Golden Fleece

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Almond, Anise, Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Celery, Cocoa, Fennel, Honey, Lemon, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Saffron, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood, Yams, Orange Blossom, Sweet, Creamy, Sweet Potatoes, Spices, Mushrooms, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Coffee, Meat, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Cinnamon, Smooth, Pastries, Earth, Musty, Sugar, Grass, Sugarcane
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Edit tea info Last updated by CHAroma
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 11 oz / 338 ml

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259 Tasting Notes View all

  • “First, thank you SO MUCH to David @ Verdant for sending me this sample!! I wasn’t on Steepster when this tea emerged, never got to try it, & have always (I say “always”, but I’ve only been on...” Read full tasting note
  • “oh hello you gorgeous cup of tea that is so unlike the last cup i had that i bath in the glory that is you. yeah.. that’s right. i’m looking at you…plain old golden fleece, the one that is never...” Read full tasting note
  • “I feel like I’ve been avoiding this tea subconciously. As if it’s too much of a big deal or something… I went ahead and order 2oz of it, but I don’t want to mess it up or anything. I mean, those...” Read full tasting note
  • “I guess I’ll be the first civilian foolish enough to talk about this tea. As soon as you unseal the bag and get that heady aroma that’s been trapped in there, you know you’re in for something...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

This wild-picked Golden Fleece is an exquisite lesson in texture, and one of the truest flavor embodiments of Yunnan itself. . . .

This is the finest, most nuanced and intriguing Dian Hong we have ever encountered. Wang Yanxin, our sourcing agent who has devoted her life to Yunnan, has been searching for a Dian Hong like this for years. Every time she sends us pu’er, she includes 30-40 Dian Hong teas, and Jin Jun Mei teas. This time, she only sent us one, and wrote on the bag “this is the one. Best Dian Hong. Taste slowly.” She was so very right.

This tea is not the assertive experience that some seek in a black tea. It is not robust in the traditional sense, Instead, this is a subtle experience that will appeal to lovers of fine oolong and pu’er. The mouthfeel is perfectly smooth- not creamy, but silky. The taste unfolds slowly, confident in itself. The sweetness begins like that of vanilla ice cream, but quickly expands on the palate in the aftertaste with a gentle tingling similar to raw sugar. An enveloping honey profile is also present.

The wild-picked buds yield an intriguingly well-integrated spice profile. It is hard to pick it apart, but there are certainly cinnamon flavors, and the sweetness of ground clove and allspice. The tea has a warming quality and a brightness that truly feels like sunlight. In later steepings a satisfying thickness like incense and sweet morel mushrooms begins to develop and mix with the sparkling and sweet qualities.

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259 Tasting Notes

2005 tasting notes

Save Golden Fleece for a slow morning. This is definitely not one to gulp quickly while a travel mug while dodging crossing turtles (some days, my short morning commute is like Frogger).

This is gentle, honey-blonde both dry and steeped, rich and thick on the tongue and lips. Taste reminds me of sweet grain, puffed wheat.

Many of you have written long and lovely reviews of this one. Understandable! My thanks to Terri Harplady for yet another subtly satisfying sample!


This one definitely is for sitting down and enjoying!


We’re the crazy people stopping and putting them on the other side, and usually taking their picture as well. We have five box turtles, two western and three eastern, in our backyard that were more or less “rescues”. They get to live a pretty normal wild turtle life.
They are mostly unreleasable because two were brought out of their normal range and the others lost their habitat. Turtles shouldn’t be released outside of their normal range because they may carry diseases that are not common there so the present turtle inhabitants could all die. They don’t get exposed to a wide range of things because of their limited range, and are slow to heal because of their low metabolic rate,


Slow healers. Makes sense ;)


Hm. This makes me wonder if there is such a thing as mock turtle tea, and, if so, what it could possibly taste like.


I googled it, and at the top was The Mock Turtle Tea Shop, in Brighton, England. lol. I do like the name.

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603 tasting notes

Today is Saturday and I have time to focus on a tea and its multiple infusions. I decided on this one because it seemed… just right for today.

First Infusion: The scent of this first cup is of sweet potato, black pepper and sugar. It’s too hot to sip at the moment, but I can’t wait! Sipping… oh, this is nice and smooth! I’m getting a little bit of sweet potato and pepper with something milky as well. It’s slightly astringent at the end of the sip. Very tasty!

Second Infusion: The scent is a bit more flat in this cup than in the first. I can still detect sweet potato, but it’s very toned down. Sipping… the spicy black pepper is the first thing I taste. It’s also not nearly as sweet and milky as the first cup. It’s good, but very spicy! Not sure I like this cup all that much, to be honest. I’m rather sensitive to spicy notes and this one is just so peppery!

Third Infusion: I’m hoping that the pepper is toned down a little in this cup. Sipping… I’m getting a bit more of a milky note – yay! There is still the bite of that pepper, but it’s not as strong as the second cup. Just a hint of sweet potato is left, but it’s enough to make this cup quite nice.

If this tea maintained the flavors of the first infusion, this tea would be brilliant. I am not a fan of the spicy notes in the subsequent cups, so I don’t think I’ll purchase more of this tea. Still a wonderfully unique tea that would be perfect for those who like peppery notes in their tea!

BrewTEAlly Sweet

I had the same thought this morning! Ha ha Loved it!


Tea twins, brewteally sweet! ;)

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361 tasting notes

I’ve been putting off organizing my tea cupboard and drawers and finally dove into the project today. The bribe for myself was trying the sample of this I got with a verdant order awhile back. I brewed it western style and was surprised that I actually noticed the mushroom notes that other reviewers mentioned. But honestly, I didn’t really love it. Luckily I made it in my itty bitty little test tube steeper that only makes about 8 oz at a time so I didn’t have too much to get through before steeping it again. The second and third steeps were much more to my liking. The fungal (ha ha) flavors had subsided and there was a milk chocolaty honeyish flavor that lingered. I still didn’t fall in love with it and won’t reorder, but I’m glad I finally got around to trying it. And I got all my teas organized! Woot woot!

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390 tasting notes

Golden fleece is an apt name… once I snipped my way into the bag I felt like Jason staring down surprised that I had fulfilled my quest by using such a simple tool. Long wavy leaves, some gold, some bronze. The leaves smell like a spice I don’t know, but feel like I should, light and sweet—not cinnamon, not clove, it’s not so offensive as those… though up until the opening of this bag I had liked both of them . How odd.

I scooped a spoonful into my tea basket… it left gold speckles behind against the stainless gleam. Proof of my golden victory or so I thought until I sipped. A crew of eighth century Argonauts heaved a cheer off a page of parchment. The normally quippy music theme in my head became infiltrated by high stringed arpeggios playing counterpoint to bass drums and brass chords. I was drinking a dramatis personae, a choir in perfoming an unblemished harmony in my mouth. Just as suddenly the ensemble vanished without a trace and I was left bereft. Had it all been imagined? I sipped again out of distress. FORTISSIMO! It came back. I swallowed. Pianissimo… it ebbed and left with a whisper as though it had never been there.

Indeed… it takes quite a tea to stow my humour, to play the part of a serious reviewer. And all it took was the prize from an ancient Greek myth.

Words: superlative, exceptional, unparalleled.

Personal Note: Lily and David, if I could give you 142/100 (because 42 is the meaning of life the universe and everything… just like this tea) then I would in a heartbeat. What a lovely experience on such an exciting day for me.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec

You’re making me want to give their teas another try. :)


Nope. The only ones I’ve liked so far are the Earl of Anxi, and the ginger sage winter spa blend. I have a basket of samples of almost everything open in another window, and it’s so tempting to try again.

And now I’ve gone and sniffed teas and I want some Earl of Anxi at 12:10am. I should be going to sleep…


Oh, I also like the chocolate phoenix chai. I have weirdly specific likes. :)


well, you’re nearby i don’t mind sharing. straight up it will only be a wee bit of this one, lol… but fair shares of others. let me know!


Haha. Yes, I’m nearby. We’re talking about another tea meetup. Would you be interested? We’re not sure which side of the water it’ll be on yet. Oh, and I don’t mind buying samples from Verdant. I mean, it’s $40. I used to spend that on coffees every week.


Well Aragonut’ s over this tea you are, and congratulations on getting your school loan! (Don’t remember what you’re going to study). Tea will help you through! I’m almost convinced that those of us with immune system desease have a special relationship with tea too.

Lily Duckler

Thank you, JustJames! We love sharing this tea, and I still remember the rush of excitement when we first saw those gorgeous buds… It’s always a pleasure to see others captivated by their beautiful textures and flavors.



Terri HarpLady

And I’m pretty sure those high stringed arpeggios were coming from my Harp, I love this tea!


@Lily Duckler you gave me additional gifts to such an awesome day yesterday. truly, thank you. this tea was beyond believe.

@Bonnie thank you! occupational psychology with a specific focus on motivation. then (ideally) consulting with business on how to maximize employee dynamics and customer service. (i like people). and agreed that chronic illness (at least in me) has maximized my appreciation of tea. i’m allergic to coffee and have a freaky sense of smell (i can smell what the metal is under plate metal)… so a good tea truly is a gift.


Good choices! I spent most of 30 years in hi-tech customer service in Silicon Valley. My immune system issues heightened my sense of taste and smell too. Don’t mind it. Wish someone would do a study on the effects of tea on people like us.

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41 tasting notes

I think this may actually be the perfect tea. It’s just… everything. Words fail. Honey, vanilla, mushroom, yes. The mushroom sugar and kind of a cashew taste keep recombining in each sip, always there in different measure. There is a touch of spice in the back, it is really nice, but I am not sure what it is, I really can’t sort it. Others call it cinnamon, so I guess we can go with that. I keep getting a smooth feeling, with a warm barn fragrance even beyond the fungus smell which I keep relating to lanolin, and it won’t go away or just be called silky, even though I probably only think that because the name ‘fleece’ suggested it.

Speaking of fleece, this is so incredibly soft and sexy and golden gorgeous I wish it were my fleece. I could wear a sweater made of this stuff all winter if I wouldn’t be worried about messing up the flavor of the precious. :-)

Invader Zim

Seeing these kind of tasting notes makes me wish I liked black teas.


I-Z go get hypnosis!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

You don’t like black teas?! :O

Invader Zim

No, I don’t like black teas at all, the only exception being chai. I’ve tried blends and different varieties, but nothing I like. Hypnosis, if only I had the money! Although, I have enough variety in teas to keep me occupied.

Terri HarpLady

I love this tea, and I’m eagerly awaiting my Verdant order, because there will be some of this in it!

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757 tasting notes

Ok, so this is the tea that got the swap going with Indigobloom and I was waiting for a time where I could re-steep easily.

I don’t have a gaiwan or anything for gong fu steeping. I used a bag from DAVIDs, boiling water, and a measuring cup. I don’t usually measure the water…I just fill my Steeper to a point and brew. Because of the nature of the steeping on the website, and reading reviews here, I figured this was the closest I could come to East meets West steeping. I did not get rid of the first steep or “rinse” as I really wanted to max out what I could with my small sample.

First steep…my little special tea cup was actually less than 8 oz, so while I started the steep in that as I poured the boiling water from the measuring cup, I poured the rest in my mug, followed by what was in my tea cup, and the bag. I think I probably just shook the bag around a bit and dunked it up and down. I’m guessing this was all in the 20-30 second time frame. The brew that formed was light and pale and golden. It smelled very bready, considering how short a steep it was. My first sip was a spicy one, a sharp peppery spice at the tip of my tongue. I wasn’t prepared for that. Subsequent sips were not as sharp, and I could taste the bread again, but more like a honey bread. I will mention that this was drunk bare, which I rarely do. I could taste a subtle sweet note at the back of my mouth, sort of like an after taste. I don’t think I picked up any mushroom notes, which is good for me since I am not fond of mushrooms, but it is possible that was I did taste was a little of the roasted sweet potato that some have picked up on.

Second steep was longer, and I added sugar, but not much. This steep was stronger, and a bit more astringent than the first. The basic flavours appeared, though the brew was darker, and it was, as I said, a little more astringent.

Third steep I went a bit more Western, probably about a minute steep, and I used more sugar and also milk. I’m getting a very classic Chinese Yunnan taste from this…something I have had in the past, something that is very comforting to me. I do still get some of the peppery notes every now and again, and the malty honey bun flavour is what permeates most in this. The milk and sugar add a sweet creamy touch. It is a simplicity in flavour that makes it so comforting, even if the notes are a little complex still.

All in all, I find this to be of very good quality. It’s taste is a bit like liquid gold. It has all the traits of a good yunnan tea that I love, but a silky and glossy golden feel to it. It’s like a tea spun out of gold. Light and bright but balanced.

I don’t know if I will get more steeps out of this one or not, especially as my last steep had the bag in with the milky water. If I do one more, it will probably be more Western style, and continue with the milk and sugar.

I have enough of the sample for one more round of steeps, so I will use those leaves wisely.

Thanks agin to Indigobloom for sharing this delightful tea with me.


yay! it’s quite the character this one ;P

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807 tasting notes

I can’t understand why I have not left a tasting note on this before.
I thought I would simply come and log this as I am having it as my morning tea and just make a note to see my previous review on it. Alas no previous review exists that I can find!
Not from me I mean.
However after reading over some of the lengthy amazing reviews of others I am highly intimidated to even make a remark worthy of this tea.
Soothing to say the least.
A true embodiment of what a quality tea should taste like – if only more did!
This is a tea that makes you feel “Im not worthy”.
It is sad it is gone, I hope more is available someday.
It is like others have said – like drinking silk – its mouthfeel can only be described in that manner, its not milky, I suppose you could say creamy but creamy does not do it justice. It just slides through the mouth, lingers on the taste buds romantically then slips into your throat and just slides down.
The result is an aftertaste similar to nothing you have tasted before because with each sip new flavors evolve as if your taste buds and the tea have a little game they are playing and only they know the rules.
I will miss this tea when I have my sip down. For now I have just enough to covet and stash away for a rainy day.

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818 tasting notes

I finally got a sample of this tea. I was really looking forward to it because it seems to be worshipped on steepster alongside laoshan black. Well, it smelled and tasted a lot like potatoes. You know, “po-ta-toes! Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew!” ;) The taste also has a bit of spice at the end of the sip. I had 3 steeps of the same leaves brewed western style (I think 1-minute infusions) and the flavor remained pretty much the same.

Overall, I wasn’t that into this tea. Maybe the potato-like black teas aren’t my thing? I guess we’ll see because I also have a sample of the Yu Lu that I haven’t tried yet. I still have some of this left, so I’m willing to give it another go. Don’t really want to mess with gongfu style though, because I feel like a tea should at the base, be good brewed western style, and if that’s the case, then gongfu is icing on the cake.


i don’t like this one nearly as much as a lot of steepsterites. The type of tea just doesn’t seem to be up my alley :)


Isn’t this one of the more expensive Verdant Teas? It’s probably better for your wallet this way!


haha true!


Sil – yay! I’m not alone!

Cavocorax – yes it is! More money for other teas!


If it tastes like potatoes, I think I need to try it!


Lol! @Fuzzy_Peachkin


After reading some of the more recent reviews describing it as starchy potato, I’ve been less excited to try it haha.


Yeah, I’m not sure if I want to try this to be honest. It’s so high risk (the price) and so far I haven’t been extremely fond of Yunnan teas I’ve tried.

(“What’s… taters? D:”)


Chizakura – ;)

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1113 tasting notes

I finished my sample pack of this tea today. It took me until the last cup to fully appreciate it, I think.

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602 tasting notes

So, I probably brewed this wrong, having JUST looked at the Verdant website and seeing a steep time of 1 minute (I did 2) and a temp a little lower than boiling. Also I think I may have underleafed. By at least a teaspoon. (Having made about 27 fl oz of tea (according to my quick and dirty ml to oz conversion) and put in 3 heaping teaspoons. more like 3 teaspoons. yeaaaah. I’ve gotten out of the habit of using my breville and I forgot that ~750 ml is actually ~3 cups and not 2… Oh well. Next steep I’ll add some new leaves. So yeah, this is weaker than probably it would be at it’s best.

Another reason I’m probably not liking this as much as I probably would be otherwise is that I’m out of practice with tea tasting. With the summer and my inability to make iced tea in a reasonable fashion without it sucking and then my need to be out of my house as much as possible to try to keep from sinking into a deeper depression…there’s not been much time for tea from my own collection. At least, made the way I like it.

Still, this is very enjoyable even with those caveats. Hikaru the kitty knows it has my attention and not her so she’s trying to knock it over with her head. She’s been much more needy since my Groucho kitty died on Monday.

Anyway, it tastes very silky as said in the outline on Verdant, and I can definitely taste some very warm spices, possibly the cinnamon mentioned, though I like it a lot better than actual cinnamon, which I don’t like so much. The morels come through more on the aftertaste. All in all, it’s quite pleasant and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even more as my ability to taste more nuances comes back.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

About iced tea sucking… if you switch to cold brewing maybe you’ll find that you’ll be more successful. Leaves in the bottle and that’s it. I have one of those filter tops for cold brewing.
If you have a gaiwan (or you can use a teacup and saucer) brew a little tea this way to reeducate your taste buds. Sometimes after a series of migraines, I lose my sense of taste for a week or two. I have to reeducate my brain.


No, I can’t reliably do cold brewing. Mostly because I am a scatterbrain and it would probably steep for days on end before I would remember that I am steeping iced tea. If I have a defined time period I will be at home, maybe. Worth looking into anyway. I do really well with very very specific instructions.

I have a gaiwan…somewhere…packed in a box. I’ve always put a little sugar in though, even at my most sensitive, plain black tea ( my favourite) always tasted BITTER AND NOTHING ELSE without 1/2-1 tsp of sugar per 16 oz or so. Hard to do with a gaiwan. :(


You can pour two steeps into a mug and then sweeten using a gaiwan (I sweeten black tea also). Many times I cold brew using leaves I’ve already hot brewed such as a great oolong or my laoshan black tea because there’s still lots of life left. No worry that the tea will be bitter and overbrewed if I forget about it.


Hmm. I kind of feel a little dumb for not thinking of that gaiwan tactic. Thanks for telling me. I’ll try to remember your cold brew techniques for when it’s not below freezing outside. I keep the inside at below 60F so I’m not really craving iced tea right now at all. Currently buried in blankets.


Second steep with added new tea is going much better. A very rich black tea now. Definitely lovely.


So sorry to hear about your Groucho :(


Aww, sorry about your kitty. :( That’s always so hard.


I don’t know why I didn’t see the part about your kitty when I read this on my Kindle. I’m so stupid! I’m sorry that your Groucho died. There isn’t anything good about the emptiness at all. Only the love of friends, family, people like us odd tea crazies (I’m a crazy) will be of some comfort. We humans have this in common. Loss, Love, Comfort. We need each other.


Thanks everybody. It was really hard, but she’d been sick with cancer for over a year and it was time. Mostly I’ve just been trying to appreciate the (4) cats I have left, especially her brother who has been crying for her sometimes, they were very close.


Groucho! I’m so sorry for your loss.

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