mouth. This is the kind of tea where I just think: this tea is truly delicious. It is not merely a coconut tea, this tea is more than the sum of its parts. More, please.
The last time I had this tea I really disliked it for being way too bitter, despite my best efforts. Now this is one of those times that I wish I could rate each tasting individually, because cold brewed it has none of the problems that I encountered in the hot brew. I’ve bumped my rating up, but not by much, because if I can’t finish a cup of the hot brew a good cold brew isn’t really enough to redeem a tea in my eyes. It is, however, a great way to use up a sample like this that I otherwise would have tossed. I even considered doing just that after my last cup, but I’m glad I didn’t because it did make a tasty cold brew.
The tea is creamy and bergamotty with a decent, solid black tea base. The bergamot is fruity and citrusy, and combined with the cream and the cold it really does remind me of something like a creamsicle (except, you know, not orange). I hadn’t tried an EG Cream cold steeped yet but I don’t know why, because it is a really tasty combo.
Well I had to try the rose black from Golden Moon, and I figured I’d have my sample sooner than later since I just had some Harney Rose Scented recently. The dry tea certainly smells powerfully, sweetly rosey. This isn’t an “herbaceous” rose, it’s definitely a sweet candy-type rose.
Brewed, the rose scent is a bit more subdued, but still very present. I think its moreso that the black tea is making itself known but also melding very well with the rose. The taste is powerfully rosey very much like Rose Scented. I think I’d have to try them back to back to really suss out the differences. It is actually perhaps a touch less sweet than rose scented, but I could be making that up. As it cools it actually does get more herbaceous rose, and less similar to Rose Scented than Rose Congou. This one doesn’t remind me of turkish delight as much, though it is tasty. I’m finding it’s difficult for a rose black to really distinguish itself, and that does apply to this tea. Delicious, but not extraordinary enough to make me seek it out over other rose blacks.
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!