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

64 tasting notes

Holy ambrosia! I now understand how Jason felt after prying the legendary golden fleece from the clutches of King Aeetes. This tea just makes you feel powerful, like you’re caressing some coveted treasure of the gods, attempting to hide it from their jealous eyes. Remind me again why I waited this long to order some of this tea?

While not the most complex tea flavor-wise, it is a magnificent textural tea. Please don’t get me wrong, this tea’s flavor is supremely balanced, and oh-so delicious—a tea with top-notch character. But really where this tea shines is in the mouthfeel. I will reiterate what most others have already claimed: it is silky smooooth. However, it’s not static from what I’ve tasted in my sessions with this tea. I wrote twice as many notes on textural fluctuations than flavors throughout steeps. I’ll outline my notes:

Steep 1-2: airily light, silky, melts away as swallowed
Steep 3: becomes heavier and thicker, like velvet
Steep 4: becomes lighter, but more creamy and soft
Steep 5-6: light and silky again
Steep 7: same as last steep, but with a sparkling texture that tingles the back of the throat
Steep 8: back to creamy
Steep 9: back to silky

As for the flavor details, this dian hong tastes like candy. Especially during the first steeps where the liquor is smooth and melty, I can’t get those Werther’s Original caramel hard candies out of my mind when I’m sipping. These combined with raw cane sugar, a hint of cloves, and malt make up an amazingly well-balanced body in the first few steeps. Going on into the third and fourth steep, the heaviness of the liquor compliments darker cocoa and mocha flavors as spices gently increase and a honeyed sweetness meets them midway. These notes are very well complimented by strong, wafting aromas of chocolate and toffee from the wet leaves and liquor, respectively. Continuing on, caramel flavors increase, accompanied by a new tapioca-like taste, while the intense sugary tastes subside for a steep or two.

At this point, an aftertaste has been well-established, as hints of licorice and toffee play in the back of the throat. Onto the seventh steep! The liquor’s aroma becomes quite strong now, whereas it had been lighter and less pronounced in the beginning. Playing on the sparkling texture, the flavor develops a syrupy sweetness that meshes with increasing malt and tapioca flavors. Steep eight is really where this tea came out for me. It was nicely thick and creamy, developing some complexities of an earthy or mossy quality and some faint astringency, which added nice depth to the taste established by the previous steep. From this point on, this tea mostly reverted back to the flavor profile of the beginning, creating a nice and even bell curve of flavors, if you will.

Other miscellaneous notes:
- The evolution of flavor after a sip is really quite fantastic. It starts off full of flavor, but it keeps gradually expanding, becoming full-bodied before slowly fading away into an aftertaste. I think this has one of the most lingering flavors of any tea I’ve had recently.

- The leaves are really quite amazing. Beautiful colors and sheen when dry, with an interesting springiness to them and a soft texture. When wet, the quality is even more apparent. These are probably the most consistent appearing leaves I’ve seen; every single one is exactly what it should be, nothing extraneous. Oh! And they smell heavenly. Honey, vanilla, a light dusting of spice, dried fruits, and caramel. There was something else that I couldn’t put my finger on, but after just reading the other reviews, I must agree there is an uncanny sweet potato aroma to them.

- After most steeps, a delicate layer of tea oils is visible.

Sorry for the length! Thanks for sticking through the whole thing!


Great review! I love all of your texture notes- with you 100% on all of it.
I wonder if Helles fell off the Golden Ram because she was just overcome at how the fleece felt beneath her hands? In the face of it, perhaps the only sensible reaction was to fall to the Hellespont and become a sea goddess..


Amazing review!


=D Thanks so much to both of you! And that’s a pretty reasonable hypothesis Spoonvonstup. ;)

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2392 tasting notes

Additional notes: A revisit to the lovely Golden Fleece… though the leaves are some of the most interesting, and though this tea is still interesting flavorwise, I think I’ve had a couple more that have tasted better. Like Yunnan Sourcing’s Imperial Mojiang or Teavivre’s sweet potato teas. Golden Fleece is like the muted version of something like that… or these leaves are simply older… or they were never really sweet potato to begin with but HONEY. Lowering the rating from 97, just because this one doesn’t have enough flavor, though I know it is supposed to be a very light one.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // few min after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min

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409 tasting notes

This is such a treat. So silky smooth I’d hardly recognize it as a Yunnan black. I don’t think I can describe it better than anyone already has, but I’m on steep 12(?) and it’s still going strong. I’ve just been enjoying all day. This doesn’t have the kick I usually get (and enjoy) from Yunnan blacks, but it is a great way to delve into the flavor.

Between how much of Rishi’s China Black I’ve been drinking, and the deliciousness of this one, I decided to rechristen my one (barely used) yixing pot – I got it from Samovar, and made Maiden’s Ecstasy in it once or twice, but I’m just not that into puerh (yet), so it’s been sitting unused in my cupboard for awhile now. Sad :( So today, I boiled it in fresh water for a while, then let it soak in a pot with a couple steeps of the Golden Fleece and some China Breakfast. I’m excited about this change!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Rishi’s china black is my favorite black. :) I really want to try this one!

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47 tasting notes

The first time I tried this tea in a sample from Bonnie, I had no idea that this was a difficult tea for Verdant to obtain. So, my first cup was consumed without knowing how difficult it would be to get. What a shame! Beautifully flavored tea and as someone before me stated, has the oddly beautiful scent of mushrooms.

After Christmas, I finally had time to get back into my tea collection and enjoy a few cups with my new tea kettle. This one was the first one I decided to try again. There’s nothing like sipping a beautiful cup of tea while watching the snow fall. This tea is delicious and I’m tempted to buy out the remainder of Verdant’s supply, despite the fact that I am poor. Thanks Bonnie for parting with some of yours. Now that I know what I had, I definitely appreciate your sending me some. You’re the best!

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Glad you liked it! Tea is to be shared with friends!


I really did! You’ve actually really gotten me into a few different black teas. I was always hesitant to buy them without tasting them because I had no idea what sort of tea I liked. I assumed that I only liked flavored tea. You proved me wrong and I am forever grateful for it!


so glad you’re enjoying black teas Finn! There are some great ones out there with plenty of flavour and subtleties going on :)


I really am. My boyfriend is beginning to think I have a tea addiction. ha I even hide some of it when I order it because I know that I have gotten entirely too much. I say at least it’s not soda. It’s healthy and keeps me busy :)

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58 tasting notes

Verdant don’t ship to Australia so I am getting to taste this tea thanks to Sil who has very kindly sent me a whole range of samples to sip through. Thanks again!

Sil offered to send me these teas because I posted in the discussions that I wasn’t convinced that Verdant teas were as good steepster made them out to be, I mean, can any one company on a website that ranks hundreds really be performing so well without some kind of bias? I had no way of knowing because I had no way of trying Verdant teas.

So what do I think of this tea and Verdant after my first tasting?

I’m impressed. This is a really lovely tea with complex flavours and that natural sweetness that I just adore in tea. I tend to separate my teas into two camps, the “pick me up” teas and the “chill out” teas, for me this is a chill out tea. Probably not the best choice for right now as I have a thousand chores and some grocery shopping still to do and not many hours left in the day.

This tea is obviously of very high quality and if it an indication of the quality of all Verdant’s offerings, maybe I was wrong. I also have a sample of the coveted Laoshan Black which I am really looking forward to trying.

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woohoo! looking forward to seeing what you think of them. Golden fleece is not my favourite of the bunch so it’ll be interesting to see what you think of others heh


One thing I learned right away about Verdant Tea’s was to follow their brewing instructions online for each tea and not what I normally do with other tea’s. I prefer this tea in a gaiwan but Laoshan Black is way better western style by the pot with enough leaf. Hope you don’t mind me making comments, but I’ve been drinking these tea’s for almost 2 years.


bonnie – yeah that’s probably one of my only complaints, the generic brewing instructions on the back of their packages since most of their teas don’t follow those instructions to be the best they can be haha


I’m always telling people to ignore those instructions and go to the website! It’s soooo important! Every tea has it’s sweet spot for brewing although I know what to do if there are no instructions.


Of course I don’t mind your comments Bonnie :). I looked this one up and followed the online brewing instructions (western) because the instructions on the back didn’t look quite right to me. I’ll definitely try gongfu brewing for this next time on your recommendation. I’ll give the the Laoshan Black a whirl in the morning too as it is what I’ve been most looking forward to.

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336 tasting notes

Got this as a sample with my order along with the hand-written thank you note. I love when people pay attention to detail. It definitely matters to me.

This is very rich and deep. Slightly peppery with notes of cinnamon and honey/sugar. What I like the most, however, is the silky smoothness of this tea.
I wanted to have this with a small piece of chocolate but turns out I don’t have any left…. That must be rectified tomorrow.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Hooray for 100! Not many tea’s you can say that about!

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189 tasting notes

Appearance: large bicolored brown leaf
Aroma when Dry: toasty cinnamon cookie
After water is first poured: sweet
At end of first steep: sweet, deserty brothy
Tea liquor:
At end of first steep: deep meadowy brown-yellow
Staple? No
Preferred time of day: unsure, first tasting
At first:bodied, slight bite of black notes, then fuzzy sweet almost day old cinnamon roll
As it cools ? notes get deeper, sweeter, more fuzzy closes with a American mocha-like cloying syrupy note
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? With deserty, incresingly sweet, fuzzy, light astringency

Second Steep (2 min)
Aroma when water is poured: caramel cinnamon
first notes: layered black tea astringency, then cinnamon black coffee notes close
As it cools: generic black astringency with whipped cream closing notes, then salted broth finish

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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1 tasting notes

This tea is AMAZING!!! Based on the reviews of this tea, I knew it would be good. However, I didn’t expect to be blown away by this tea! When I set out to brew it, I first did a quick wash (as David on the Verdant website suggested) then I quickly snuck in and took a whiff of the beautiful vapors coming off of the leaves and I was instantly in heaven! So, I quickly brewed it for about 4 seconds. Then I took a moment to relish in the aroma… MMm It reminds me of the trips I used to take as a child to the local apiaries where my mom and I would buy fresh honey! That’s it! The taste, the aroma, the texture…. This tea reminds me of walking through the sunlit gardens towards the apiary, with the smell of bee pollen and warm honey vapors wafting in the breeze. I am, and will forever be in love with the fine tea…


My daughter is going to begin some hives this next Spring and I look forward to the scent of fresh honey and combs.


The buzz of bees, fresh honey…Oh that sounds so lovely! I wish your daughter the best of luck in keeping bees! :)


She’s brave to attempt it with 8 children.


Oh my! She is brave! Hopefully it won’t be too overwhelming for her.

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281 tasting notes

I feel that I’ve come to an important step in my tea odyssey to drink this tea. When I first started hanging around steepster I kept seeing references to this ‘golden fleece’, whatever that was. Everyone was raving about it. So, here I am, with a cup of this famous limited harvest tea in front of me, all the way from China just for me to enjoy. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
Sniffing the brewed tea I accidentally stuck the tip of my nose in the brew. :P Whoops.
Okay. I read this tea was silky, so I felt I was prepared. But I was not prepared for this tea to just slide down my throat like that! It’s like I went to swallow, and bloop, it’s already gone.
Whoa, there’s the sweetness.
I just finished my first cup and the aftertaste is really hitting me. This is a tea to be followed by no other at a tea party, that’s for sure!
Second steep I’m really picking up on the spiciness. Still really nice and mellow. I’m also picking a bit of cocoa; I can definitely smell that in the wet leaves.
Third steep the tea is changing a little; I don’t how to say so, but it is. More earthiness maybe? Perhaps this is the morel showing up here? I have no idea really, but it’s good.
Fourth steep those morel notes are coming out further. I also taste mineral; that warming spiciness is still there.
At first I was hesitant to spend $4 on only 7g of tea but I am glad I did, especially now that it’s out of stock and I may never get to have more! This tea would be perfect on a snow day; you could hours picking part it’s nuances or just plain enjoying it.

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39 tasting notes

I haven’t had a ton of them,but this best dian hong ive had…100ml gaiwan 8g=yum

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Terri HarpLady

I do love this one :)


Smooth and velvety…honey cocoa….deep.

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