I decided I was going to get out of my Rishi Ancient Tree Organic Golden Yunnan rut and order some Season’s Pick Yunnan TGFOP from Upton Tea Imports. In retrospect, this is kind of like saying I’m tired of pasta in a pomodoro sauce and thinking I’ve really ventured out of my comfort zone by ordering it with a marinara sauce instead. O.K., so I really like Yunnan teas, what can I say. They tend to be full-bodied and malty like Assams, but are milder and can sometimes have this great caramel finish that’s really comforting to drink. Kinda like the old pair of sweat pants you change into when you get home from work.
While Chinese black teas (congous) don’t always have pekoe grades — that’s more of an Indian thing — this one does, which is really helpful in letting you know what you’re buying. This is a fairly high grade of tea. And while that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a great cup (I’ve had some mediocre FTGFOPs this past year), more often than not, a tea with a finer grade is going to yield you a better cup, at least that’s what my experience has been.
This is a pretty decent tea. The infusion (wet leaves) is medium dark while the liquor is a really deep brown (nearly black) after a five-minute steep. The taste is very slightly smokey, a characteristic that I suspect comes more from the roasting process than from the actual tea plant. There’s a hint of that Yunnan peppery thing, but not nearly as strong as I found in Upton’s Yunnan Shui Jiu. http://steepster.com/teas/upton-tea-imports/6169-yunnan-shui-jiu
The tea wasn’t really malty and didn’t really have a caramel finish, unlike Rishi’s Ancient Tree Golden Yunnan, which, on the whole, I prefer to this tea. But this Upton selection is pretty good if you want to try a different Yunnan.
If you order it from Upton’s, you need to know the catalog number so you can differentiate this tea from the other 21 Yunnans Upton’s sells. This one is ZY05. Or try this link http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/item.asp?from=catalog.asp&itemID=ZY05&begin=0&parent=Teas%3EBlack%3EChina&category=Yunnan&sortMethod=0&categoryID=14