45
drank Orchid Temple by Golden Moon Tea
186 tasting notes

First Infusion (2:30, boiling)

So today is Oolong Day! Why? Because I said so. I’ve picked out an oolong and I’m pretty much going to be drinking it all day. This is my first non-flavored oolong in loose leaf, so I’m pretty excited.

So I opened up the little packet for orchid temple, and the smell that comes out of the dry leaf is … toasty. In a black tea sort of way. The leaves here are rolled, in a very schizophrenic, oolong sort of way. Not quite little pellets, very asymmetrical… but a pretty green. When I poured the water over them, there was a bit of a frenzy, and a verifiable forest grew in my pot. I can see why people want to brew oolongs in glass, because the leaves are quite beautiful, and they expand very nicely.

The wet leaves smelled a bit vegetal, but the medium-gold infusion… oh. my. gah. Seriously. It smells delicious. Buttery and warm and a bit bake-y, like shortbread. Or butter cookies. With a bit of a floral undertone. Very, very mouthwatering, indeed.

My first sip, as a result, was very disappointing. This oolong, on first steep, tastes absolutely nothing like it smells. The taste is actually pretty toasty, and vegetal. A similar profile to a Chinese green. There is barely the vaguest hint of the smell (but I’m probably imagining it, because I want it so badly!), and a fair bit of astringency. My mouth feels pretty dry. Even as it cools down, there’s really nothing to write home about. The flavors are very bland and unpronounced. Sad panda face.

But I know that oolongs tend to get better on their second and third infusions, so I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt. I’ll be drinking lots of it the entire day, and recording the results, right here!

Second Infusion (3:00, boiling)

So I steeped this again, and the infusion was a bit darker this time. The smell from the wet leaves was completely veggie-like, and it had creeped into the smell of the juice this time. There was still a buttery component, but it was balanced by a very cooked green smell.

So the taste has evolved a little bit, but nowhere that I wanted it to go. The aftertaste is now really sweet (the flavor hasn’t left my tongue since I stopped drinking it 10 minutes ago), but the taste on the forefront of the sip is pretty vegetal and slightly bitter. The astringency has definitely smoothed out, but it certainly doesn’t taste like it smells, which is extremely disappointing. Even when I slurp the tea, and run it along the different parts of my tongue for taste sensations, there’s no fireworks. Funnily enough, I swallowed the wrong way and ended up coughing a lot. Only then did I taste buttery goodness. Bah. We’ll keep going, though…

At this point I’m feeling that boiling water might not have been the best idea for this tea. Golden Moon specifically states boiling, but this oolong is definitely on the greener end of the scale. Most of the flavor profile is kind of like a weedy Chinese green. Not the most pleasant taste in the world at all, but we’ll see what happens.

Third Infusion (3:30, boiling)

Here we go again… I’m seriously starting to get more and more disappointed. This steep was around the same color as the other two. The smell, however, was almost completely green. And there was a metallic tang of an undertone that made me wrinkle my nose.

The taste… the taste is bizarre. I think I might be getting a bit more of a creamy taste now, but it’s mixed with a very oceanic, briny taste. Like it’s been steeped in water where crustaceans have been frolicking. So strange. As it cooled, the marine component became more pronounced. The sweetness is still there in the aftertaste, but it’s a bit muted, and the astringency is back. I threw out around 3/4 of the cup. Now I’m just curious to see what subsequent steeps will taste like. If this is oolong in general, then I don’t think I’m a fan, and I’m starting to get discouraged. :(

Fourth Infusion (4:00, boiling)

Last steep for me. Just dumped the leaves, because I’m really sick of this, and it’s not getting any better. At all. I want to give a shout out to the leaves here, because they’re beautiful and complete once unfurled. If only the taste matched it!

So on this last steep, the leaves actually smelled buttery again! And when the tea was piping hot, it too shared that buttery quality! I was pretty surprised, so I was excited to try it. Annnnd… the taste is really strong bitter. I thought I might have tasted that butter for a second, but it was completely gone once the tea cooled. Not good. So these leaves are being dumped.

Overall, I’m really disappointed with this, and I’m sad that my first oolong had to go this badly. Hopefully my next one will be better!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Auggy

Poor teaplz. That sounds traumatic. But good job you for going so far with it. I admit, I poured out my second steep. It… wasn’t good. I think my first steep was probably closer to the yummy smell than yours, but I find that I cannot physically put boiling water on a green oolong, no matter how many times I am told to. Sometimes, I’ll do them at 175, too. It brings out more floral typically and I like that. Anyway, I admire your fortitude for making it through 4 steeps!

Carolyn

I’ve found that boiling water (no matter what the company says) is a terrible thing to do to an oolong. I didn’t like a single oolong until I learned to use water at about 175.

Jillian

I’d definitely suggest NOT boiling water the next time around.

Auggy

I’ve found a few that really seem to sparkle at 195 but 175 is really a better temp as a general rule. So much prettier tasting. Though I doubt it could have saved this puppy. Poor puppy.

teaplz

I just followed the package instructions… sorry for my ignorance, guys! I’ll definitely try what I have left at 175. Maybe the rating will go up, then! Because that first steep smelled delicious but tasted… not delicious.

Auggy

Nah, I don’t think that’s ignorance. Just a lack of accidentally boiling your leaves and then trying to prevent it. :)

Ricky

Aww, sad panda indeed. Hopefully some delicious Samovar Oolong comes your way and makes the experience all better. Strike two for this tea, sounds scary! It sounds like the Organic Green Tea.

Ricky

Your not alone teaplz, I almost always use boiling water for my oolong. Woaps, I always thought it was more black than green so it was okay to use boiling. Silly me.

Carolyn

@teaplz And this is one of the frustrating things about tea company’s brewing instructions. Very few companies bother to really explore the individual tea and give a recommendation based on that. Quite a number of companies seem to search the Internet (that well-known compendium of all that is good and true) for standardized rules for tea preparation. Some of these rules are insane. And when we try what they recommend? The tea tastes awful and we think that all those people maundering on about “delightful fruity, honey, floral” tastes are out of their minds. All we taste is something like boiled spinach water with greater bitterness. Gaaah!

Carolyn

Not that I have a strong opinion on this topic or anything.

takgoti

Blerg. The way this smells sounds like what a good oolong tastes like to me, so hold onto that thought!

I’ll cop to having a tendency to put boiling on my oolongs because I boil the water, but by the time I get it into the cup or the teapot or whatnot [I get distracted] it’s probably closer to 195. I’m also face-palming right now because I completely forgot that the greener oolongs often sing at a lower temperatures, which is perhaps a testament to blindly internalizing vendor instructions from time to time. I’ve actually seen Samovar say that x temperature gets you this while y temperature gets you that, too.

One last thing, I’ve found that oolongs often benefit from a quick rinse of the leaves to open them up a bit.

And everything that everyone else said, too.

teaplz

Thanks for all of the support, everyone! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in making a mistake like this… the GM package actually says “freshly boiled water.” So… yeah. It just stunk even more because I was all pumped for my first oolong, and then I was wrinkling my nose through almost all of it.

Angrboda

OMGosh, I think you just set a new post-length record! O.o Shame it didn’t live up to your hopes of it though. :(

teaplz

Angrboda, I was so excited about this. I was like, YAY, multiple infusions! I’m going to go crazy!

… And then it went downhill. :(

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Auggy

Poor teaplz. That sounds traumatic. But good job you for going so far with it. I admit, I poured out my second steep. It… wasn’t good. I think my first steep was probably closer to the yummy smell than yours, but I find that I cannot physically put boiling water on a green oolong, no matter how many times I am told to. Sometimes, I’ll do them at 175, too. It brings out more floral typically and I like that. Anyway, I admire your fortitude for making it through 4 steeps!

Carolyn

I’ve found that boiling water (no matter what the company says) is a terrible thing to do to an oolong. I didn’t like a single oolong until I learned to use water at about 175.

Jillian

I’d definitely suggest NOT boiling water the next time around.

Auggy

I’ve found a few that really seem to sparkle at 195 but 175 is really a better temp as a general rule. So much prettier tasting. Though I doubt it could have saved this puppy. Poor puppy.

teaplz

I just followed the package instructions… sorry for my ignorance, guys! I’ll definitely try what I have left at 175. Maybe the rating will go up, then! Because that first steep smelled delicious but tasted… not delicious.

Auggy

Nah, I don’t think that’s ignorance. Just a lack of accidentally boiling your leaves and then trying to prevent it. :)

Ricky

Aww, sad panda indeed. Hopefully some delicious Samovar Oolong comes your way and makes the experience all better. Strike two for this tea, sounds scary! It sounds like the Organic Green Tea.

Ricky

Your not alone teaplz, I almost always use boiling water for my oolong. Woaps, I always thought it was more black than green so it was okay to use boiling. Silly me.

Carolyn

@teaplz And this is one of the frustrating things about tea company’s brewing instructions. Very few companies bother to really explore the individual tea and give a recommendation based on that. Quite a number of companies seem to search the Internet (that well-known compendium of all that is good and true) for standardized rules for tea preparation. Some of these rules are insane. And when we try what they recommend? The tea tastes awful and we think that all those people maundering on about “delightful fruity, honey, floral” tastes are out of their minds. All we taste is something like boiled spinach water with greater bitterness. Gaaah!

Carolyn

Not that I have a strong opinion on this topic or anything.

takgoti

Blerg. The way this smells sounds like what a good oolong tastes like to me, so hold onto that thought!

I’ll cop to having a tendency to put boiling on my oolongs because I boil the water, but by the time I get it into the cup or the teapot or whatnot [I get distracted] it’s probably closer to 195. I’m also face-palming right now because I completely forgot that the greener oolongs often sing at a lower temperatures, which is perhaps a testament to blindly internalizing vendor instructions from time to time. I’ve actually seen Samovar say that x temperature gets you this while y temperature gets you that, too.

One last thing, I’ve found that oolongs often benefit from a quick rinse of the leaves to open them up a bit.

And everything that everyone else said, too.

teaplz

Thanks for all of the support, everyone! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in making a mistake like this… the GM package actually says “freshly boiled water.” So… yeah. It just stunk even more because I was all pumped for my first oolong, and then I was wrinkling my nose through almost all of it.

Angrboda

OMGosh, I think you just set a new post-length record! O.o Shame it didn’t live up to your hopes of it though. :(

teaplz

Angrboda, I was so excited about this. I was like, YAY, multiple infusions! I’m going to go crazy!

… And then it went downhill. :(

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Bio

22-year-old NYC girl just starting out on her tea adventures! I used to hate tea. If you asked me a few years ago what I thought of tea, I’d tell you it tasted like hot, dirty dishwater. Not anymore! I acquired a taste for tea when I started drinking peppermint tea for my upset stomach problems. From there I graduated to teas like chamomile and Lipton. But Lipton wasn’t strong enough!

I’m getting the hang of this loose leaf thing. Black’s my default, but I’ve found that I really love teas that fall into every category. I’m a purist – I always drink my tea neat. I prefer unflavored tea over flavored tea, and really dislike anything flavored with artificial-tasting substances. I’ve grown up a bit in my tea drinking, and I find that novelty appeals to me less and less.

I also am the happy girlfriend of the boy that created the tea randomizer, which can be found here: http://www.jaydeee.net/pickatea.php

Location

New York City

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