Yunnan tea . . . somewhere, someplace, I had a magical cup of Yunnan which has lingered at the periphery of my consciousness. Rather frustratingly, I could never recall the time and place, or which estate the tea was sourced from. Or maybe I dreamt it . . . who knows . . . .

The Tea Centre in Sydney CBD offer three varieties of Yunnan black tea – an OP, a FOP and a finest FOP with varying degrees of tips. I had purchased the the FOP rather than the more expensive finest FOP but wasn’t overly impressed with it. This was a few months ago and within that time I don’t think I have had more than two or three cups.

I was rather intrigued by a two-cup sample at Adore Tea. Initially, I was under the impression that this was a green tea because of the colour and I had to check on their website. It is a very light, almost greenish grey and despite the item description, they are loosely rolled with no particular smell. The name “golden monkey” derives from its alleged resemblance to monkey claws but I can’t actually see this, nor can I detect the supposed flavours of nuts and chocolate.

The infused tea is a medium-strength flavour and full-bodied mouthfeel and deep-red colour. There is an element of smokiness with very little tannin and I can immediately see that this is where Russian Caravan derives its unique flavour; all the leading brands of Russian Caravan seem to be predominantly Yunnan tea blended with various other black teas. This is a nice, smooth blend with a vague whiff of the embers of a campfire in winter.

I will probably have to try this a few more times to see if I like it but I can imagine this as the perfect accompaniment on a clear, glacial autumn night.

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I always find intros difficult to write. Where to start . . . Sydney-sider working in insurance who has lived in London for ten years but returned to Australia in 2012. Despite coffee being the drink of choice in Oz, I come from a family of dedicated tea drinkers. Although I enjoy all teas – both black and green teas, either flavoured/scented or pure single-estate teas – I have a special fondness for Earl Grey and Ceylon teas.

With a cup of tea in hand, I love settling down with a DVD. I love cult films, anything visceral and slightly surreal – Shaw Brothers Kung Fu, Giallos, Spaghetti Westerns, Eurohorror, Hammer Horror, etc. If I’m not watching a film, I’ll be watching classic British TV like 70s Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, The Avengers, Danger Man as well as Prisoner: Cell Block H and the occasional Showtime or HBO series.

As much as I enjoy reading or art, I just don’t have the time for either these days.

My current favourites:

The Tea Centre:
Ceylon Pattiagalla
Darljeeling Selimbong FTGFOP1 1st Flush
Japanese Lime
Orange Blossom Pai Mu Tan

Oolong Fresh

Earl Grey De Luxe – Madame Flavour
Gunpowder – Temple of Heaven



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