Yunnan Golden Buds "Golden Needle"

Tea type
Black Tea
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Floral, Grass, Sweet
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Edit tea info Last updated by looseTman
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 10 oz / 295 ml

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From Rishi Tea

NO LONGER AVAILABLE – See: Ancient Golden Yunnan Black Tea Organic

Our best black tea is composed of pure buds that are hand harvested from Yunnan’s antique tea trees. Delicate processing and even fermentation present a lovely leaf style that yields a smooth, sugary flavor with nuances of baked sweet yams and raisins.

About Rishi Tea View company

Rishi Tea specializes in sourcing the most rarefied teas and botanical ingredients from exotic origins around the globe. This forms a palette from which we craft original blends inspired by equal parts ancient herbal wisdom and modern culinary innovation. Discover new tastes and join us on our journey to leave ‘No Leaf Unturned’.

22 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

I steeped this one longer to see if I could make it into a morning tea instead of the afternoon-ish tea I accused it of being with a 3min steep. Mission accomplished. It’s still a very sweet Yunnan, making me think of figs and raisins, but the extra minute let this tea develop a little chewiness to the body and made it stand up nicely to a small dash of half & half and sugar. Now on the Yunnan spectrum (light and sweet Samovar’s Yunnan Golden Buds on one end, rough and tumble Andrews and Dunham’s Series 4 on the other), it definitely clocks in more on the A+D S4 side of things. It’s still not quite as heavy or as thick as the Tiger and there is a very strong fruity taste to it that does make it feel overall lighter than S4, but it is still quite tasty. However, as far as Yunnan morning teas go, I think Samovar’s Breakfast blend still has my vote since it seems overall smoother, even without additives and at a 4min steep.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I love comparison reviews….now if only I could find an alternative to my darlings Jackee and Thomas!


I know what you mean – I need to find replacements for them for after they are gone! Otherwise my pantry will be so empty. :(

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6768 tasting notes

Did the job this morning…see my other notes…

Michelle Butler Hallett

I’m curious: what’s the difference between Black Needle and Golden Needle?


From what I have seen the only difference appears to be marketing. Black being used to tell people “this is a black tea” while the “golden” needles I’ve had are quite similar. I am interested in what anyone else has to say on this…

Michelle Butler Hallett

I’ve been wondering, as there’s plenty of gold bits in my black needles. Thanks, Muiriddin.

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1112 tasting notes

Thank you to the Amazing Takgoti for this tea :)

Fruity, fruity, fruity! Very smooth and extremely easy to drink. That being said, perhaps it’s a bit too easy. No chewy, no pepper, no little surprises. It’s a good tea which is very drinkable without any additives. The fruit is really nice. But!! I’m not feeling cartwheels and wonderment. I will enjoy every sip in this little tin, but I don’t think I’ll seek it out for purchase after this sample.

I got very consumed in my work, and my second steep brewed for 10 minutes (!!!) and it was still perfectly drinkable if a little (understandably!) bitter. I will add that this is a very forgiving tea :)

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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102 tasting notes

Wow, is this good! I have to thank Shinobi_cha for the recommendation.

Golden Yunnan Buds is not typical of the black teas I normally drink — I typically like heavy, strong, thick, robust blacks. This isn’t delicate, exactly, but it’s not thick or strong or malty. It is exquisitely smooth, sweet, and slightly fruity, without being rich or heavy. Drinking it is such a pleasure; I feel like I’m treating myself to a fine, expensive wine (this is not to say this tea tastes like wine, but it has that “rare, fine” feeling to it). It’s like liquid silk. Sublime.

While it’s not what I’d consider a breakfast tea, or a real strong eye-opener (which is what I’m normally after when I drink a black tea), I could easily drink this every day and not tire of it. It’s that good.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’m so glad you liked it! What would you say are your top 1-3 black teas?

Doug F

Yunnan golden needle teas are hands-down my favorite black teas. I find them so much more flavorful and complex than most Assams and Ceylons.

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4843 tasting notes

Thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this tea. It’s Awesome!

A delightful golden Yunnan. Sweet, with hints of sweet potato and raisin, just as the description implies. A lighter, crisper Yunnan, very enjoyable. Warming and cozy!

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280 tasting notes

I have to thank Gingko from Life in Teacup, who did a free giveaway of their Yunnan Golden Buds a couple of months ago. Without that, I would never have tried (at least so far) black tea from Yunnan. (I owe Life in Teacup an order…but right now I am waiting because friends of ours from China gave me a lot of TKY [maybe like 200 grams or so]…. I have to wait to drink that up before I can order more Chinese tea).

Rishi had this on sale for 50% off sometime in the last couple of weeks, that, combined with another coupon code, I got this for around $5.20 per ounce (instead of $13.50 or something)! Seemed like a pretty good price to me for a handpicked, ancient tree, Yunnan Gold tea. I am no expert, but that sounds like high quality to me! :-) Plus, I already had it mind to try more Yunnan Gold, so I caved and bought 2oz.

I am happy to say I was/am not disappointed. Even though this (I think) is slightly different than Life in Teacup’s version, it is delicous.
While I can appreciate (or could learn to appreciate) probably most any black tea, I really enjoy the mellow flavor of this one. It is almost fruity, slightly sweet, not astringent or malty at all, nor bitter. The leaves smell almost spiced (cinnamon, baked sweet potatoes?) once they have been infused.

I got 5 infusions the first time (near boiling for 4, 3, 5, 7, and 10 mins), and all of them were good; there was perhaps slightly less flavor in the last two, but still all delicious.

I’m really glad I got this!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I have so much ti kuan yin to go through as well. It refuses to go away!


Haha….that’s a good thing to have too much of!

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104 tasting notes

This tea redefines what a smooth, semi-sweet black tea should taste like.

The leaves are a beautiful golden color, and the tea actually turns out a lot darker than you’d expect based on the color of the leaves. Once steeped, there are hints of sweetness in the aroma, though the true flavor really comes out in the first few sips. While not a ‘hit you in the face with flavor’ type tea, the sweet tones and hints of honey and caramel create a subtle yet complex flavor that’s hard to disagree with. With a four minute steep, there is no bitterness, which creates a really smooth flavor that can be savored and enjoyed. The finish is equally enjoyable, with a sweetness that lasts from sip to sip. Definitely a winner that’s worthy of the ‘best black tea’ distinction.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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36 tasting notes

Not too shabby. I was a bit hesitant to try this one from Rishi because it smelled so fruity and had golden leaves like so many Yunnan teas do, and I’m definitely an assam lover at heart. But I had to at least TRY it since they claim it to be their ‘best’ black. I added milk and sugar to it and my first smell and taste of the brew was like orange-cream…yummy! Wonderful fruit flavor that definitely is as close to a dreamsicle in a tea that I’ve ever tried! Niiiice. Definitely not a ‘wake me up’ black but a nice smooth mellow orange cream tea for any time of day for me. Thumbs up just not waaaaay up.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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84 tasting notes

I’m very picky about my black teas.
This is one of the best I’ve found!


Golden Needle is a black tea? The variety I had was white, perhaps they have it for both? Very interesting, and tasty!

Oh Cha!

Oh gosh yes, it’s a Black Tea. It’s absolutely fabulous. I think the best of Rishi’s black teas (not including the pu-erhs)… it’s hard to describe because many people are so familiar with a black tea that is bitter, almost coffee like, and that needs sweetening, or milk added to it.

This one, although admittedly pricey, is naturally so sweet and smooth!! I just can’t get enough of it!!!

Rishi’s Keemun Golden Buds are similar, and a close second. I looooooove loose black tea!

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16 tasting notes

I just made it and it is super fruity!

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