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Tea Review: Tea Source: Golden Spirals

September 03, 2009

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Tea Source Golden Spirals

Looking at the pictures I took of Tea Source’s Golden Spirals I’m tempted to describe the experience as a strange art project instead of a tea tasting, but the visuals are half or less of the story of this unusual tea. Tea Source’s description:

“This hand-tied display tea is made of long golden/brown tea leaves and brews up with a silky smooth, medium-bodied, sweet (rosy-like) flavor. Wonderful.”

golden_spirals_dryI have an inherent distrust of “display teas,” but this tea is more than a mere novelty object. It brews into a very good tasting tea. As you can see by looking at the dry tea, the leaf is long and golden. It looks and tastes like it must be made from the leaves of a golden Dian Hong from Yunnan Province in China, although its origins are not identified on the packaging or on the company’s website.

As a tea drinker who really enjoys Yunnan Black teas, I was quite pleased to discover that this tea tastes quite similar to the loose leaf Yunnan gold teas that I like. It has that delicious burnt sugar taste that I enjoy with Yunnan Gold teas, although not to the extent that a very high-quality Yunnan Gold Tip would have. But it also has the added element of having been tied and twisted into a neat little cone-shaped bundle that emerges into a wet, brown, drowned flower-like thing as it absorbs hot water and transforms it into tea liquor.

Tea Source Golden SpiralsAt least one of the times that I drank this tea, I brewed it in a teapot that holds more than one cup of tea and chose not to decant it, so the second pour into my cup steeped considerably longer than the first. It did not have any bitterness or unpleasant strength in spite of the long steep, which was probably at least ten or fifteen minutes. It was a little more boldly flavored, but was still just as nice to drink.

The second infusion was lighter in flavor, but almost as good, and the color of the liquor was not significantly lighter. The third infusion was completely unexciting in taste and color, which is what I expected. The soggy anemone of tea held together throughout. This is a very nice tea, to watch and to drink, and very convenient if measuring spoons or tea scales seem like way too much work.0

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