Wonderful, wonderful tea. I could drink this every day. Delicious caramel-y, malty, and burnt sugar…-y flavors. Just plain good. Andao is 2 for 2 on awesome teas in my opinion. I finished up all of my oolong from them and this pack of Yunnan is about 1 cup from being gone. It would hurt me to de-cupboard them…so it looks like I’ll be placing an order tomorrow. Good thing it’s payday. :)
161 Tasting Notes
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Ahh, Golden Monkey. Peppery Yunnan goodness. Cute little leaves. Earthy yet sweet. The total package tea. You’re just what I needed. Time to place an order.
Holy bitter tea, Batman! This tea isn’t just bitter…it’s bidd-ah! Yikes! (And I drink my coffee black.)
The description says that the liquor should be “brilliant reddish brown”, but I’m getting opaque dark brown. Unless I hold it up to a light, it looks like a cup of black coffee…if not darker. The tea smells like most pu-erhs in my book. Sharp smoke with a thought of barnyard. Nothing fishy, thank goodness. The taste progression goes a little something like this: Bitter. Smoky. Barnyard…and finishes bitter and earthy. I also pick up some dark tobacco hints. Like a good maduro cigar before it is lit. Not bad for a pu-erh, but still not a tea that I’m in love with. This particular pu-erh tastes a little thin to me. Perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to chewy, bake-y teas. I’m not appalled, so I guess this can be seen as progress as my venture into the pu-erh world continues.
Thank you SoccerMom for your generous samples. I will be trying this again.
It’s an Eight Immortals kind of day. I’m having nothing but problems with my customers today. Problems with my sales reps. Every phone call…a problem. I just found out that I’ve got to go back to Canada for a week next month. That’s cool and all, but I just got back from a week in New Jersey and I’m ready to chill out for a little while. Sorry, I’m nothing but complaints.
But the tea…is good. No complaints in that department. :) The first steep started my morning. The second steep went perfectly with my spicy Thai lunch. And I’ll start in on my third steep momentarily. I didn’t notice the oily feeling as much this time around…but it is “heavy” for an oolong. Eight Immortals has all the components I like in an oolong, but they are slightly muted. I could go with a little more boldness. But all in all, this is a very good oolong. I’m keeping the rating at 90.
After a full week of working in NJ, I am so happy to be home and surrounded by tea again. I have a quick story regarding this tea and airport security. I’ll start off by saying that I ALWAYS get pulled for “random” searches. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that my maiden name is Syrian. (I chose to hyphenate when I got married. Perhaps not the greatest idea in hindsight.) Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…Random search, my ass! And I look white!…mostly. So I get pulled…they go through my purse, my laptop case, etc. In my purse they find my sample of Golden Bi Lou. I recently received the sample in the mail from Chicago Tea Garden and thought it would be a great size to take on my trip. I DID think to include the slip of paper that came with the tea. (I think this is the only thing that saved me.) While the airport security folks are rubbing various cotton swab pads on the inside of my purse, another security guy dangles the bag in front of me. I told him that it was tea. “Loose. Leaf. Tea.” I guess he’d never heard of it. He thought it was a type of drug. I told him about the slip of paper in my purse that describes the types of tea, steeping times and so on. I pointed out that there was a website on the slip that could further aid the situation. I don’t know if they went to the site or not, but about 5 minutes later they let me go. And I got to keep my tea!
That being said…I really did like this tea. The malty taste comforted me once I got back to my hotel and settled. Maybe it tasted better because of the ordeal I went through to bring it with me. This isn’t the heaviest Yunnan I’ve tasted, but it was quite pleasant. I think I prefer my Yunnan with a little more punch. There was a nice earthy taste and light sweetness to the tea, but I mostly remember the malt and the cute fuzzy leaves…and the fact that it never got bitter in the slightest. I’m very happy with this sample and curious about reading the posts from those that chose the Sticky Rice Pu-erh Toucha. That was the other tea I debated getting the sample of.
Side note: I love how the Golden Bi Lou leaves look! I keep staring at the picture on Steepster like it’s one of those “Magic Eye” prints that were big back in the day. It’s so cool that some of the leaves are in focus and the others are blurry. Great tea photo!
Well, right of the bat, these leaves are intriguing. They are so long! In fact, they are so long, some of them could not lay flat in the strainer basket that fits in my cup. The leaves stood upright like uncooked spaghetti. Neat!
The aroma is that of cooked fruit and sweet smelling flowers. It also smells very vegetal. The taste is smooth and floral…but too green for me. I like my oolongs like I like my men…bitter and murky. Ok, perhaps that joke only works with my coffee. “Dark and roasted” is more like it when it comes to my oolongs. (Says the tea drinker with a vampiric-complected husband.) I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this tea, but it’s just not my cuppa.
I believe the first words out of my mouth were, “Woah, now THAT’S a big ball!” We only thought the Black Dragon Pearls were big. These puppies are HUGE!
I immensely enjoyed watching the ball unfurl. Although to be honest, there wasn’t too much unfurling going on during the first and second infusions. The bugger is solid. The second infusion opened it up a little more…but the ball is relatively intact. The taste is that of a solid, middle of the road oolong. It’s a little nutty…a little earthy. Nothing vegetal, not too roasted…just a tasty, slightly sweet oolong. On taste alone I would rate this tea around 80-85. Now, add in the entertainment factor and BAM it becomes an easy 90!
This tea would pair well with several dishes. It has that multi-functional ability. Chinese takeout for dinner…Dragon Balls. Need to impress some friends…Dragon Balls. Quiet night curled up with a blanket and a cat or two…Dragon Balls. Delicious!
I’m having visions of Dragon Balls in Sorapots dancing in my head!!!
Thanks Doulton! You rock…balls.
I’m drinking a comforting cup of Florence this morning as I quietly long for the beach. I’ve been in Florida since last Thursday. Now I’m back in good ole landlocked Tennessee and greatly missing the ocean. The tastes of light chocolate and hazelnut are doing the best job they can as I recall the dolphins and stingrays that I saw everyday at the beach. I still wish that Florence was a bit stronger. I always have to double the leaf for each cup that I make. I much prefer Charlotte au Chocolat from Dammann Freres. Doulton spoiled me with that tea!
Side note: While I was in Florida, I visited with my grandparents and shared breakfast with them over PG Tips. Some things just don’t change. My grandmother and PG Tips just go together. :)
This tea will put some hair on your chest! I really like it. Russian Morning is lightly smoky but definitely full bodied. It would be a great intro into the world of Lapsang Souchong. Training wheels, if you will. This tea is smooth and slightly pine-y…not full blown campfire. The blend of black teas meshes nicely. The thing that surprises me the most about this tea is how clean it tastes and feels in my mouth. The smoke is there…some sweetness too, but clean, clean, clean. Quite tasty! TeaEqualsBliss sent me a sample of this back in the day. I’m glad I finally got up the courage to give it a go. Thanks chick!
I think my tasting is off kilter today. Last night I burnt my tongue really bad on some Beef Pho. It was still very tasty…but I can tell my taste buds are still in a state of repair. As of right now, the tea tastes like light black tea mixed with tree bark. Oddly enough, it’s not awful…just kind of odd. There is a sweet note but the level of astringency is pretty killer. It’s bad when you take a sip of tea and immediately have to follow it with a drink of water to re-hydrate your mouth. The flavor isn’t the worse I’ve ever tasted, but it is far from the best. The astringency and thinness of the tea are the big downers.
Ok, after reading the other tasting notes on Black Frost, perhaps my taste buds aren’t too far off on this tea. If you are a Darjeeling fan you might like the flavor profile here.
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I’m just now getting around to this sample I pulled out of the TTB. It’s a nice tea but it’s not standing out as anything super special. There is a teensy bake-y taste but it’s otherwise very ordinary. Brattle Street does have a nice clean taste to it with minor astringency. I ended up adding milk and sugar and it made a pretty good breakfast tea.
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What an odd black tea.
Here’s my immediate tasting note…all taking place in my head:
“Oooh, this smells sweet like baking chocolate or dark coco powder…and sort of barnyard-y. sips Hmm? Interesting. This is black tea, right? Umm, I did not put honey in this. Why does it taste like I put honey in it? What the heck? Chocolate honey?!?”
The taste of honey creeps in until it is oh so sweet. The chocolate note lingers slightly bitter but pleasant in the aftertaste. I taste a light smoky taste that is apparent in some sips and not in others. This tea is complex and confusing. I must drink more in attempt to figure it out. What a terrible, terrible thing. :)
Thanks for another fascinating sample, Doulton.
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No notes yet.
I know that I will have to write more on this tea later. I have immensely enjoyed drinking this tea on what turned out to be a rather crazy day at the office. I honestly believe that the tea has kept me sane. This sample was sent to me by the wonderful Doulton and I can’t thank her enough. Thank you, thank you!!! Not only is this oolong absolutely lovely, the Seven Cups tea company is fantastic. I urge all of you oolong lovers to check out their website. www.sevencups.com – I honestly haven’t gotten very far into the site, I’ve been too overwhelmed and super excited about their oolong section. I love all of the details (harvest dates!) and origin notes that they include for each tea. They also host 14-15 day tours in China that are absolutely to die for. I know, I know…it’s one more tea company to bookmark. But you should do it!
Eight Immortals, besides having an ultra rad name, is very strong for an oolong. It tastes like a lightly roasted oolong…0% green tasting (which scores big points for me). The dry leaves look just like the picture, but once they steep and unfurl, I was surprised at how green they really were. The tea has a heavy and oily mouthfeel to it. (I think this is the first time I’ve ever typed the word “mouthfeel”. Maybe it’s just me, but the word strikes me as slightly perverse.) This is the first tea I’ve ever thought of as oily tasting. It’s a rather odd sensation. The tea is filling…almost like it is full of calories. I did not experience the strong floral smell that the description details. It just smelled oolong-y to me. All in all, Eight Immortals is an oolong for those who want their oolongs to taste like oolongs. I do not particularly detect any floral or bread-y notes. It’s almost like an oolong concentrate. I think this might be another contender for my Yixing pot. Yay!
Thanks again Doulton!
What a weekend! As some of you might have seen on the news, a good portion of Tennessee is underwater. Tennessee received more rain this last weekend than the TOTAL COMBINED precipitation for the months of May, June, and July (on average). Crazy stuff. Luckily, we did not have too much damage at our house. One bedroom window began to leak on the second day of nonstop rain…and my flowers received a thorough beating. Nothing major though, thank goodness. My office even closed its doors yesterday due to the roads being flooded…or gone. It was a nice little break filled with repairs, cleaning, TV and tea. Speaking of which…
On to the tea. I received this generous sample from SoccerMom. The leaves are quite stunning and fuzzy. The liquor is silky and finishes on a sweet note. I distinctly taste the spicy/peppery note but the malty flavor is absent. There is a slight earthy quality to the tea that I am enjoying immensely. My first cup was finished rather quickly, but the second steep cooled to room temperature. Both steeps were unique and pleasurable. I’m sure I could squeeze out a third steep, but it’s almost time to head home from the office. Yay! I might have to pick up where I left off today. This is a great tea to have on constant standby.
Chocolate perfection in a cup.
This chocolate blend is unbelievable. Smooth, decadent, sugary heaven! Both the leaves and the liquor smell like chocolate cotton candy. It might sound crazy, but I distinctly smell that “spun sugar” smell. Very intriguing. I tried the tea plain at first, but I just knew in my heart that it needed milk and sugar. I couldn’t have been more right. Haha! It’s not a rich as a cup of hot chocolate might be, but it’s damn close. The almond is slightly present but everything takes a back seat to the chocolate. I had to google “helianthus” to see what kind of flavor it might yield. Turns out that helianthus = Sunflower. I learned something new. I can’t say that I particularly tasted notes of sunflower…unless I automatically associated it with the general nuttiness of the almond. I’m so happy with this tea. Charlotte au Chocolat is masterfully blended. Today was truly a “tea experience”. All of you Florence lovers really need to try this tea.
Thank you so much Doulton!!! What a gem!
Move aside Jackee Muntz! There’s a new caramel tea in town and he’s not NEARLY as finicky as you are. I’m not hating on Jackee…I enjoyed him while he lasted. But I never managed to coax that elusive caramel flavor out of him. With this Yunnan Golden Needle, it’s no problem at all. The more you play with temperature and time, the better this tea gets. Right off the bat I tasted smooth malt and a slight smoky/pepper note, typical of most Yunnan black teas. “Brisk” would be a good description. There was a slight bitterness, but it was not unpleasant at all. My first few sips tasted of burnt sugar and hot, drizzly caramel. Mmmm! The caramel taste disappeared halfway through the cup, but perked up a little for the last bit of cooled tea. I’m impressed. This is a very good cup of tea.
Andao is the same company that offered the Organic Wu Yi Rou Gui (aka: Bake-y Oolong) that I loved so much. Their teacups are also reasonably priced…but several are sold out. I fully intend to try more of Andao’s teas. They are currently 2 for 2 on delicious teas in my opinion. :)
I woke up in the mood for coconut and remembered that Jillian sent me a sample of this. 52 Teas isn’t joking when it comes to their coconut. Man, those coconut shavings are GIANORMOUS! The smell of the dry leaf is just wonderful. I was slightly tempted to eat one of the pieces of coconut…but I refrained this time. The tea was very smooth and flavorful. I noticed on the package that this tea included vanilla flavoring, but I did not taste any. Perhaps the vanilla flavor would be more prominent in the latte version. The oil from the coconut formed little globules on the surface of the tea. Mmmm! I wanted to try this tea with milk and sugar or perhaps whip up their latte recipe, but after quickly drinking my 1st cup (a true sign I enjoyed it), I found the tea to be a little weak. I don’t know if it would hold up to the milk and sugar…or the latte for that matter. Without the milk and sugar, I think this is just a regular coconut flavored tea, albeit a decent one. I promise to try it one day, but for now, straight up is just fine and dandy.
I only have enough leaf for one more sitting after today. I’m on my 4 infusion right now with plans to keep going until I’m just drinking hot water. This tea is so easy to sip on all day. Hot, lukewarm, cool…they are all just wonderful cups. See my past notes for details on the tea.
My tea shopping list is about to catch up with my “Books to Buy/Read” list.
…and that is quite a thing.
Oh Florence, you smell divine. I’m glad that you didn’t seem to mind me constantly smelling you. I tried steeping you like other black teas, but you didn’t seem to take kindly to that sort of treatment. You hid your flavors from me and barely held yourself together. You should know that I rarely “do subtle”. I thought our relationship might be short lived, but I had a “Plan B”. For my next cup, I added another teaspoon of you to the same leaves from my first attempt. This seemed to suit you. You had a perfect ratio of chocolaty goodness, and your hazelnut taste was bitter and nutty…but tasteful. If I close my eyes and try not to think too hard, the black tea fades away and you are nothing but creamy chocolate in my mouth. It’s cool though. I’m in to a little trickery every once and a while. I thought my constant drinking of strong Yunnan blacks was going to ruin my taste for you, but you still prevailed. You just needed a little bulking up. I really wanted to try you with a little milk and sugar, but you seem too shy for that. I have just enough to make a few more cups. Since I have to double up your leaf every time I want a cup, I fear we do not have long together. I promise, however, to make the most of it.