Question about Tippy Yunnan, Golden Monkey and similar type teas

I’m new to tea and it seems that certain Chinese teas like Tippy Yunnan, Golden Monkey, Yunnan Purple Buds, Golden Yunnan, etc. all have a certain underlying flavor, some more so than others, that just does not agree with my palate. I want to say it’s an earthy type taste, but quite honestly, it’s not something I’ve tasted before in anything else so I’m not sure what you would call it. It’s not a sweet, fruity or spicey taste, but whatever it is, I dislike it very much. For Dongbei, oops. The question is what is this common flavor that I dislike so much, and how can I avoid it? Seems like it might be a Yunnan thing? I had some Keemun black today that was much better. Thanks.

9 Replies
DongBei said

I don’t see a question here, just you stating that you don’t like these teas?

See above – edited. The question is bascially what is it that these teas have in common that I dislike so much and that I’ve never tasted in the traditional English Breakfast tea I grew up with, or even the Keemun tea I had today?

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AllanK said

A common flavor in many black teas is often referred to as malt, could that be the flavor you dislike. This can be a slightly off putting flavor.

AJ said

Seconded. Especially var. Assamica, which all of these should be.

Maybe that’s it, but it seems to be present in these types teas. I had some Keemun this morning that was very nice – much better.

AllanK said

The flavor note described as “malt”, which I should note does not mean chocolate malt, is very common in black teas from many regions. If you are stepping up from something like Lipton they do there best to make sure there is little negative flavor in it and pretty much make sure there is no flavor at all. So if what you are used to is supermarket tea bags they just don’t have flavor compared to a good loose leaf. They don’t have the good flavors, they don’t have the bad flavors.

Thanks, Allen. I’m certainly finding what I DON’T like in tea. I have boatload of samples of various Oolong and Chinese black teas from Verdant Tea; Teavivre; Eco-Cha; Rishi Tea; and Art of Tea to try. Two of the WORST I’ve tried, no matter how I brewed them were Harney’s Golden Monkey and Tippy Yunnan. Those were just nasty, and I like Scotch and Bourbon neat, so it’s not like I have a sensitive palate.

Rasseru said

Yeah it might be the malt – i’m not a fan of it either.

This is why i mainly drink oolong, puerh, white, as even earthy shou puerh doesnt have that malty taste.

AJ said

A good way to explore this is to try some black teas made with small-leaf varietals, or var. Sinensis, and see how they compare/if you still find an unpleasant note.

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