I could be wrong, but this tea seems to be not composed of just buds, but also some leaves. At least, when I compare it to Rishi’s Golden Needle, after that has been brewed, it appears to be only buds (there are no open leaves at all…). Whereas, after brewing this one, the leaves seem to open, and there is also a good amount of broken/leaf parts present (nothing small, but it isn’t as homogeneous as Rishi’s GN).
I don’t know if that translates to the higher astringency that I’ve been getting from this tea, especially on the first infusion (and somewhat the second), but it does have a noticeably stronger astringency present than two other Yunnan Golds that I really enjoyed (Rishi’s and Life in Teacup’s). That being said, there is something earthy about this one that makes me really feel like it is from Yunnan (unlike the others)…. it is something about the aroma that reminds me of pu-erh, which is really cool. This was a unique experience for me – having a tea that helped me to understand regional characteristics, because of what it has in common with a completely different tea, but from the same area.
By the third steeping, the smoothness and honey-sweetness that I love or have come to expect about this kind of black tea does come out. I enjoyed the sample size that I’ve now finished, but this particular version of Yunnan Gold didn’t impress me quite the same (as others that I’ve found from different vendors).