53 Tasting Notes
The wet leaves smell a bit like coffee and charcoal. The liquor is very smooth and slightly creamy. There is also a charred nut taste in the first steeping along with coffee-like notes.
This reminds me of a dark charcoal roasted Tung Ting that I purchased last year, but the aftertaste of the TGY lasts longer.
I bought this tea in the Twinings London shop. It looked really fresh and the thin green leaf sheets looked interesting. The aroma was great, smelling of fresh grass and flowers. I think the brewing instructions on the bag were all wrong. I don’t think I added enough tea to the pot. On subsequent tries the tea was still pleasant, but very mild in flavor. It tasted vaguely of a Pi Lo Chun or Silver Needle. It was interesting to try, but this tea doesn’t really pack much of a punch. However, it would be great for mid afternoon relaxation or meditation.
I bought a sample of this tea because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This tea is awesome! The closest comparison I can make is eating a warm, buttery, chocolate croissant. It has a truly unique flavor for a black tea. I put it through 8 gongfu infusions and it still produces a flavorful cup. I’m definitely buying more of this.
I had originally thought of this as a step up from Rishi’s China Breakfast. It looks like it has more golden tips so I was expecting a slightly sweeter tea with the the same vanilla and cocoa flavors that I enjoy in China breakfast. But I was disappointed. As another reviewer described it, this tea is flat and boring. I think I might actually prefer China Breakfast.
I really like Yunnan teas, so I was almost certain that I would love this one. But I was skeptical due to the hyperbolic description. I’ve tried a number of Yunnan teas, including all-bud teas so I wondered how this one would be different. When I opened my bag of Golden Fleece the dry leaves looked and smelled very similar to Rishi’s Organic Ancient Golden Buds. When I put my nose into the bag, I could smell the difference. Golden Fleece had a more potent aroma, and unlike Golden Buds it had strong caramel and cocoa notes coming off the dry leaves. My guess is that it is fresher than Rishi’s Golden Buds. But dry leaf aroma doesn’t always equal taste, so I brewed Golden Fleece Western-style exactly the same way I brew Golden Buds. The aroma of the wet leaves was very similar between the two teas, and my initial tastes were similar as well. I started thinking, “There’s nothing special about this. It’s just Golden Buds!” However, when I took more sips of Golden Fleece, the differences started to become apparent. This tea runs neck and neck with Golden Buds, but comes out slightly ahead. The differences are subtle. Golden Fleece has a more complex flavor and a longer-lasting aftertaste. The spiciness of Golden Fleece also leaves a slight tingling on the tongue.
These teas are so close that I picture two farmers (one Rishi supplier, one Verdant supplier) who live across a dirt road from one another each arguing that they have superior golden tea.