For whatever reason, I felt like doing a comparison of the black teas I have from Verdant tonight, so of course wanted to start with the highly regarded Golden Fleece! I used about 2.5 tsp of leaf in 8 oz. of water.
The first thing I noticed about this tea was the downy golden orange fuzz from the buds, which left itself everywhere – most noticeably on the teaspoon, and collecting at the top of the cup. Interesting! Unlike downy white teas, the fuzz here obviously was no longer solidly attached to the buds. I got a bit of a weird aroma while brewing; reminding me a bit of fermenting compost or something. A touch offputting, but I’ve smelled far more dodgy teas, and aroma doesn’t necessarily dictate flavour.
The first infusion, for 30s, is super sweet! So sweet and honey-like. The mouthfeel is SO smooth and creamy and velvety. No astringency, no bitterness. There’s a creamy aftertaste as well. Quite tasty; I’m wishing I had done a 1.5 minute infusion to better compare to the other teas though.
Second infusion (boiling/2.5 min): Oops, got distracted for this one, so there’s some astringency now. Same thick, creamy, velvety mouthfeel though. This infusion has a similar but darker flavour profile, and although it’s astringent, it’s still pretty enjoyable. I have to admit though, that the flavours in it do remind me a bit of fermentation, moreso than I get from other blacks. (Hmm, the astringency has dropped off a bit as the cup cooled. Tastier now.)
I might try another infusion (hopefully I didn’t ruin the leaves with that overly long second one), and am glad that I have an ounce to play with so I can try a few different things. This tea by far had the sweetest initial flavour that I’ve seen in black teas, which was absolutely delicious and intriguing. As I’ve said before, black teas are not my thing, so this would probably garner a bit of a lower rating than I’m giving it because it’s not a tea I’d keep around or drink often, as I’d prefer something lighter, but I feel like black tea lovers would adore this one! Glad to have tried :)