102 Tasting Notes


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This was one of my favorites from my Steepster Select box last fall. This is, simply put, a delicious Tie Guan Yin. The flavor is sweet, floral, smooth, just slightly grassy and creamy. There is no aftertaste; no bitterness. Underneath the floral oolong flavors is a basic “tea” flavor similar to a high quality white tea. It’s fascinating the way the flavors seem to be almost “layered” in this tea. Anyway, it’s such a wonderfully good-tasting tea that I’m going to have to seek it out and buy some more. I’m not usually a huge Tie Guan Yin fan, but I could drink this every day.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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One thing I like about this tea, I confess, is that it’s a great bargain. The leaves are enormous but lightweight, so when you order 50 grams of this tea, you get what seems to be a very good quantity. It brews up with a medium yellow liquor that is mild and slightly roasty, slightly sweet — kind of similar to a Pai Mu Dan type of white tea, but not as robust and grassy. The flavor profile is subtle, but not delicate, and the aftertaste is clean and refreshing. Overall, a very good white tea, one that I’ve now purchased twice.

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I like bargains too. :)


A tea bargain is certainly on aspect to like a tea! I love bargains!

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This is a seriously GREEN green tea. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such green liquor in a tea that wasn’t pure matcha. What impressed me the most was how flavorful it was, without being bitter, even though I oversteeped it slightly. It’s kind of like sencha on steroids — the addition of matcha amps it up and increases the umami factor. The flavor profile is vegetal yet sweet; it’s not what I would call grassy or spinach-y. I enjoyed it and will probably purchase more.

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This isn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I was hoping for something strong, robust and malty. It looked promising in the cup — dark liquor, fragrant. But then I sipped it and was … underwhelmed. I had to add a little sweetener to bring out the flavor, and the flavor was OK, but not strong and powerful. It was a mild black tea flavor with a hint of plum. Kind of nondescript. Drinkable, certainly, and pleasant, but not something I see myself going out of my way to drink again.

When it comes to Golden Moon’s black teas, Sinharaja is my favorite so far.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Wow, is this good! I have to thank Shinobi_cha for the recommendation.

Golden Yunnan Buds is not typical of the black teas I normally drink — I typically like heavy, strong, thick, robust blacks. This isn’t delicate, exactly, but it’s not thick or strong or malty. It is exquisitely smooth, sweet, and slightly fruity, without being rich or heavy. Drinking it is such a pleasure; I feel like I’m treating myself to a fine, expensive wine (this is not to say this tea tastes like wine, but it has that “rare, fine” feeling to it). It’s like liquid silk. Sublime.

While it’s not what I’d consider a breakfast tea, or a real strong eye-opener (which is what I’m normally after when I drink a black tea), I could easily drink this every day and not tire of it. It’s that good.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’m so glad you liked it! What would you say are your top 1-3 black teas?

Doug F

Yunnan golden needle teas are hands-down my favorite black teas. I find them so much more flavorful and complex than most Assams and Ceylons.

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drank Gyokuro by Golden Moon Tea
102 tasting notes

This is a pretty good gyokuro. It’s one of the more forgiving ones I’ve tried — I oversteeped it this morning and it did not turn bitter at all.

I’ve tried it twice now — once, steeped for only 2.5 min. and once, oversteeped (5 min. or more). It yields a cloudy, greenish-yellow liquor that is nice and brothy, vegetal and with the typical gyokuro umami. It is not terribly sweet, and it’s not as salty or seaweed-ish as some gyokuros I’ve tried. The flavors are strong, though, not weak or watery. It’s a good-tasting green tea, and it’s one I anticipate reaching for often.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Flavored teas can be tricky. I’m the type of tea drinker who generally prefers unflavored, straight tea, so if I’m going to drink something flavored, I’m kind of picky. I want a flavored tea to still taste like tea. I want the flavor(s) to enhance the tea, not overpower it. I want the flavors to taste natural and not artificial. Coconut Pouchong satisfies my requirements.

The coconut flavor of this tea is lovely — as other reviewers have mentioned, it’s kind of a toasted coconut flavor. Very natural, and it smells wonderful as well. The tea itself — well, I think I would drink this tea even if it weren’t flavored, because it’s sort of in between a green and an oolong, but comes off more like an oolong. It’s sweet, only slightly vegetal, and a bit (but not too) floral. When sipping this tea, the flavor of tea mingles with the coconut flavor and the end result is a balanced, pleasing cup with no odd aftertaste.

Overall, drinking this tea is a wonderful escape. I like it iced as well as hot, and it goes perfectly with almost any type of Asian food. I find it the perfect foil to spicy Thai curries and noodle dishes, or even desserts such as mangoes and sticky rice.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I like this tea; the pumpkin flavor definitely comes through, along with a bit of maple. However, the black tea underneath seems a little on the bitter side. I had to add more sweetener than I would normally use with a black tea. And I definitely did not overbrew it. It’s good, but not great.

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I like strong, robust flavors. My current favorites include strong black teas (Keemuns, Yunnan teas and Assams, for example), flavored blacks such as Harney’s Paris, oolongs of any kind, and gyokuros. I like Rooibos and honeybush teas as well, and other herbal blends to help me relax in the evening.

I am willing to try just about anything, but I am not particularly fond of jasmine tea, very fruity or heavily flavored blends, anything with pineapple; and I know this is practically heresy, but I don’t like Darjeelings.


In my kitchen, heating water

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