Golden Moon Sample No. 3 of 31. Another random pick.

There was an amusing, crazy, humongous open leaf among the dry leaves, that looked something like a bay leaf. Never seen that before in the teas I’ve tried. Other than that they looked greenish grey with flecks of white. Not sure what kind they are, maybe white peony? They smell sweet and, I guess, melony, but it’s really too pungent to be just melon. The smell reminds me of something I can’t place. Maybe jelly beans? Candy corn? Cotton candy? A tiny bit like caramel? This worried me a little at first. I was afraid this would be gag-me-with-a-spoon sweet. But it turns out I didn’t have to worry.

When steeped, the melon scent becomes evident, and the candy smell recedes greatly. Sometimes the aroma smells a bit like honeydew, sometimes like cantaloupe, sometimes like a mix. It’s a juicy and mildy fermented smell, with a high white wine-like note. The liquor is a clear, pale golden-yellow.

Wow. I’m tasting this as I type and it does taste just like a melon! It’s like drinking a slightly watered-down version of the juice left on the empty plate where the honeydew was at a breakfast buffet, but there’s more to it than that. It’s mildly sweet, but with that same slightly fermented note to it, which must be the underlying tea. Winey. Almost yeasty. It’s very nice indeed. It is the best flavored white tea I have tried so far, not that I’ve tried that many.

I’m giving it a provisional rating that puts it above the other flavored whites I’ve had but isn’t out the roof as I don’t yet have enough of a comparison base in flavored whites to feel comfortable saying this is the best of the best. It may change as my experience changes, but for now I’m calling it a smashing success as a white melon tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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