14 Tasting Notes
I was really surprised and unprepared to dislike this tea so much. I have been craving a really good vanilla tea and when the ingredients say “Select black teas, vanilla beans, and natural flavors of rum, nutcreme and vanilla” I feel I am in for a real treat. It says it also has both Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans. I just couldn’t wait for the tea to come in this batch of teas to sample for the tea book I’m writing.
Well, the nose knows first. As when sampling fine wines you want to take in a good long sniff and the complex notes fill your nose, tickling it and making you anxious to taste it. As soon as I opened the pouch I knew that something was wrong. It smelled like plain black tea. Now I was uneasy but I brewed a pot and with the first sip my heart sank. I did not taste ANY vanilla at all much less nutcreme or rum. There was no fragrant bouquet. If I’d wanted plain black tea I’d have brewed it.
I kept the tea pouch next to my computer, opening it and sniffing deeply several times trying to give it another chance and if I’d picked up any scent other than the black tea I’d have given it another try, but no, nothing.
I would not recommend this tea, sadly. I have had very good experience with Stash teas and this one was just such a disappointment I will order with a wary eye from now on.
This tea was an interesting experience. I literally worked through the night last night finishing a piece of fiber art for a show. I was so tired I could barely see and needed some black tea to get me going. This tea had just come and I was very excited to get it so I brewed a pot and sat with it awhile (I had earlier made Stash’s Vanilla Cream and disliked it so much I threw it out. That will be a separate review!).
Well, it’s not that I didn’t like this Golden Moon tea, it had a wonderful minty flavor but I couldn’t taste a bit of vanilla and I ordered it for the combination of vanilla and mint and really wanted to taste the vanilla.
Because I have been researching teas for a book I have a process when tasting tea. I use a large Bodum Press, more than I can drink at one sitting. I have a couple of cups and save the rest for iced tea if appropriate. I never use milk because I really want to taste the tea. I do use a bit of Truvia, the new sweetener made from Stevia but much milder, but that’s all.
Then the stages from hot to lukewarm to cold. Tea tastes markedly different when hot just out of the pot through the various stages as it cools down. I didn’t like it hot. The black tea tasted very strong and the mint was there, but no creamy vanilla taste at all. Not that I could taste. As it cooled to a lukewarm, which I let it do intentionally, the complexity of the flavors started to come forward, a hint of vanilla and something creamy, but barely there. Today — I had saved the rest in the fridge — I tasted it again, after letting it sit out a bit so it was cool but not real cold which also seems to mask the subtleties of the flavors, and I was amazed at how good it really was. The more it cooled the better I liked it.
I will have to give this tea a few more tastings, but it has more to offer than when it was first out of the pot. Sometimes I think you need to give a tea a few tries to see what it really has to offer!
SBS Teas are a staple in my house and this is not only one of my favorite of their teas, but one of my all time favorites ever. I was never really a fan of Earl Grey, but I sampled this while working on my tea book which will be out soon and fell in love with it. I just ordered another 1/2 pound. This one is always in my house, an Earl Grey with the usual bergamot but also vanilla and cream. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted any tea that makes me positively SWOON like this one does and it tastes as good as it smells, perfumes the whole house while steeping! If you’re a fan of Earl Grey you’ll want to try this!
Stash’s Lapsang Souchong is very good. It is one of my favorite teas and as I have been working on a tea book for over 2 years it is one of the teas I try from different tea companies to compare a specific tea, packaging, shipping, etc. This Lapsang Souchong is very good. Deep, dark, smoky taste, smooth, I highly recommend it.