This morning I’m trying the sample of Yunnan Golden Buds tea that Asha Tea generously included with my order. Brewing it gongfu style in my gaiwan, and have had three infusions so far. I consider the Yunnan golden needle teas, along with Laoshan black, to be the height of black tea for me. This sample from Asha is quite good! Perfectly smooth, as I would expect from a budset black tea. Mouth-feel is light and soft. Really a pleasure to drink.

But what makes this Golden Buds different and interesting for me is that it is a much more savory experience in fragrance and flavor than the other golden needle teas I’ve tried. I think Asha’s short flavor description is completely on the mark. This tea has a fragrance and flavor very reminiscent of good cooked mushrooms. Its taste expands through salty and peppery territory in a rather pleasant way. The fact that I’m a big fan of mushrooms probably helps me appreciate this tea a lot.

The savoriness of this tea surprised me a little bit, because I’m used to golden needle teas that have a much sweeter profile. This one is an interesting departure from that. It’s a very pleasant and worthwhile Yunnan golden needle tea, but not the best one I’ve tried. I would probably most often go for a sweeter one over this if a choice was necessary, but that’s just because I’m in the mood for sweeter teas more frequently.

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Tea drinking, tango dancing, rock climbing, and reading are my main activities of interest.

Currently obsessed with Fenghuang Dancong Oolongs and Wuyi Yan Cha. My fascination with Pu’er is steadily growing, and I imagine it will take over one of these days.

I typically don’t feel ready to say anything conclusive about a tea (and thus, say nothing) until I’ve tried it three or four times, which helps prevent both false positives and false negatives, and offers a more comprehensive sense of a tea’s dimension and character.

As of 01/12/2012, I’ve accepted full-time employment as the Business Development Manager at Verdant Tea. From that date forward I’ve decided to stop rating teas on Steepster due to my professional stake in the tea business. I have no interest in manipulating the rating system in our favor or against other tea businesses. All my ratings on Steepster were made before my employment with Verdant Tea, and reflect nothing more than my personal opinions as a tea drinker.

I want to continue writing tasting notes without ratings from time to time, for both our teas and teas that I enjoy from other businesses; but as my life has now become much more busy, my activity on Steepster will be lessened. And in any case, my future contributions here will have to be made on my personal time.


Minneapolis, MN, USA



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