Yunnan Imperial Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
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Chocolate, Earth, Salty
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Edit tea info Last updated by kimquat
Average preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec 10 oz / 295 ml

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From Single Origin Teas

The Yunnan province located in South China above Burma offers many interesting teas. While best known for their Pu-Erhs, Yunnan also produces some excellent black teas. With a unique taste reminiscent of freshly brushed horses, this tea gives a wonderful example of the Yunnan teas. The Imperial grade offers a full bodied black tea, with still a nice level of golden tips for sweetness.

Rich malt with a caramel sweetness gives this tea a wonderful base. Add to that a clean barnyard aroma (we know, an odd way to describe a tea! But it’s a term used in wine, so why not tea?), and this is undoubtedly one of our more complex black teas.

Perfect for afternoons or evenings when you need a nice relaxing black tea.

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11 Tasting Notes

1958 tasting notes

Mornin’. Brr. At least I could drive to work. Some of you had to skate.

Frozen toesies call for stronger teas. Yunnan Imperial called for me this morning. Dark mahogany wood, leather, burlap sacks full of feed…barn kittens (no, it doesn’t taste like kittens; all that barn lingo made me think about the little ‘uns that we’d find tucked in a hay-ey corner)…


barn kittens :)

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921 tasting notes

My birthday weekend has passed and it was pretty mediocre event wise but I got some excellent presents. A nice shiny new pound of dice from Ben and a nice shiny monetary gift from my dear grandparents (which I used to order a Minecraft hoodie I have been lusting after for quite a while.) A bit of good news has occurred, I feel inspired again and not only designed some neat perler bead creations, I made a Minecraft Cat 3-D statue too! Go me!

Enough about being inspired to do crafty things, it is time for tea! Today’s tea is another awesome selection from Single Origin Tea, Yunnan Imperial Black. As you can most likely tell from the name, this tea comes from the famed tea growing region of Yunnan, China, a region known for amazing Pu Erhs and even more amazing Black teas (no offense Pu Erhs.) The aroma of this tea is muscatel and sweetly oaky with a tiny hint of cedar and earthiness. It reminds me of oak wine casks with a tiny drop of chocolate and a strongly woody after thought.

Time for a nice steeping! The aroma is much earthier and oakier with the muscatel notes being milder. It is very smooth and sweet and has a touch of loam, like the forest floor after rain. The aroma of the liquid is honey sweet and slightly like sweet grapes, mildly earthy and woodsy as a last whiff. The aroma is still very smooth and sweet, it makes my nose tingle.

The taste is sublime, this is one of the smoothest Black teas I have ever had, bravo! Sweet and earthy with a wonderfully gently mouthfeel. There is a tiny amount of an astringent feeling in the back of the throat after you swallow giving the tea an almost citrus like taste. The aftertaste is oaky and reminds me of the oak cask again. As the tea cools it becomes more woodsy and astringent, the taste also becomes sweeter like honey with a mild chocolate aftertaste. It leaves a pleasant mouth tingling sensation when you drink it cool. This tea is very delicious and is wonderful after a heavy meal or first thing in the morning, adding sugar or cream does not accentuate the flavors at all and really takes away from this tea, so I do not recommend it, enjoy this beauty in its natural form.

For blog and photos (Include the cat statue :P):


Ahhh…this sounds wonderful


Ahhh…this sounds wonderful!
A belated Happy Birthday to you:-)


Many thanks! _

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3187 tasting notes

One of the flavors listed is “salty” and sadly that is sort of accurate. It is not as offensive as that may sound but it is also not for me. Thank you Sil for the chance to try it but I will pass on this in the future. (163)

Single Origin Teas

Auch, sorry that the salty wasn’t your “cup of tea”. ;)

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8166 tasting notes

Cards and tea Travelling tea box

I tried this one out today since i am always on the hunt for new straight blacks. However, colour me unimpressed. this has a bitterness and an astringency that i wasn’t a fan of. Mostly just, an average sort of tea, that i can live without. so BOOOO on that!

Single Origin Teas

auch, sorry about it being average. I will admit it doesn’t have that same sweet potato sweetness that I like in the golden yunnans(but then again its at a fraction of their price). Do you know when the tea was sold? I have a sinking feeling that you might have gotten the last of a batch and gotten more tips and bits than you should have.


i don’t, sadly as this was from the travelling teabox. I was just excited to try your teas as i haven’t had a chance to place an order with you yet.

Single Origin Teas

ah! :/ Sorry about that. Hopefully you’ll have another chance to try the teas and this time they will be super tasty!

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2816 tasting notes

I got this one the other day and am just getting around to trying it.

I accidentally left it steeping too long so I’m not going to rate it right now. It might have been 5 minutes or longer. There’s been a lot of talk about the “barnyard” flavor of this tea. I’m not really picking this up. If anything it seems to be earthy in some ways like a good shu pu-erh is. It’s also kind of chocolate-y and also… savory. It almost seems to me like there is salt in here. So anyway I definitely plan to revisit this soon and rate it, but I’m glad it isn’t as scary ass I thought it would be. In fact, I kind of like it. :)

Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Salty

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

Oh good!
To me it tasted sort of like the way a horse smells, haha. Ah well

Single Origin Teas

ah! yep. Sorry my barnyard is supposed to be more like “freshly brushed horses”. So a clean barnyard smell. :)

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642 tasting notes

T&C TTB Tea # 22 Backlog May 30

I had to laugh at this one. I liked how it looked in the bag, all brown and goldeny, so I wanted to try it. But when I read the reviews on Steepster, they all talked about a “barnlike aroma”

And I live in a place with lots of farms and stuff, but I grew up strictly in the city. I don’t DO barns. I don’t do cow poop. I love horses but my husband is deathly allergic so I don’t even get to go near horses. Basically, if it smells like a barn, you won’t find me anywhere nearby.

I thought I’d pull up muh britches and try this one anyway, just fth of it.

So….it tastes like a barn smells.

People in other reviews are all like “It has a pleasant barnlike taste! That’s a good thing!”

And i’m like – NO. JUST NO.

So I can’t help but wonder if I would have clued in to the “delightful barnyard aroma” of this tea if I hadn’t read the other reviews first.

I tried really hard to disassociate myself from that, and it was a pretty flavorful cup of tea, I will admit. I added milk to make it more of a breakfast tea. It was a hearty, dark, rich liquor.

But ultimately, I’m not interested in drinking anything that reminds me of the smell of a barn. Seriously, I’d rather drink something that tastes like dirty slush from the side of a high traffic road during a Maritime winter. At least that would be ALL CITY, BABY.



hmm I just got this one but haven’t tried it yet.


Omg this made me laugh


Haha, I don’t think “barnyard aroma” sounds like a particularly good thing either.

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

TeaBrat I hope you like it!
I just couldn’t escape the barnyard.


Haha I love the smell of barn. So many awesome memories! I grew up in the city, but every weekend I could talk my mom into driving out the see my cousins we’d be gone. I have drank milk directly from a cow. :)


P.S. How weird is it that I miss a good Maritime winter slush?

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

But, would you want to drink a barn? Lol. Not me!

And not that weird! But if you come back you won’t miss it for too long, haha

Single Origin Teas

That all being said, I still like my description of barnyard! ;) To me a freshly kept barn where you can still get the smell of freshly brushed horses, new hay, and no city smells. (no cows. cows are smelly!). My uncle still farms the family farmstead up in Minnesota, with this beautiful full size red barn. Every summer when I was little was spent up there, so maybe that is where I associate the barnyard smell.

Actually thinking of teas that I would describe as having a “city smell” I would describe the Vietnam OP like that. The chocolate/spices/coffee taste to me would be the reason.

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408 tasting notes

Nicole sent me a big package of yunnans as I can taste several of them. Until now I didn’t really explore this type.

This one is delicious : malty, smooth. I am afraid being too much urban to detect the fresh brushed horses unfortunately but I get a kind og leather note.
Leather is a note I particularly appreciate in perfumes (like Calèche of Hermès or Cuir de Russie of Chanel). No exception for tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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769 tasting notes

Wow, this takes me back. I had a horse when I was in junior high/high school. Add another vote for a match on “fresh brushed horses” and “barnyard aroma.” Lightly sweet, golden malt… this is a really good, really smooth Yunnan.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

you had a horse…I won’t say that to my daughter otherwise she will request me to get one…
This tea seems very nice.I didn’t drink very much Yunnans, for no special reasons, I think I should explore these teas one of these days.


Seems like all young girls want horses at some point. :) A horse is an awful lot of work, though. Just tell your daughter that when she asks for one. :) If you need a Yunnan sampler, just let me know. I’ve been obsessing about them for a while now and have several that could be shared. :)


Did you binge on horse books? That was my coping mechanism in 3rd grade: Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, National Velvet, and miscellaneous dime store hardbacks with teenagers in plaid shirts and bandannas…


I binged on cheap plastic horse models from the local farm & home store. My Barbies rode in style. :) And before I had a horse, I was lucky enough to have a pony – when I was young enough to not be expected to do much of the hard upkeep. :)


I remember those plastic horses. But if I had them there wouldn’t be room on the bookshelves for my Trixie Belden collection. Am I dating myself here or what?

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