drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
323 tasting notes

I think the best thing I can do is compare this with the Yunnan Rare Grade leaf distributed by Upton Teas that I’ve been drinking for the past few months.

Everything about that tea is huge and bold and fruity sweetness.

By contrast, the golden fleece is more refined. Yes, the dry leaf aroma is big, and I’ve already waxed very poetic about the wet leaf. But at the same time, the actual notes themselves aren’t as … sticky.

Instead of syrupy sweet roasted fruit, this is more of the kind of caramel scents you get off a toasted bread that awakens the sugars in the bread or fresh baked honey top bread.

Molasses instead of honey.

The cup is also more refined. There is no astringency whatsoever. But rather than this making the cup sweeter, it somehow stretches that sweetness out rather than over the course of 5 to 20 seconds, more like 5 to 20 minutes. The flavors from the cup have been rolling around my mouth all morning even though I’m only on my fifth steeping after about two and a half hours.

Unlike other Yunnan gold, this tea retains more of the kind of roasted, toasted flavor one gets from the leaf into the cup. But again, very subtle.

The key with this tea really is the way it lingers. Be sure to only drink this when you have the time to let it stay with you and to be present with it.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
ScottTeaMan

Nice review Jim. Upton’s Rare Grade has on my list. Now I have two Yunnans on my list! Roughly, what are your steep times? :))

Jim Marks

They are actually shorter than indicated on the reviews because Steepster only goes down to 15 seconds.

I’m doing traditional gongfu style steeping here, utilizing two identically sized gaiwan. I put the dry leaf in one, pour in the water, lid it up, and then strain it into the other which is the one I drink from.

My first few steeps are essentially as quickly as I can get the thing lidded up and poured without rushing or spilling. Maybe 3 to 5 seconds. Once I notice that the water does not look like a full steep the instant I’m done pouring it I’ll start counting. By the 10th steep or so I’m usually up to about 15 seconds. With pu-er, when I know I can go well past 10 steeps I’ll eventually steep for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes… that’s usually the limit.

I tend to think of the steep times a bit like an exponential curve. Starting out very small with very little change in between each but rapidly expanding to longer times and bigger deltas.

ScottTeaMan

OK…….Thank you! WHat size are your gaiwans, and how full with the leaf? Have you ever used a Yixing pot for such quality Yunnans? I’ve also seen Yixing Gaiwans.

Bonnie

I have an Yixing Gaiwan that I use exclusively for Puerh. Love it. Has a handle which makes it easier for a klutz like me.

Jim Marks

My gaiwan are something like 4 ounces. As I said on the first review of this leaf I followed David’s instruction in the video he posted and used one gram of leaf per ounce of water — or 4 grams in this case.

I have not yet begun to invest in yixing because we have been embarking on a host of home improvement projects and the budget simply has not allowed for it. Also, I want to get a suite of them, all matching, but also quite plain in style, and that seems to be hard to find in high quality. Also, identifying high quality online is difficult, and finding plain styles in retail shops is also difficult. So, as yet, I have not purchased any.

“Someday” I hope to have a yixing for sheng, shu, dian hong, lapsang souchong and da hong pao. But that’s something like $250 investment at a minimum right there, so it has to wait.

Spoonvonstup

Jim- your explanation of steep times like an exponential curve is excellent. I often find myself struggling to explain the method to others and you’ve put it so well. I hope you don’t mind if I quote you on it from time to time.
Very excited to taste the Golden Fleece carefully myself. Thanks for these reviews!

Jim Marks

Every now and then, being a former math teacher pays off.

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Comments

ScottTeaMan

Nice review Jim. Upton’s Rare Grade has on my list. Now I have two Yunnans on my list! Roughly, what are your steep times? :))

Jim Marks

They are actually shorter than indicated on the reviews because Steepster only goes down to 15 seconds.

I’m doing traditional gongfu style steeping here, utilizing two identically sized gaiwan. I put the dry leaf in one, pour in the water, lid it up, and then strain it into the other which is the one I drink from.

My first few steeps are essentially as quickly as I can get the thing lidded up and poured without rushing or spilling. Maybe 3 to 5 seconds. Once I notice that the water does not look like a full steep the instant I’m done pouring it I’ll start counting. By the 10th steep or so I’m usually up to about 15 seconds. With pu-er, when I know I can go well past 10 steeps I’ll eventually steep for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes… that’s usually the limit.

I tend to think of the steep times a bit like an exponential curve. Starting out very small with very little change in between each but rapidly expanding to longer times and bigger deltas.

ScottTeaMan

OK…….Thank you! WHat size are your gaiwans, and how full with the leaf? Have you ever used a Yixing pot for such quality Yunnans? I’ve also seen Yixing Gaiwans.

Bonnie

I have an Yixing Gaiwan that I use exclusively for Puerh. Love it. Has a handle which makes it easier for a klutz like me.

Jim Marks

My gaiwan are something like 4 ounces. As I said on the first review of this leaf I followed David’s instruction in the video he posted and used one gram of leaf per ounce of water — or 4 grams in this case.

I have not yet begun to invest in yixing because we have been embarking on a host of home improvement projects and the budget simply has not allowed for it. Also, I want to get a suite of them, all matching, but also quite plain in style, and that seems to be hard to find in high quality. Also, identifying high quality online is difficult, and finding plain styles in retail shops is also difficult. So, as yet, I have not purchased any.

“Someday” I hope to have a yixing for sheng, shu, dian hong, lapsang souchong and da hong pao. But that’s something like $250 investment at a minimum right there, so it has to wait.

Spoonvonstup

Jim- your explanation of steep times like an exponential curve is excellent. I often find myself struggling to explain the method to others and you’ve put it so well. I hope you don’t mind if I quote you on it from time to time.
Very excited to taste the Golden Fleece carefully myself. Thanks for these reviews!

Jim Marks

Every now and then, being a former math teacher pays off.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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I am rarely, if ever, active here. But I do return from time to time to talk about a very special tea I’ve come across.

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