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Someone asked me...

I was asked my top 5 favorite straight-up UNflavored Black Teas.
Well, I looked at my ratings and here are my top ten. What are yours?

Hawaii-Grown Black from Samovar
Makai Black (Assam) from Tea Hawaii
Assam Reserve from Teas Etc
Bailin Gongfu Black Tea from Teavivre
Bai Lin Gong Fu from Canton Tea Co
Pure Black Tea/Ji Hong Men from In Nature
Mi Lan Dancong Black from Verdant Tea
Honey Orchard Black from Golden Moon Tea
Golden Monkey from The Meaning of Tea
Golden Monkey from Georgia Tea Company

27 Replies

I love that Hawaii Grown Tea made it on your list. There’s something special in the teas coming from the land of Aloha!

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Dinosara said

Here are all the unflavored black teas residing in my 90-100 tea rating range. Guess I have a Teavivre/Verdant bias here! This is also reminding me that I need to try some other high-quality black teas from other companies as well.

Tan Yan Gongfu Golden Tips – Yongsheng Tea Industries (brought back from China)
Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea – Teavivre
Golden Fleece – Verdant
Bailin Gongfu Black Tea – Teavivre
Laoshan Black – Verdant
Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Golden Tip – Teavivre

Great list!

Donna A said

Thanks Dinosara. We must have similar tastes, because I have tried and love numbers 2 through 6 on your list. Just had Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Golden Tip a few minutes ago. What I don’t have much experience with is the Indian and Ceylon teas. I liked Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam a lot too.

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Donna A said

Thanks TeaEqualsBliss. I’ve had just one from your list, leaving 9 others to look at!

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Uniquity said

Unnervingly, most of my top rated teas are flavoured. I think I am a lot more generous in ratings for flavoured teas, that’s weird. The following all have a rating of 80 or higher (which is pretty high for me!)

Golden Snail – Harney & Sons (discontinued)
Bailin Gongfu Black – Teavivre
Wild Black Yunnan (DAVIDs TEA)
Fengqing Dragon Pearl – Teavivre
Borengajuli – Sawadee Tea House (local store)
Laoshan Black – Verdant Tea
Keemun Mao Feng – Harney & Sons
Nepal Black Tea – DAVIDs TEA
Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black – Teavivre

While I LOVE Black tea, it seems I don’t have a whole lot of excellent unflavoured ones. However the ones I have are lovely. : )

Babble said

Oh man, and I thought I was too strict on my ratings. If a tea even reaches 90 it’s a reaaaaally good tea. Most of the good teas stay in the 80-90 range.

Uniquity said

For a long time I only used the top half of the scale and I’m trying to branch out. Essentially anything up to 80 is okay, 80 and above is a real treat. It ends up depending on my mood a lot though, lol.

Babble said

Yeah, the problem is there really is no standard, unfortunately. For someone, 80 might be an “okay tea” and not really great. I find that I don’t use 60-30 much because teas are either awesome, good, or just awful. I’m not sure really what to use that range for.

Azzrian said

For me the deal is usually I won’t bother to even log a tea I don’t like. After two or three sips if it isn’t note worthy I dump it. On SOME cases – but rare – I will go ahead and log a tea I don’t care for – example IF it is that I only don’t like it due to having an element I am just not partial to – such as lemongrass, or a rooibos tea, etc. And I try to note that to be fair to the tea company – and TRY to rate it based on the quality of their blend – NOT my personal dislike of elements.
On other times a tea is just SO bad – everyone needs to know to stay the heck away from it lol. Not because of my personal taste, or elements, but because they failed to make a decent tea period. So most all of my ratings and reviews will be positive. Another thing that helps make most of my reviews positive is I have a good idea of what I like now.
But I too often wonder if I need a better scale to rate teas. A lot of people here have a scale on their profile I have considered doing that – but I also don’t like to be on a regimen – even one of my own creation.

Looks like a great list! Many I would like to try!!! :)

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Azzrian said

Mine are:
Golden Fleece – Verdant
Premium Taiwanese Assam – Butiki
Mi Xian Black – Butiki
Laoshan Black – Verdant
Sun Moon Lake Black Tea – Fong Mong Tea
Black Pearl – Mandala Tea
Fengqing Dragon Pearl Tea – Teavivre
Royal Golden Safari – Butiki Teas
Bailin Gongfu Black – Teavivre
Golden Monkey Black – Teavivre

Uniquity said

I have a sample of Teavivre’s Golden Monkey in my order – glad to see it making top 10 lists! : )

Donna A said

Azzrian, I have tried and liked all on your list, except have not had Sun Moon Lake yet.

Azzrian said

Uniquity – I am glad you are going to try it!
Donna A – sounds like we have similar taste in tea! Hope you get to try some! I would share but unfortunately I don’t have any right now but this reminds me I should get some after the holidays are over!

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Here’s my top rated, pure black teas:

Golden Fleece – Verdant Tea
Golden Monkey – Teas Etc.
Bailin Gongfu Black Tea – Teavivre
Royal Gold Yunnan Needle – Zhi Tea
No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 – Steven Smith Teamaker
Organic Greenfield Estate Ceylon Black Tea – Arbor Teas
Hawaiian Grown Black – Samovar
Honey Orchid Black – Golden Moon Tea
Temi SFTGFOP1 First Flush Sikkim – Rare Tea Republic
Red Tea Tie Guan Yin – Life in Teacup

And while this one isn’t #10 according to my ratings, it actually should be, but only dropped because it’s no longer available and that just makes me sad:

Dawn – The Simple Leaf

If blends (still unflavored, but more than one type of tea) count, then this one deserve mention: Organic Morning’s Journey – Hugo Tea

Nice list! I’ve had very little from Steven Smith Teamaker!!! Would you happen to have any more of the Zhi Yunnan?

I think (not certain, but think!) that I received that bit that I tried from you …

Oh my! COULD have been! I must have forgotten! LOL :)

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Babble said

Is there any easy way to rate your teas by rating and then filter that list? Or are you guys just sorting by rating and then manually picking out the black teas?

I thought there used to be an easier way! This time around I went to my ratings and then sorted by highest rating…and just found the black teas that way

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Lapsang Souchong – Silk Road (the Victoria BC tea shop, not the big online company)
Lapsang Souchong – DAVIDs Tea
Lapsang Souchong – Murchie’s (from the Victoria BC shop)
Nepal Black – DAVIDs Tea
Yunnan Black – Silk Road (again, the Victoria shop)

I haven’t rated/reviewed them all on here yet, but those are the top 5 based on what I drink most/reach for when I want a straight black tea.

Looking forward to your reviews on them!!!!

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Bonnie said

In no particular order:
Bailin Gongfu Black – Teavivre
Laoshan Black – Verdant
Golden Fleece – Verdant
Zhen Qu – Butiki Tea
Mi Lan Dancong Black – Verdant
Congou Keemun – Butiki Tea
Zhu Rong – Verdant
China Lapsang Souchong – Happy Lucky’s Tea House
Organic Guranse – Butiki Tea
Kenyan Strong Ajiri – (I purchase mine at Happy Lucky’s)
(My list and taste has changed, I’ve added a Keemun and a strong Ajiri. I’m beginning to enjoy some strong black tea’s)

I really have to look into Happy Lucky’s Tea House!!!!! Neat list, btw!

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Zeks said

Fengqing 58 from JK tea Shop
Golden Fleece from Verdant
Zhu Rong Yunnan from Verdant
Laoshan Black from Verdant :)

Niiice!!!!

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