Golden Needle King

Tea type
Black Tea
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Dried Fruit, Lychee, Malt, Tea, Baked Bread, Hay, Molasses, Grain, Honey, Brown Sugar
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Edit tea info Last updated by Shang Tea
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g 8 oz / 230 ml

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29 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Fantalicious and awesometastic. That’s this tea in a nutshell, really. A short while ago I alluded to having been exposed to some really awesome customer service and I’ve been sitting...” Read full tasting note
    Angrboda 1328 tasting notes
  • “Took me a moment to find this here on steepster because my sample package says “Golden Needle Red Tea” not Golden Needle King – but the description is the same so I will log it...” Read full tasting note
    azzrian 807 tasting notes
  • “It’s a sad state of affairs when one’s crazy work life prevents one from trying new teas. It is an absolute tragedy that my abbreviated routine prevented me from trying this wonderful...” Read full tasting note
    Carolyn 224 tasting notes
  • “This is the second red tea I’ve had in the last week (the other one was at Taste SF – a local tea place) and I’ve discovered I like them! This steeps up to be a beautiful...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2816 tasting notes

From Shang Tea

Note: This tea is 100% Organic

Shimmering golden buds create a crisp and robust red tea made from fermented white tea leaves. Most red and black teas are derived from the green tea variety bush; this tea is derived from a white tea plant achieving a smoother touch.

Golden Needle is a red tea made from fermented white tea leaves grown on Tai Mu Mountain. A unique and new tea, Golden Needle is so named for its long narrow golden tipped leaves. Golden Needle is a rich full-bodied red tea with a rose-flavored finish.

About Shang Tea View company

Company description not available.

29 Tasting Notes

1328 tasting notes

Fantalicious and awesometastic. That’s this tea in a nutshell, really.

A short while ago I alluded to having been exposed to some really awesome customer service and I’ve been sitting on that story until I actually had some tea from the company in question. See, here’s the thing. I have been priviledged enough to have Steepster friends who have shared with me samples of Shang Tea’s products. Each and every one I’ve tried have impressed me. (This may have something to do with their teas being Fujian teas, which have I ever mentioned is my favourite tea producing area?) Anyway, it was only natural that I should go and look up their website, just on the off chance that shipping to Europe wouldn’t be horrible. There was a mention of a flat rate which sounded cool, but not about which area that covered.

So I sent them an email, asking about it and what it would cost to ship something to Denmark. Unfortunately their reply said something in the vicinity of $40… I coughed, hacked and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to use kindly disposed Steepsterites as middle men if I were to buy any of their stuff. This is the reason I have a tendency to not bother looking up American companies before automatically assuming them out of my reach. $40 was on the high end yes, but in general American companies who can ship at a for me reasonable shipping fee are few and far between. No tea is good enough for me to want to pay more than $15 for shipping as the very most.

Time passed. I got over it. I forgot about it. Then one morning I woke up to an email from Shang Tea saying ‘o hai, in response to your previous question two months ago, we looked into it and can now offer you shipping at around $13 dollars to Denmark. Would you like to buy some tea? Email order, paypal money and so on and so forth.’ Or something to that effect.

That was quite a shipping fee difference! And just the fact that they answered my question and still proceeded, without my begging or prompting or wheedling or anything, to see if they couldn’t do me one better. I’m very impressed with this, and I’m going to come back for more if they will let me shop that way again. (The order form on their site wouldn’t accept a non-American address).

I picked up the package yesterday from the post office and have tinned two of them this morning. There are still two other pouches in there that I’m not allowed to open until I’ve freed up tins, but I can deal with that.

And that is how I came to share a pot of Golden Needle King with the boyfriend this morning. Isn’t this just a wonderful tea? It’s all smooth and slippery and dark in flavour. It’s almost ever so slightly milky. Lots and lots of that Fujian-ness that makes it my favourite area. Grainy with dark fruity and spicy notes to it. Lots of cocoa notes as well and a caramel-like aftertaste.

Steepsterites, go try this one out for yourselves. I implore you. It’s pricy, but you will NOT regret it. And on the off-chance that you do, feel free to punish me for leading you astray by making me use up the rest of your leaves. :)


I’m glad you got such a nice surprise withe reasonable shipping and a great tea!


Seriously, the gentleman who owns this shop is really nice. This story warms my heart, but does not surprise me. They’re just a good place. :)


I love it when a proprietor cares more about sharing their product, and creating a happy, loyal customer base than their own bottom line. Yay for the power of good tea!

The Seattle Tea Snob

Well your a good sales person, you’ve sold me and now they are on my list of teas to buy this month, probably pick up fifty grams of the Golden Needle King so if you’ve led me astray I’m going to be very put out. :)

But smooth and slippery? really now? :P


BTW – I was at the store this last weekend, and we talked about you. I got to tea geek out with one of the lovely people who works there, and try lots of new teas (have you tried their Pao Blossom…. Me Likey!!) He does read our reviews BTW. (Not the owner guy, but the other lovely gentleman, whose name I’ve completely forgotten… oops!)


Wombatgirl, yes I’ve had a sample of it. It’s not very often that I find a white or green that I really like, usually they’re just nice and some more nice than others. Furthermore I’m not a big fan of floral scented, it frequently winds up tasting like soap or perfume to me. So it was quite a suprise to me how much I actually enjoyed the Pao Blossom. I looked it up just now and I gave i 89 points. I thought it had some strong notes of grapefruits to it, but the aroma was rather overwhelming, if not, with my reservations towards floral scented, downright stinky.


Shang is just a super guy. Truly knows his tea and really cares about his customers as well as his products. I have not had a tea from Shang Tea that I didn’t like, even the whites that aren’t normally my thing.

My mother and I discovered the shop last Christmas. Shang spent probably 20 minutes with us, cupping teas for us to taste and explaining about his tea plantation, how they harvest and cure for the different kinds of teas. Even if his teas weren’t simply the best I’ve had, I’d still go back, simply because of that personal touch.

Golden Needle King is fabulous. Smooth and slippery is a perfect description.

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807 tasting notes

Took me a moment to find this here on steepster because my sample package says “Golden Needle Red Tea” not Golden Needle King – but the description is the same so I will log it here:

Well I steeped this completely wrong – forgot to let water cool one minute as package says to do. Got into a convo with hubby and just absent mindedly poured the boiling water over the leaves. Uggg I expected problems in the flavor from this.
In a panic I added a little extra cool water – I guess thinking to bring the temp down slightly. Then I realized what I had done and was just like Ugggggggg whatever – it was my only sample I had to drink it. To waste a precious tea from Shang would be a sin…a SIN I tell you!
So anyway guess what – quality tea can take a beating! This was still fabulous!
The smell was malty and of cocoa. The taste was of molasses, malt, chocolate, and hay.
The hay and molasses combination reminded me of sorghum I think. It brought back memories of when I trained hoses and had a couple of my own. That sticky sweet grain we fed the horses in fall and winter. I have not been reminded of that aroma for years and years. It brought back nice memories and made me miss those days. How I love the smell of hay and sweet grain, and horses. Okay before I turn everyone off to this tea the main flavors and aromas are that of malt, chocolate, and molasses, not horses, or hay, but there is something about this tea that makes me want to go to the country and jump on a horse!
This tea also provided a slight albeit very slight cinnamon sparkling sensation on the tongue.
I found this tea quite filling – almost like a dietary supplement may fill your tummy up except this was far more filling and far more enjoyable than those things!
Second and third steeps were also quite excellent but it was getting late and I laid the leaves out for morning – ended up not re-steeping well the next day (today) but I probably ruined a forth steep by over heating the water the first time around.
Shang has THE best teas in my opinion among maybe 5 other tea companies. Love this stuff!


I love horses. I used to train them with my grandpa so that is a tea that would bring back many happy memories especially if it smelled like them!


You have to stop logging such amazing teas or I am going to have to expand that list I gave you and I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT! Lol Kidding, of course, but I can add more to my shopping list.


LOL Violet – well unfortunately these are mostly only samples :( Wish I had more of this goodness!


Missy you should get a sampling of it – it really totally reminded me of the sweet grain!


yum seems delicious now i want it….. you’re evil:)


Just another tea from Shang I must order. :))


LOL dark_light – don’t blame me – its all Shang Teas fault! I am sad I only got a sampler!

Kasumi no Chajin

the Chinese use Red tea to refer to what the English call “black”…red referred to the color of the tea liquor, as black does the dry leaf…though some types of processing have made the exactness of the references less accurate more recently.


Thanks Kasumi :) Yeah I was a bit of a newbie 8 months ago – I have since learned the error of my ways :) Still thank you for replying to this! You never know I could have still been in the dark :)

Kasumi no Chajin

I did not know this tea fact until a few years ago, and have been drinking tea my whole life. (cultural specifics were focused on the Japanese info, we drank Chinese when out as a family)
I also posted for anyone coming across this post. :) If you were new to tea 8 months ago, you have come a LONG Way, congrats.


Awweee thanks so much!:)

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224 tasting notes

It’s a sad state of affairs when one’s crazy work life prevents one from trying new teas. It is an absolute tragedy that my abbreviated routine prevented me from trying this wonderful tea for more than a month. Wombatgirl is right. This is an excellent substitute for Dawn tea. One sip this morning and I was delighting in the sweetness and notes of cocoa and caramel.

After the second sip I ran to the kitchen to get the package so that I could immediately order a quantity of it from Shang Tea. If there is anything the Dawn tea debacle convinced me of it is that the right time to lose oneself in tea is the present moment and the right time to buy a tea one loves is immediately lest they run out or go out of business.

It is quite, quite good. I’m so very glad my life slowed down enough for me to try it.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Oh thank goodness. I was worrying a little since I hadn’t seen you review this. I’m glad it’s working for you. (I feel a little like a Fairy TeaMother! :)


It’s just been crazy here! Most of my mornings I don’t have time for tea and am never at my desk long enough for tea. So rather than trying new teas when I get a scrap of tea time, I’ve been relying on Adagio’s Black Dragon Pearls.

It is a wonderful tea and better in some ways than Dawn. It does not have the level of cocoa taste, but it is sweeter. I’ve kept some Dawn for special occasions and I had it yesterday and was able to compare.

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2816 tasting notes

This is the second red tea I’ve had in the last week (the other one was at Taste SF – a local tea place) and I’ve discovered I like them!

This steeps up to be a beautiful reddish-brown and it has a cocoa and cinnamon aroma. I am very intrigued by it since it is made of fermented white tea leaves. It definitely has a smooth and delicate quality but it also a bit malty and chocolate-y, slightly fruity. Reminds me a bit of a golden yunnan… also resteeps well

On a side note I discovered my new $20 Bodum tea for one set is made out of plastic and not glass, and I really don’t like the way tea tastes in plastic… boo


I know, I agree about the Bodum, and they say it doesn’t affect the taste of the tea, but THEY are WRONG! I had the same problem with a Bodum cordless electric teakettle, which I don’t use anymore. ://


In this case, Chinese “red” tea is actually black tea or fully-oxidized tea. They call it “red” because of the color of the infused liquid. Here in the States, the term “red tea” is sometimes used to refer to rooibos because of the color of the oxidized leaves.

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564 tasting notes

Resteep. This time around it’s like honey on bread. Most of the darker flavors are gone but all the middling ones are still there so the cup doesn’t feel too thin. There’s a surprisingly syrupy mouthfeel this time around that I’m liking; it matches the honey flavor well.


I had a sample of this a few months ago and liked the resteeps much better than the initial steep.


I had a sample of this a few months ago and liked the resteeps much better than the initial steep.

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189 tasting notes

Appearance: crinkle, curly bicolor, deep black leaf
Aroma when Dry: salty, vegital
After water is first poured: intensely floral
At end of first steep: floral, vegital
Tea liquor:
At beginning of steep: muddy green
Staple? Possibly, first tasting
Preferred time of day: any
At first: deep floral, buttery
As it cools ? Malty notes surface, salt notes increse, floral notes lengthen, cocoa notes and nuttyness close
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, floral, hints of spice, slight chewyness, lastly, slight sea salt notes

Second steep (3min)
Aroma: salty, hints of malt
At first: malt and salt notes
As it cools: malty notes lessen, salt stays, tea gets brothy

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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411 tasting notes

Oh wow. This is lovely. I bought this packet from their shop in downtown KC, and it’s labeled there as Golden Needle Red Tea, rather than Golden Needle King, but per their site it looks like the same thing.

This, ladies and gentlemen, might be a good replacement for Dawn from the Simple Leaf. Opening the packet I got a giant whiff of cocoa. Yum! It’s a lighter colored tea, since it’s a red tea, but it’s VERY flavorful. It’s got tones of cocoa and pepper and something that makes me think of autum leaves, but in a really good way.

I did this at approx. 190 for 2 minutes. It was made of awesome.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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348 tasting notes

Yet another one from my white tea sampler from Shang. But this was “technically” not a white tea. I say that because it actually falls in the black tea category. Squarely. In appearance, it looked like a pre-QingMing Keemun Mao Feng. The liquor colored similar to a Golden Yunnan amber. Aroma and taste, however, were quite the oddity. This tasted like the description – a lightly fermented white tea, as if someone took a batch of Bai Mu Dan and steeped it for eight-to-ten minutes. (Without spinaching, of course.) There’s a bit of a nectarine texture to it, but minor compared to a Yunnan Gold. Still a mighty pleasant drink.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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42 tasting notes

Wow, I’m already out and I don’t have a tasting note? Must be good tea then!

Smells of malt and spices, a really pleasant aroma. In addition I am getting just a hint of some sort of fruit as well. I love to simply hold the cup under my nose and inhale. Taste is a very pleasant combination of white and red tea. As much as I liked the Bai Lin Kung Fu from Shang Tea, I think this is better.

For a red tea this is pretty mild. The reason being this is (as stated on the package) made from white tea leaves.

Taste is less malty than the smell, it resembles their silver needle king and yet is obviously changed at the same time by the fermentation process. This is a wonderful special occasion tea in which you will not realize you have drank it all if you are not careful. Highly recommended!

I am typically able to get around 3 steepings from this, unlike other red teas which you seem to start suffering at around two steepings.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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62 tasting notes

A great start to the morning, this black tea offering from Shang is pretty good and is on the lighter side of the black tea spectrum since it is made using his white tea leaves.

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