No.9 Yunnan Full Leaf Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
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Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Tobacco, Apricot, Stonefruits
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Edit tea info Last updated by Janefan
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 oz / 221 ml

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From Steven Smith Teamaker

The best teas from Yunnan (known as the birthplace of tea) are wiry and tightly twisted with distinct golden tips. This exquisite variety brews up rich amber-red in color, has a lightly sweet, floral flavor and aroma, and brings welcome notes of smoke, spice and leather.

Full leaf China black tea from Yunnan Province.

For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. It will seem like the blink of an eye.

About Steven Smith Teamaker View company

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17 Tasting Notes

749 tasting notes

Ah yisssss!!!! This is what I have been chasing ever since more than a year ago when I had my introduction to Yunnans by chance in a random coffee shop. Dense and chewy, mildly sweet, leathery, thick and wonderful. I do get what my tastebuds identify as “smoke” but it lingers politely in the background, coming out more in the second steep but still as an aftertaste more than anything else. The first steep is best but the second is okay if you are trying to stretch your supply.

I’m starting to think what I taste as smoke is something else since so many others don’t notice smoke in teas that I do notice it in. Still makes my brain say “smoke” but maybe it isn’t what other people would think is “smoke” – and that probably makes very little sense. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Cinder? Charcoal? Sometimes I taste a burnt flavor like the caramelized outside bits on toast beef. It’s a great burnt taste but not smoke. Sometimes black tea has that roast beefy burned bits savory side.


remind me to get you to send a sample of this one my way eventually…i haven’t had much luck with most yunnans in that they’re tasty but nothing i LOVE.


I’ll put it on the list for when there are enough to send a package :)


thanks lady!


Nice. I might need to try this one.

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361 tasting notes

Sitting at the Steven smith headquarters sipping this with the Bean who stole my cookie! Luckily this teas is so good I don’t need a cookie. I’m very excited as there are several teas I’ve never seen here before. Sil & Terri, you’re in for a treat!


ah mah gawd! I wish i could be there with you!


oh man oh man

Terri HarpLady

Yay!! I’m there in spirit!!


Oh, I am going to Portland soon, I should check ’em out


That sounds like fun!!

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911 tasting notes

Another SST share from Terri Harplady! Yay!

I forgot to smell the dry leaf. It is early. I wasn’t thinking. But the smell as I poured it out of the pot was amazing. Like, wake me up amazing. Rich and sweet like a thin, fragrant syrup with just a tickle of black pepper. That’s a lovely morning greeting.

The taste is really flavorful and pretty. Earthy – a hint of leather, a bit musty; floral – in a way that reminds me of a much milder version of germanium oil (in a way that doesn’t make me gag); spicy – just a lovely tickle of black pepper during the sip, a bit of mentholated tang (camphor maybe?) in the very late aftertaste; sweet – with malt and a faint note of something between caramel sauce and one of those cheap butterscotch hard candy.

So yeah, lots of stuff going on in this tea but it’s allover so soft and pretty that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. It’s really kind of wonderful. I think I definitely need to get more of this. This is seriously one of the best Yunnans I’ve had in a while.

Terri HarpLady

I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)


I did! Thank you for sharing it! (And sorry for the delayed reply!)

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3230 tasting notes

Day 3 in Florida, 1st sip down of the day. Thanks for including this in the BBBB, TastyBrew. It is, in my opinion, a manly tea: Leather, wood, a little musty. Not as sweet as some of the Yunnan’s Ive enjoyed, but still a decent tea to drink.

Cameron B.

I have a sample of this one that I haven’t tried yet. Manly tea! :P


Terri, what’s your parameters for this tea? Hope you enjoying the trip!

Terri HarpLady

Boychik, I’ve tried it a couple of different ways:
1 tsp X 3 was ok, but kind of weak, IMO
1TB gongfu…it just wasn’t that interesting that way
1 TB 1/2/5 not much better than the gongfu
1 TB X 3 good, but a little strong
I probably should have gone with 2 t X 3. I think that would have been the sweet spot.


I should try when I get home. It’s still unopened . Thanks for the advice!

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348 tasting notes

Brought friends with to Smith HQ. While they were having their respective tasting flights, I ordered a full pot of their Yunnan. I didn’t remember trying it the last three times I’d ventured there. While not explicitly stated as being a Dian Hong, it had the earthy, and mid-astringent character of one. There was a bit of a nectarine nuance there, but not as much as a Yunnan Gold. Still, I enjoyed it quite immensely.

PS ~ It only took me ten minutes to down the (almost) 24oz pot. Make of that what you will.

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54 tasting notes

Yet, another favorite of this illustrious brand!

Aroma: It’s exactly as the website describes it…spicy, sweet and leathery, very pleasant.

Taste: A duplicate of the aromas. Spicy, sweet and leathery [if one could taste leather…not off-putting at all!]. This tea is a juxtaposition of tastes, meaning, it is spicy, sweet and leathery simultaneously; complex yet linear and delicate. A fine tea to enjoy throughout the day…better for afternoon and early evening due to not much of a caffeine kick for a morning jolt. Yunnan teas have some body to them and yet they are not mouth filling or possess that “drying” effect or the tannins of other black teas. Very delicious teas, indeed!

Aftertaste: More of a lingering sweetness of raisins and burnt caramel [not charred tasting at all] and not cloying either. A little spicy as well but only intermingled, not prominent.

I like Yunnan teas because of it’s complex characteristics…spicy, sweet, delicate and yet it has some body and complexity to it.

A highly recommended tea to have in one’s collection! A must buy!

Boiling 8 min or more

just fixed entry – tea name and company were switched :-)

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2010 tasting notes

Thanks for this one, Nicole! One I have been wanting to try for a while! I was worried that steeping two teaspoons of this one would ruin it, but it didn’t at all. The way I steeped it, I couldn’t imagine it getting any better. The leaves are mostly a bronze gold. The flavor is delicious and complex. The medium amber cup is a delicious Yunnan – honey, sweet potato, hints of something fruity and a lovely almost wine quality. The subtle flavor notes work really well together. I didn’t find many chocolate notes, but that isn’t to say this is a light flavored tea. It’s dark while not getting to chocolate levels. The second steep was a little different, with hints of smokiness and starchy chewy bread notes and also EARTHY somehow. The flavors in the previous steep staying in the background. A tasty tea!
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few min a.b. // 3 min


Love this tea

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2815 tasting notes

Thanks to boychik for this sample. I ended up steeping it for 3 minutes at 205 f and that was definitely overkill because I got really intense tobacco notes that made it difficult for me to drink this without milk. I also noticed spicy pepper-y notes and a bit of the sweet potato type of flavor that seems characteristic of yunnans.

I tried a 2nd steep for 90 seconds and now it seems like it doesn’t have enough flavor… it could be I steeped all the flavor out of it at the 3 minute mark. :) Anyway the 2nd steep isn’t bad but I’m still getting tobacco notes with some caramel. Tobacco isn’t really my favorite flavor in tea.

this doesn’t seem to be my favorite yunnan to date but it isn’t terrible. If I had more tea I feel like I could hit a sweet spot with the brewing parameters. I wish I had more to play around with but probably not worth placing an order.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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483 tasting notes

this tea is excellent. made gongfu method
6g 100ml glass teapot 205F
rinse/5/10/10/15/15/20sec etc
its rich, malty with stone fruit notes. Surprisingly no sweet potato note, i expected it. tell you the truth im getting tired of all Yunnan blacks having sweet potato profile. Nice and very potent.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Hmm. I wonder if what you’re calling “sweet potato” is what I associate with yams. hahahaha. Actually, I’ve noted a bit of split pea in a few of them. I think it’s the umame.


I heard that sweet potato and yums are not the same. I never tried yums. They say its not popular in US supermarkets. Split pea-interesting. Maybe l’ll get this note one day;)


black teas are ok to me :D


this would be nice gong fu’d

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972 tasting notes

I’m kind of a grumpface today… Our new roommate (and my boyfriend’s friend and coworker) has only been here a week, and he already bought tickets for some girl to come visit him. For a week. And they’re not even dating, and she’s 19 to boot (no offense meant to the younger people on here, but I generally do not like or get along with teenagers)… Seriously? And since he and my boyfriend generally work from about 8 to 5 during the week, I will most likely have the pleasure of entertaining this person all day long. Seriously? I am at a loss as to why this is going down… But you know, clearly my opinion doesn’t matter as long as he asks my boyfriend about it, who is never going to say no. So yes, grumpface.

So, on to the tea then. The leaves are what I would call “medium-sized” and twisty. They’re mostly dark with little spots of gold. They smell mildly malty with honey sweetness, yum. I did a 3 minute brew just out of habit.

The aroma is quite dark. Very malty, with a syrupy deep raisin note and something somewhere between honey and molasses. Wow, the flavor here is deep. I definitely agree with Terri about this being a manly tea. That dark raisin aroma carries over into taste, but it’s not sweet at all. Needless to say, this is quite malty. There’s tobacco and soft leather, maybe a touch of earthiness. There’s also an interesting almost bitterness that I feel is inherent to the tea (meaning not a result of incorrect brewing). It melds nicely with the leather and tobacco notes.

Nicole mentioned maybe a bit of smoke in here, and although I wouldn’t call it smoke, I can see what she’s talking about. It’s definitely dark and intense, and the earthy quality could definitely be described as almost smoky.

I quite enjoyed this tea. It’s amazing to see (or rather taste) the wide range of flavors and experiences that can come out of one region (Yunnan). The golden, fuzzy Yunnan teas are light with pastry and honey-sweetness, while the darker varieties can be very assertive and rich, with deep and developed savory flavors. Amazing! I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to try all of the different kinds, especially since most of them were from swaps! Thanks everyone, and Nicole in particular, who provided this sample, along with many others! :)

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Tobacco

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

You know the saying, fish and guests stink after three days.

Cameron B.

HAH! I have never heard that, but you made me laugh with it. :P


Totally justified in your grumpface, in my opinion! I had a friend who was in a very similar boyfriend + roommate living situation and it is tricky to say the least!

Sami Kelsh

One of my flatmates currently has her parents visiting, and while I super don’t mind at all (as I’m barely home myself on weekdays) I have to be super noise-conscious as it means my flatmate’s sleeping on the living room couch. And her folks decided to stay on an extra week, poor dear!


ugh, maybe you should go somewhere while she’s here. :)


That would make me a grumpface also. That’s just rude.

Cameron B.

Honestly, I’m sure it’ll be fine, hopefully the time will go by fast. And after talking to my boyfriend about it, I think they might work from home while she’s here so I don’t have to babysit all day. I’m just a bit peeved over the whole thing. :P


I would recommend spending the week visiting all of your local tea houses! Carpe Diem! ;-)


Oy. Yeah, teenagers suck. Good luck you ya!


teenagers are horrible

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