Golden Tea Leaf Co.Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
$16 for 50 sachets, i.e. 150 grams of oolong tea is a deal. I highly recommend a purchase for those in need of a floral oolong with all the convenience of a sachet form. Here is my review of it, along with a little epiphany in my tea journey about the osmanthus note.
I’ve had osmanthus oolongs before, and they are the floral hot Sprite of teas for me. I do like them when I have them, but I usually do not search for them because there is normally something I nit pick about the leaf base, whether the body is too roasted or faint. Given my experience with this companies oolongs as of late, I knew that the body of this tea would have a viscosity at the minimum, and the Jin Xuan base was heavily flavored with Osmanthus, which would transition into the tea since the taste is naturally a part of the tea. The heavy flavor also helps give the dry leaf sachets in the bag a candy sweet osmanthus scent amidst the lenin like smell of the bags.
The tea’s aroma brew varies from buttery floral greens to the same candy sweet osmanthus. Like the scent, the taste of each sachet has been slightly different, and I usually go for a western at 2-3 minutes, or let the sachet grandpa out in a mug. There are times where I can taste the Jin Xuan’s body more than the flavor, but that is not a bad thing since the Jin Xuan notes are actually better than others I’ve had. The texture is always thick and the notes always have a buttery honeysuckle floral taste in the body as a background for the osmanthus. A dryness appears every once in a while that reminds me of steel cut oats, which I know is a weird comparison. I’ve seen some red in the leaves of the sachet, so could it be from slight roasting? I don’t know. The tea is still very, very green and smooth.
Other times, the osmanthus is the star with the same body, but a lighter and sweeter overall taste. Here’s when I get a little bit of vanilla or a bit of a lemon approximation. I will say sweetening the tea hot or iced with a lemon slice really brings out the osmanthus and creamier notes. Sometimes, the tea can be so sweet and smooth that it reminds me a little bit of a Li Shan…which is a fairly hefty comparison that I would have not previously made.
Here is that epiphany: I like me some osmanthus notes in my oolong. There is no doubt that this is a Jin Xuan in how it tastes, but the osmanthus again adds a sweet quality that I usually get from my higher mountain addictions. I can now see why people use Osmanthus to describe the taste of the Li Shans and Ali Shans more, making this a deal of a daily drinker for my preferences, and osmanthus the descriptor I need to look for with sugarcane while shopping for oolongs.
The cold brews of this tea are also fantastic, and a little bit sweeter and crisper. It has saved my tookus in a few workouts, both refreshing me and giving me a stable, but light caffeine buzz while doing so.
Man, I filled too much space on this one. To sum it up, this is a great daily tea for Taiwaneese oolong lovers in sachet form. There can be a little bit of variety from bag to bag in terms of how strong the osmanthus is, but that really is not a problem with a good jin xuan for the base. It is approachable for newbie drinkers, especially those getting into greens, with sugar or honey, but especially lemon as an additive. I’d be interested to see what my more experienced friends might think of this one.
I’ve had this for a while, and it is one of my top 10 teas so far. It’s a Dan Cong, one of my favorite tea types, from Guangdong AND it possesses some very unique florals that I did not expect. Looking at the dark wiry leaves, you’d think it would be darker, roasted, and fruity. But then you look at the and green and purple hues at the tips, and you actually smell the tea, it will give you a milky surprise. “Milky” tends to describe teas in texture more than flavor, and only a few Jin Xuans actually have that hot milk flavor on their own, but this tea actually tastes like and smells like warmed honeyed creamer with a few butterscotch hints. Overall, however, the tea is predominently floral and on the lighter side of oxidation. Magnolia is without a doubt the strongest floral, with some lilac hints at the beginning of each sip, and a little bit of honey suckle and honey mid sip, dense, creamy milk notes at the end….and again, it’s a dan cong.
This tea is weird because the florals are something you’d expect out of a dancong, but the milky notes with the other florals makes it rival the sweetness of a few high mountains. There are no grassy notes in this tea whatsoever too, and it has some staying power gong fu at 8-10 steeps using 4 grams (15-30 sec increments), 5 western (2 minutes is my preferance with 2-3 grams in 8 oz), and decent grandpa style (though you have to go way up on the water and low on the leaves (3-4 grams for 14-16 oz.) You can also bet your hind end it’s aromatic and viscous. It doesn’t really get bitter, but it can get drying if it soaks too long. That is the only complaint, and it is a minimum one.
This is a personal hundred, but overall, I think this is a 95. I do wonder how tea newbies would do with it. The flavor is milky, but incredibly floral and natural so it can kick most flavored oolongs butts. But if you do not like lactose or mega floral teas, this might be a little powerful.
I thought I reviewed this….oh well.
I liked this one more than I thought I would. I tend to be persnickety about roasted oolongs, but this was well balanced. It had orchid and charcoal notes like a Qilan, but it is was still green and savory enough to remind me of its Taiwaneese origin. Like Amanda already described in detail, I got some hoppy notes of grain and buckwheat and honey. Roasted almond and monk fruit were in the after taste, because it was certainly nutty, and had a general sweetness that was a little bit hard to describe….like how monk fruit is sweet, but not really.
In terms of preferences, this was a 75, but because I plopped my bags sachets into my tumbler and drank them fairly often, I am upping the rating a little bit. Most importantly, it was an roasted oolong that was very light and easy to drink, so that makes a difference overall. I would not reach out for it, but it is more sophisticated than any average tea.
Thank you for the sample!
This was a good roasted Dong Ding Gong fu. First 30 second steep had orchid and roast notes with a little bit of an all spice feel, and the later steeps at one minute, two minutes, and 3, 4, and 6 minutes were sweeter. The florals remained, and it got sweeter with a healthy bit of nutty roast and mineral notes. I can see why they picked plum for the fruity note. It was very easy to drink, but I am kinda curious to see how this one ages. Those who like this variety will enjoy it without a doubt. This type of oolong still reminds me of potato chips.
Man, I need to get my ass into high gear with these sipdowns!
This is one that needed to happen; the tea is only average overall so there’s no reason to keep it on hand. This cup was fine; buttery and floral with overarching vegetal elements such as notes of asparagus. Not bad, but not great. Easy to mindlessly sip.
Drank this one on the way home from work, mostly because it was quick to prepare on the way out for the night because of the sachet format but also because I want to finish this one off sooner rather than later. I can’t really recall what I thought of this one when I first tasted it but I kind of got the feeling of ‘reverse’ deja vu this time when I was sipping on it; you know, like the sensation that nothing I was tasting in this cup lined up at all with my first impression. Mostly notes of toasted/grilled nuts, roastiness, a bit of a creamy quality, and then a VERY dill heavy finish…
Another Sipsby subscription box pick.
This one wasn’t bad, but it’s wasn’t great either. For starters it’s a sachet, and I really dislike oolong teas in sachet form – I want to give the leaf as much room to expand as humanly possible and this is just so restrictive.
Taste wise, it was smooth and relatively medium bodied with some nice natural sweetness and a good, consistent floral note throughout – kind of orchid like. The undertone was a bit fruity, sort of like an apricot/nectarine type of thing. Or peach skins. Finish was JUST A LITTLE BIT woody, but not in a way that even remotely makes me think ‘Ah, yes – pine!" so I’m really not sure where the name of this one comes from at all?
I think this will be easy to finish off, but overall it’s pretty average to me.
I steeped this tea longer (3 min), instead of 2, as suggested. It appeared to be clear but upon closer inspection it was a beautiful, light, pale yellow. The fragrance was wonderful, slight and beautiful. I love this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Grapes, Green
See my full review on Sororitea Sisters:
Flavors: Grapes, Green, Mineral, Sour
See my full review coming soon to Sororitea Sisters
Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Melon, Mineral
Sipdown! I tried this less than a week ago, and I am again today…only I really upped the grammage and did short steeps.
I’m so glad I did. This tea has some really sugary florals. The aroma reminded me of snicker doodles oddly enough. The taste also had a little bit of a cookie quality hidden the flower stems I got. Sugarcane is the word I’m thinking of. The florals themselves are also very bright, and come close to mostly to hyacinth, then maybe lilac, orange blossom, and something else but I am not sure. It’s a little bit fruity, but barely. That’s why I would pick orange blossom to describe it. Hyacinth dominated overall. The majority of the Golden Tea Leaf Oolongs have the same hyacinth note, though some others shift in quality towards lilac and others towards honeysuckle, jasmine, and gardenia. The Ali Mountain had the lilac folded into its thick and flat milky body for example.
In short, this was a light sweet and floral stemmy tea. I brewed 6 oz using 4-5 g (I really did not pay attention-the bottom of the steeper was covered two layers over) beginning with 30 sec, 20, 15, 25, 30, 45, 50, and so on to longer minutes in the later steeps. I brewed by scent and it worked out for me.
Happy New Year all my tea peoples! I hope yours is off to a good start, filled with excellent tea of course! Mostly mine has been…really hit or miss actually, events in my life are great, but I decided it was a grand idea to catch the flu. I rang in the new year by grumbling at the neighbors for setting off fireworks, because apparently, I am a grumpy old lady now. One thing that is awesome that will make my life so much easier is I have a new computer! Ben got me a swanky new laptop as a wedding present, made a big show on how it was going to be mostly his and I could use it while he was at work, but still had to use the barely functioning one when he was home…well he was a giant tease, set the thing up entirely for me and presented it to me. This, of course, made me immensely happy…not only do I have a working (like really working and not just functioning) computer, this means we no longer have to share it, so my blog schedule won’t be so determined by his work schedule. Yay!
I agonized long and hard over how to bring the blog back from my little vacation, and decided a tea that has recently brought me some nice flu relief deserved a spotlight, so here is my look at Golden Tea Leaf’s Ginseng Oolong. It is a blend of American Ginseng and a floral High Mountain Oolong, not the usual green nuggets of gross you see offered as Ginseng Oolong, this is blending chopped up root bits with tea. Conveniently stuffed into a very large sachet (meaning the leaves can expand) as you can see from the picture you really need the pouch or will get a mouth full of ginseng bits but since the pouch is large and full of quality leaves, I don’t mind it. The aroma is quite fun, if you are into notes of earthy roots, licorice, sage, and an underlying floral, nutty, sweetness…which I am. I could see this being a very polarizing tea, just like with licorice root, you either love it or hate it, and if my long-standing love of licorice root is a clue, I am a sucker for earthy sweet roots.
I decided that yes, I am going to gongfu a bag, because why not? The aroma after the first steep is really fascinating, blending buttery floral notes of the familiar Oolong with peppery, nutty, earthy, licorice notes of the ginseng. Not something you expect every day, but very pleasant. The liquid is nutty and sweet, blending notes of spring flowers and a bit of green crisp lettuce with underlying licorice and burdock notes. I like that is has such earthy herbaceous notes without smelling at all like, well, dirt.
The taste of the first steep is really fun, but before I get to taste let me mention that mouthfeel! Like licorice it is thick, almost to the point of being slippery, this is probably due to the saponins present in the ginseng, let me say that when you have a horrid sore throat that mouthfeel is immensely soothing. The taste of the ginseng starts subtle then blooms into an intense herbaceous experience, similar to…you guessed it…licorice root, pepper, burdock root, and a bit of sage. The taste is very sweet, towards the end distant notes of lilac and honeysuckle pop up and dance with the rooty goodness of the ginseng. The aftertaste is very sweet and licorice-like, lingering for a long time.
This steep allows the Oolong to really shine, since the leaves have opened more it can compete with the strong ginseng. It starts, middles, and finishes with lilac, honeysuckles, lilies, and a lettuce and sage green note. Of course there is the ginseng, giving a sweet rooty note of licorice and earthy burdock with just a hint of pepper. The mouthfeel is still super thick and slippery and really does a grand job of coating the mouth.
If it is not obvious, I kinda fell in love with this blend. I love the way the ginseng tastes with the Oolong, and knowing that it is quality material and not the honestly quite gross green nuggets I have had previously makes it infinitely better. Ginseng is used for its supposed health benefits, and while it was very soothing on my sore throat, it didn’t really lessen my flu any, but since I rarely drink teas (even herbal ones) for things other than taste this does not bother me. I did really enjoy the taste, and it lasting many steeps (I got five really solid steeps) made it a good companion for my sick self. If you don’t want to toss a pouch in a gaiwan it does taste really good brewed in a mug, the ginseng is very strong that first steep though so if you are wanting a lighter ginseng then go the gongfu route. I have one more pouch of this tea left and I will probably drink it before bed tonight, then I will need to get more because, sickness or no, this tea is right in my level of taste likes! Again, Happy New Year everyone!!
Most of other notes already covered the basics. I have had black teas processed closely to how this one was and they have not been as good. The other dark Jin Xuans I’ve had are usually to “ripe”, thick, or sweet nevermind I enjoy naturally sweet teas with some texture. I love that this has very little astringency and bitterness. In terms of notes, I got the honey mostly followed by the honeysuckle, caramel, and orange. It was actually very similar to What-Cha’s Vietnam Red Buffalo, but the mouth feel was a touch heavier and more malty making it more obvious that this was a black tea.
Out of all the black samples from Golden Tea Leaf, I would drink this one the most often. Like Amanda said, this tea was also very forgiving making it a better option for leaving the leaves in the brewing apparatus, namely a tumbler. You might be able to Gong Fu it, but Western is easier. A part of me actually liked this more than the Gold Red Tea (though I liked the complexity more of the Gold Red), and I definitely preferred it to the Sun Moon Lake since I like lighter black teas. I do drink Yunnan Gold Buds often, after all.
Not a bad black tea to try if you are trying to expand your hong cha horizon, and definitely good for those who like forgiving and softer black teas.
Brewing this tea lighter was what did the trick for me-I would estimate 3 grams or less in 6 oz and I kept returning to it whenever I would brew this amber beauty up. The menthol was there, but it was not as strong. I got more caramel, butter, and some sweet fruity notes in the viscosity. I got the citrus, amidst the smooth malt. I was getting some red grape hints in the malt-I know, weird note since I already had citrus, but they were hovering in the middle of the second steeps cool down. The third steep smelled like a saffrony malty black tea, a little cooked tomato like. The after taste of this one reminded me of rose hip beginning at the mid sip. I’d be interested to see if anyone else got that.
I can say I enjoyed this more as I savored the sample and it is without a doubt a high quality black tea. As much as I was impressed by this one and would recommend it, it still is not something that I would make a staple in my cabinet out of sheer preferences. This black tea is without a doubt versatile, and fits perfectly into what I think anything Assam like should taste like, this really is a hong cha mouthfeel snob’s tea.
Good Assam like tea. The camphor is really strong for this tea, and I definitely get a tingly sensation on my tongue. Gongfu, 15, 12, 15 so far. It is actually a little too brisk for me personally, but it is definitely complex on the notes.
First steep gave me the usual for a Taiwanese Sun Moon Lake: cinnamon, thick malt, smooth, and a little bit drying. Second steep was surprisingly sweet and floral. It oddly made me think of an over steeped jasmine tea never mind the smell had the tomato thing that I associate with this tea. It was also spicy at the same time. I think this is what Amanda meant about the cardamom and saffron in her description. I also get the mint note, and I think that’s what I am having a hard time with. A little too dry. Steep three was more malt, spice, and smooth dryness.I did enjoy the complexity of this one, but I might have to brew this a little lighter next time. For anyone trying this: it is basically a strong and more complex Assam type of tea. I’d highly recommend it if that’s what you are looking for.
Excellent jasmine tea. Very close to a jasmine green tea pearl. The body was clear and clean, and was brew-able in short ten second incremented steeps. The jasmine is strong, incredibly sweet, and naturally creamy in texture. I easily got eight cups, with another potentially looming on the horizon.
This was not super complex, but it was also not super vegetal. The florals were strong, but they were also airy and light. I think this jasmine oolong could be a favorite. I would give it to an experienced jasmine tea drinker and a newbie alike. I’m going to have to see it western, but I am fairly happy with this turn out.
I quite enjoyed this one.
In basic speach: this was a smooth black tea little bitterness and no astringency Gong Fu. It also had a lingering sweet aftertaste that is not super common with blacks. Would recommend it to a connoisseur like the website says, but a newbie genuinely curious about the world of black teas would enjoy the excellent body.
In over-obsessive tea snob speach: this was a great tea Gong Fu with bready toast notes ending with a sugary aftertaste. There was smooth malt too and comes close to the other black teas with the caramel and chocolate notes, though this tea in particular does not necessarily have them. Instead, the kinds of images in my mind from drinking is broiled toast coated with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. It is like other Taiwaneese blacks, namely a Sun Moon Lake Assam, but it lacks the brisker and more tomato-y notes that I associate with that variety. It does have the weird cinnamon thing going on, though it’s not as strong as I’ve had in other teas.
So overall, I HIGHLY recommend at least a try of this tea. It’s texture, balance, and sweet aftertaste are excellent and worth experiencing-hence the connoisseur recommendation. As Oolongowl commonly says about certain teas, this is a mouth-feel lovers tea. Someone absolutely newer to the imaginative world of teas might not be super impressed with the texture and just might assume it’s a slightly sweeter than usual black tea. I personally brewed it using around 3-4 grams (closer to 3), first steep 20 sec, 35 sec, 45 sec, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes at 180 F.
I opened my bag up and it had that pastry aroma. It was not giving up Gong Fu, and I got an awesome bombshell of new notes like custard, lemon, pineapple, brown sugar, and rose. It’s still as floral as ever, and fairly buttery. It was starting to get a slight spice note which I have only had in a few oolongs. I am definitely upping the rating-I can see why this batch is the staff favorite.