Imperial Pure Bud Yunnan Black Tea of Simao

Tea type
Black Tea
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Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Honey, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes, Citrus, Malt, Cocoa, Maple, Pepper, Pine, Wood
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Edit tea info Last updated by Terri HarpLady
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 oz / 192 ml

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17 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, & I'd like to extend my gratitude to the rest of the world for putting up with us, LOL. I'm also grateful for many things, including my quiet...” Read full tasting note
    Terri HarpLady 3071 tasting notes
  • “(Note: I purchased the Spring 2012 varietal of this tea. The description was exactly the same, so I figured I’d post under this entry instead of making a new one.) Whoa. This is FRESH. And these...” Read full tasting note
    smartkitty 32 tasting notes
  • “I bought the 2012 varietal as well. I like this tea but it took some adjusting from my part, it is pleasantly sweet and just a hint of malty. You can taste hints of peppercorn but there's something...” Read full tasting note
    jcov 155 tasting notes
  • “Finally, something not green! :D This tea also came from *Dexter*. I've really enjoyed the other pure bud teas I've tried from *Yunnan Sourcing*, so I'm excited for this one as well. The leaves...” Read full tasting note
    CameronB 827 tasting notes

From Yunnan Sourcing

An incredible premium pure bud black tea. Made from the highest quality high altitude material from Ning’Er county of Simao. Only young bud sprouts are picked and then expertly processed into this delicate and textured Imperial grade black tea!

The tea’s aroma smells of fruit and sugarcane. Sweet in the mouth, with plenty of texture that fills the mouth with a comfortable feeling.

An exquisite artisan tea!

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

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17 Tasting Notes

3071 tasting notes

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, & I’d like to extend my gratitude to the rest of the world for putting up with us, LOL. I’m also grateful for many things, including my quiet neighborhood, in a city that is struggling with violence & craziness these days (St Louis).

I’m starting my morning with a gongfu session with this beautiful beautiful tea, so luscious & rich. It is creamy & malty, with elements of sorghum, hints of Vanilla, citrus, & pepper, & excellent Cha Qi. Thick across the palate, with a pleasant tongue tingle, & a rich bee pollen sensation, followed by a very clean finish. If I had to pick favorite black teas (which gratefully I do not), this would be on that rather long list!

Now to leap into action: I have pies to make!


Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Good luck with your pies!


Happy thanksgiving Terri :)

Roswell Strange

Happy Thanksgiving <3


Happy Thanksgiving, lovely!


Glad to hear from you Terri. I have been thinking about you this last week while I watch the news. Happy Thanksgiving.


Happy Thanksgiving !

Terri HarpLady

Thanks everyone!! :)

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32 tasting notes

(Note: I purchased the Spring 2012 varietal of this tea. The description was exactly the same, so I figured I’d post under this entry instead of making a new one.)

Whoa. This is FRESH. And these leaves just don’t stop delivering. I’m not sure I can offer anything constructive, except to say that as of steep 12, these leaves show no sign of slowing down.

Malty and sweet, absolutely beautiful. My only quibble is that they don’t seem to show much in terms of evolution, aside from the maltiness fading a bit as the steeps progress.

5g in a 5oz gaiwan, 5 sec steeps at max. I mishandled it quite a bit near the beginning, oversteeping for my taste. I’m not that good at gaiwaning, see, and the only reason I can manage it with greens and whites is the lower temperature. I burned my tiny little hands quite a bit while trying to get into the rhythm of the correct technique while making this. The result was that my first five or so steeps were overwhelmingly malty. I wonder if any of my yixings in my collection are good for black teas… Hmm.

Anyway. INTENSE tea. I drank until I was tea drunk and then I had some more. I am still vibrating with caffeine a few hours later. Not sure I should have had black tea so late in the evening. Glad I did nonetheless, this tea is gorgeous.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Wow, 12 steeping and going strong. Amazing!


I was surprised, too! I did have to increase steep times exponentially near the end, but I was very impressed by the staying power.

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155 tasting notes

I bought the 2012 varietal as well. I like this tea but it took some adjusting from my part, it is pleasantly sweet and just a hint of malty. You can taste hints of peppercorn but there’s something else to it that I cant point out, it doesn’t bother me flavor wise, its just one of those times when you taste something you can’t name or describe… yet. I will come back to this one for sure.

I had retried this one a while ago, but got lazy and never updated the notes. I really liked this one although I maintain that I feel like this one ‘Pure Bud’ vs the Imperial Mojiang has more peppery notes, in the best way possible. It feels refreshing at the end of each cup even when the broth itself starts sweet, thick, chocolatey with pine notes. It has a very satisfying body, that has a broth-like savory character with some roasted notes and very apparent maple/molasses notes of sweetness. Spring offerings are more complex in taste and offer subtle nuances while Autumn are less complex but with heavier molasses and wood notes.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Malt, Maple, Pepper, Pine, Wood


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827 tasting notes

Finally, something not green! :D This tea also came from Dexter. I’ve really enjoyed the other pure bud teas I’ve tried from Yunnan Sourcing, so I’m excited for this one as well. The leaves look like beautiful little Goldilocks curls, they’re twisty and curly but in a more haphazard way than bi luo chun. Dry scent is soft and honeyed.

The steeped tea has that lovely savory Yunnan smell, along with sweet potato, brown sugar, and stonefruits. Yum, this has a very thick, mouth-filling texture and it’s quite smooth. I can taste sweet potato puree along with wheat bread with butter and a touch of honey. There’s a deep caramelized sugar richness in the background. I don’t taste the stonefruit until the end of the sip, and even then it’s rather faint.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Honey, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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5357 tasting notes

oh Terri…my lovely tea sister. thank you for sharing this one with me. I love this one quite a bit. I’m currently sipping on this while reading on the balcony. It looks like i finished up enough of work this morning that i get to visit our friend on his birthday. This means at least one game + baby time AND i’ll get fed :) tomorrow we’re also going out for Summerlicious here in toronto and we’re going to try out a brazilian restaurant so that will be something to look forward to after what i imagine is going to be a crappy day of work lol

Not enough sipdowns today but at least i’m now under where i started after the drop off from variatea and cavocorax last night haha


Oh lord…she did send me this one. I can see a Pure Bud tasting in a very near future :-)


it’s really nice!

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248 tasting notes


Origin: Yunnan Spring 2014

Dry Leaf: All buds that have turned to golden, tender, soft downy pretties!!! Scents of honey, malt, butter cookie.

Method: Western 190F 1.5 tsp 8oz H2O steep 3’ 22oz ceramic teapot

Wet Leaf: All milk chocolate brown colored buds, all the same size,,honey and cocoa scent.

Liquor: Wild dark honey color,,beautiful with scents of malt, cocoa, the wild honey, and butter cookie.

Flavor: Surprising citrus note up front with some pepper then honey and malt blend in to finish.

Very beautiful tea that I must do Gong Fu style but this morning just wanted a big mug of goodness and this tea is definitely good!!!!

Gong Fu session this morning,,,,190F, 1.5 tsp 3.38 oz pot
10” rinse
30” golden sunflower liquor,,malt scent with a hint of orange cream and honey
40” deeper golden color,, malt
1’ flavor fading, citrus notes leave and subtle malt is left
1’10” liquor a lighter golden, leaves saying farewell. Beautiful tea :)

Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Malt

1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

excellent review. clear, concise and just about the tea. I always appreciate that, as that’s why I’m here on this site!


how many YS blacks have you tried


Thanks *donkeytiara !!


*apt I guess I have tried 4 or 5 and they are all excellent ;)


and which one was your favorite? meant to add that haha


So far of the ones I have tried, the Spring 2014 Fu Shou Mei Feng Qing Black Tea :)




ur welcome :)

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146 tasting notes

Powerful nose smells like molasses with hints of cocoa. Powerful flavor is complex and earthy. Molasses is also a strong element of flavor. Excellent, long finish. The taste is somewhat unusual. I think I’m going to need to get used to it. Second steep is more normal. Still fairly strong, but less distinctive.

(Note: I have the Spring 2014 version)

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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992 tasting notes

Another beautiful tea from the generous Terri HarpLady :D

I love the look of the dry leaf on these fancy yunnans. So shiny and fuzzy and golden. I love tea I want to pet!

The taste is all malty and sweet. Bold and full bodied with a nice kick, too. Everything a good black tea should be :)

I can see why everyone is enamored with these Yunnans! I’m enjoying this very much. Thanks again, Terri!


Haha! Pet your tea people!

carol who

Ya know, No one else except Steepsterites would get that!! ;-)

Terri HarpLady

Yay, glad you like it!

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556 tasting notes

Wow, very malty tea! It tastes very similar to that malted drink powder that you put in milk, without all the sugar. I mean that in a nice way. :) My husband just took a sniff and sip and declared it to be artichoke tea. I can see the comparison, but it still tastes malty to me. Never thought of artichokes as malty before. Huh. I don’t know if it is sacrilege to think of blending this, but I bet it would be fantastic with a strong chocolate flavor mixed in, just like a chocolate malty shake.
This tea is really quite nice!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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20 tasting notes

I am reviewing the Spring 2012 harvest.

This is one of the few Yunnan blacks that I will gladly steep Western when in a hurry, and is a favorite when working at my desk in the afternoon.

I use 4 grams to 236 ml of 190 F water at 1/2/3/4 minutes, with the last steep reduced to 177 ml. The leaf responds quite well to this treatment. I get aromas of cocoa, honey, malt and occasional hints of vanilla. Although the cocoa does not translate into the cup the sweetness does, especially in the later steeps, accompanied by pleasant citrus notes and a hint of ginger over a medium black tea base. I find myself going “Mmmm” out loud without thinking about it.

Today instead of a hint of citrus I got significant Meyer lemon notes, which was extremely tasty. I’m not sure if it’s because this tea is changing as it ages or if I did something different and did not notice. I’ll pay attention to the next few sessions to see if that is a trend. If so, no complaints!

I’ve already got the spring 2014 harvest on my wish list for my next YS order, and am looking forward to comparing harvests two years apart.

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Oh my! Yum to mayer lemons. YS is next on my “who to order from” list…but I must resist for now, just too many teas in the cupboard!!!!


YS is an especially dangerous site to browse. I usually put about $400 worth of stuff in my cart, laugh at my sheer folly, then spend the next three days painstakingly revisiting each page and deleting things until it gets below my threshold of pain.

My cupboard doors are bowing outward, but the spring 2014 harvests are coming in and it’s almost too hard to resist at least a few =:-}


Haha! How do you downsize a $400 order? Painstakingly seems like the proper word :-)
I know what you mean, the other day I started browsing through their pu’erh selection and nearly went crazy with envy! I just exited and have been desperately trying to avoid them ever since. You.are.not.helping. Just saying :-O


Several months ago I was joking with some fellow Steepster-ites about starting a ‘12-steep program’. The manifesto would probably go something like “I admit that I’m powerless over tea, and in fact just bought some more. Wanna’ see?”


Ahhh! That’s so hilarious…(and psst… yes…I do want to see…)

Terri HarpLady

TeaFairy, I’d be glad to send you samples of everything I have from YS, if you like.

TeaExplorer, LOL, you & I use the same shopping methods! I spent the weekend building & then destroying shopping carts from a couple of sites, YS was one. It will happen, as I have money in my playpal account from CD sales & such, just begging to be spent.

regarding 12 Steep groups: we did have a group going in the discussions boards for awhile, but everybody kept relapsing & bragging about what they purchased, hahaha


Aww, terri how generous you are…I need to stop ordering tea and swap more I think :-)
I will keep that in mind and PM you when the time is right, thank you so much! Things are out of control, I’m aiming at getting under 300, almost there, but more tea is already on its way!!!
In the mean time, my cupboard is open if you see stuff that is of interest to you :-)

Same goes for you TeaExplorer, I have plenty to share!!

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