Golden Osmanthus Tie Kuan Yin, Golden Tea Shop (Oakland, CA). I picked this up on the recommendation of the proprietress of Golden Tea Shop in Oakland’s China Town. Appearance: tightly rolled loose leaf oolong with minimal oxidation and light green color. This is a scented oolong (meaning the tea leaves are covered with osmanthus flowers and scented, like most jasmine teas, instead of blended). The color of the leaves doesn’t change much as the tea steeps. Liquor: clear, mostly chartreuse yellow but a little darker gold than a color wheel chartreuse. Smell: I really like the smell of both osmanthus and of tie kuan yin, and this is a very pleasant middle ground for those. Meaning, it has the nice vegetal smells of an iron goddess, and the warmth of the osmanthus. Taste: like the smell, this is a nice blend of a lightly oxidized iron goddess with the osmanthus aroma. It’s slightly vegetal from the iron goddess, but slightly soapy from the osmanthus. I find that disappointing, because I get less of a soapy taste when I use straight osmanthus flowers (which I do quite a bit, actually). It’s not terrible, but it just detracts from the taste. Overall, 6/10. It’s not bad, but not good enough I’m going to restock. I will probably keep my eye out for other options like this though.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Attorney in San Francisco. Recent convert to tea drinking, but I’m hooked. I also love experimenting with vegetarian food (meaning I rarely use recipes). Long time chocolate lover.

When I review a tea, I will identify the following information: Source – “Name.” Style, including loose, bag, or sachet. Appearance, referring to the appearance of the leaves dry. Liquor, referring to the appearance of the brewed drink. Smell, referring to the brewed liquor. Taste (self-explanatory). Other insights. Finally, I will give it a score from 1 to 10. Anything in the 1-3 range is something that I disliked and am unlikely to consume again. Anything in the 4-6 range is okay; I am not likely going to buy it again, but if I came across it and wasn’t paying (or past my fairly low caffeine tolerance for the day), I probably would consume again. Anything in the 7-9 range is something I liked, and the higher the score the more likely I will try to keep the particular tea around. I intend to use a 10 rating very rarely, and only for the very best.

General notes:

I don’t like milk or sugar in my tea, except for an Indian style chai masala and certain other exceptional cases. Many black teas are blended to be more on the bitter side, and thus to call for sugar to soften and round the flavors. When I think to try sugar in such a black, my review will note any difference between the straight and sugared taste. I’m doing that for the review process, because if something requires sugar, I’m unlikely to commit to it for one of my standard teas. I can’t imagine using sugar in a green, oolong, or white tea, so don’t expect that distinction in reviews of those types.


San Francisco



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