Packaging-Comes in a sealed foil pouch placed inside Rishi’s traditional zip-lock type resealable pouch. I think it’s a tight squeeze to put the inner foil pouch back inside the Rishi outer pouch-so consider whether you need alternative storage for the inner foil pouch.

Dry buds-are about 2/3 golden, remaining dark green to dark brown. Buds are thin and fairly straight with small curves on some-but not curls.

Dry leaf Aroma-sweet potato is prominent, faint notes of orange citrus, malt can sometimes be detected.

Brewed leaves- turn dark brown and straighten the curves a touch.

Liquor-is a beautiful coppery color.

Steep info-I steeped this at as low as 195/3min to as much as 205/4min on first infusion (and various combos in between). I have steeped as many as 4 times, but for me, it gives me 2 satisfying steeps. Because it’s so expensive, I generally take a third steep out if it, but I think it’s losing its delicate flavor by then.

I was very excited to try this tea. It won first place in the Yunnan category at the North American Tea Championship last month. A Rishi rep told me it was “kind of an upgrade” over their Organic Fair Trade Golden Needle-which won the same category in 2010. I loved that tea, so needless to say, I was anxious about tasting something similar, but even better.

I have brewed this about 5 times in the last 10 days. My first cup was really delicious. I noticed the sweet potato notes very distinctly. but the rest of the flavor was nondescript to me (however, I feel am generally not capable of detecting many of the more subtle and complex notes others detect in teas). I did not notice that faint orange and malt notes that I detected a bit in the dry leaves. That was a disappointment because I loved those notes in their 2010 Golden Needle. I steeped 4 times to see how many it would hold. For me, two is probably the most I would prefer, but 3 is definitely doable.

A day or two later, I brewed again and the tea seemed a little weaker, less flavorful. I thought it was me. I played around with the steep times and temps a bit, but I could never recreate the first cup. The sweet potato flavor had weakened a little bit. On occasion I did notice a bit of a sugary note (palm sugar?). But not much.

Then I read somewhere about certain teas losing their flavor really fast and I wondered if this is one of those teas. For about 3-4 days, I just rolled up the inner foil (but not sealing it) and putting it inside a standard tea tin. After that, I put a clamp to seal the inner foil while it’s inside the tea tin.

I don’t know that was a problem or not. Anyhow, I like this tea, but it’s just missing something. Just not a lot of flavor for what is to me a medium-bodied tea. Maybe an all bud tea is more delicate in flavor-I would not know. I’ll definitely finish this, but it’s expensive, so I won’t buy it again and it won’t make me forget their Fall 2010 Golden Needles.

The rating number? Oh, I’m not sure. I may play around with that a bit until I think I get it right.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Scott B

To clarify-this tea won the 2011 Fall Tea Championship (Fall 2011 being when the tea was harvested-the contest was judged in March 2012). The Golden Needle tea I mentioned won the 2010 Fall award which was judged in the Spring of 2011.

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Scott B

To clarify-this tea won the 2011 Fall Tea Championship (Fall 2011 being when the tea was harvested-the contest was judged in March 2012). The Golden Needle tea I mentioned won the 2010 Fall award which was judged in the Spring of 2011.

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Started drinking tea for health benefits maybe 5 years ago-exclusively bagged tea. Usually went for various Celestial Seasonings type of stuff. I bought a tea infuser at a gourmet shop once and then I realized there was almost no loose tea available. Eventually tiring of bags, I started ordering loose tea online and I have never gone back. Initially, I was exploring all the wild and exotic flavor combinations, but now I mostly drink straight teas. I still enjoy blended teas-but prefer those without “flavoring”. Hope to learn here and find some new teas I might not otherwise find. Am a vegan, so “milk” generally means “soymilk” to me. If it’s almond, rice, or coconut, I will mention that fact.

I am new here, and new to reviewing tea. Many of my initial reviews will be from memory and may not be very detailed at all. I hope to write more informative reviews on current and future teas.

I won’t let external factors affect my rating of the tea-such as slow shipping, too expensive, etc. I’ll mention any customer service problems in my reviews. I also won’t let my mistakes in not following the seller’s recommended parameters affect a rating. I can’t believe people who say “I forgot about it and oversteeped it” and then give it a rating. If I brew outside the parameters, I will wait until I brew it right before I give it a rating.

TEMPORARY RATING SYSTEM- Don’t hold me to these numbers and descriptions-like George Bluth, I like to tweak.

90+ It’s awesome, right?? I’ll probably try to keep it on hand.

80-89 – I really like this and will buy it again at some point, but there are so many teas to try!

70-79 – This is a pretty good tea and I may buy it again based on my mood, what tea store I am buying from, and what kind of deal I can get.

60-69 – This is okay. I finished the bag. I would drink it again if offered, but would not buy it again.

40-59 – IF I finished the bag, I recall this tea thinking “Why in the hell did I finish the bag?”

1-39 – Did not finish the bag. Maybe not even the cup. Tea was given away or discarded.



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