Tippy Yunnan

Tea type
Black Tea
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Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Hay, Honey, Sweet Potatoes, Smoke
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Edit tea info Last updated by MacchaMan
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec 8 g 7 oz / 206 ml

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45 Tasting Notes View all

From Harney & Sons

Yunnan is the birthplace of tea. The big black leaves of this tea have a touch of gold. The brew is medium-bodied and round. It has a good balance of sweet and earthy notes. It has none of the smokiness that overpowers other Yunnans.

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

45 Tasting Notes

1112 tasting notes

Thought I’d play around with steeping parameters on this one today. I tried an even lower steeping temp and steep time. Even at 1 minute and 195 degree water, this puppy is a staunch cup…and that’s exactly what I like about it! It’s like the Irish Breakfast of the Chinese teas – it will wake you up but good (only it is delicious with no sugar and milk!). It still has a subdued tarry flavor, a good roundness, and dark sweetness. I like :) I am also hoping that this lower temp and shorter steep business will yield more delicious resteeps. I’ll let you know – as I plan to be drinking this allllllll day :)

Goes rather well with the little apple hand pies my coworker brought in for us too!

EDIT: 4 very flavorful steeps. Even the fourth steep was STRONG! Whenever I’m so tired I can hardly stand it, this is going to be my best friend tea!!! I think I’ll even try it 10 degrees cooler next time for more experimentation.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

The Irish Breakfast of Chinese tea – perfect nickname for this one!

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1961 tasting notes

Chose this because I knew it’d have some heft and I woke up decidedly heftless with a hefty hunk of to-do’s ahead of me. Brewed strong on purpose; I think the “sweet and earthy” in the product description is appropriate.

The most fun of the hefties was a run to a local teaching supply giveaway (tornado donation remnants from last summer). Hauled home a crate of resource books to replace lost ones, some fiction and non-fiction that I can now try on an experimental basis, and a bale of GAMES magazines from the early 80’s—-wonderful idea fodder for kids’ games and activities. (And a hoot and a half—the electronic games reviews are for Atari; the print ads are for cigarettes and English Leather.)

Just dawned on me…that’s reading material that’s older than 75% of you reading this :) Ay-yi-yi.


I think I’m the 75%

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60 tasting notes

Thank you JacquelineM for a kind and generous sample. This week has stunk and my great reward comes now late into the first half of my weekend, I can write some tasting notes! Admittedly, I did gain some enjoyment by skunking the family at Scrabble, though(a poor winner to be sure… hope this doesn’t come off as braggy).

Really don’t have much to say about Yunnans, this may even be my first. This tea surprised me with how dark it is. I thought for sure that I oversteeped it and poured just a nip out of my press at about three minutes…it was kinda weak. With that discovery I then proceeded to let it go to the end of the five minutes I intended to infuse, next sip was better.

The dry leaf had an earthy smell that was still present once steeped. The first drink struck me as both malty and kinda strong. There’s smokey notes coupled with a dry astringency that even becomes bitter at the back of the sip, though not altogether displeasurable (this from AWM=see previous comment from Ashmanra/Banana’s Foster).

I am so surprised that this tea incorporates three things I generally dislike (bordering dispise) and yet I’m still drinking it. There’s a certain balance in them that I can’t explain. I’m not saying that this tea has changed my opinion of astingency, I’m just saying it’s palatable. There’s even a lingering sweet note that is somewhat elusive as well.

All these things come together to make for a decent, bold cuppa. Sorry if I made no grand discoveries, I just didn’t find any. For another experienced drinker you may be head over heals for this tea and find it complex and all you’re looking for. It may even unlock the mysteries surrounding the meaning of life…

tunes-THE Bob Dylan(whose titles are often so looong)=Ballad Of Hollis Brown/Corrina Corrina/Jack-A-Roe/Wicked Messenger/Girl From The North Country/The Boxer/House Of The Rising Sun/In My Time Of Dyin’/& for some comic relief…Talkin John Birch Paranoid Blues.
I think I will have to do a list entirely of Dylan tunes made popular through covers after seeing several here.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Woa, our tastes are definitely different. I love Yunnan. What are your favorites?

Cover – Ballad of Hollis Brown, Nazareth.


Sweet pu’erhs and nutty oolongs are tops. That cover escaped me(prob not only one).Gotta look it up now.Jack-A-roe/GratefulDead,Boxer/Simon&Garfunkel,Risin’Sun/Animals,Wicked Messenger/Black Keys


We agree on pu’erh and oolongs. Actually there is little I don’t like. Not a big fan of Assam type teas but then I haven’t tried any since starting to use loose leaf. Maybe I could be won over.

Rising Sun is an old blues traditional. No one knows who first penned it. Same with In My Time of Dyin’. First I heard of it being recorded was Blind Willie Johnson but he didn’t write it. Zeppelin wins hands down as my favorite version.

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161 tasting notes

This Yunnan of ours evokes an earthiness characteristic of most Yunnan teas, with some sweetness, edging toward maple syrup. The Dark caramel looking liquor carries through in flavors matching with the aromas.

One could say that if Keemuns are the aristocrats of Chinese black teas, Yunnan teas are the poor, but happy cousins. Earthy, almost gutty and assertive, the teas also have a sociable maple sweetness to give them accessible charm. This sugared note makes for an instructive contrast to the sophisticated, subdued chocolate flavors of Keemuns. The maple and chocolate notes are both products of the Maillard reaction that occurs during firing, when amino acids and glucosides in the leaves combine to form compound called “pyrroles” and “pyrazines”, chemicals that have sweet roasted flavors.

Yunnan black teas come from a remote region of China on the border of Laos and Burma, where tea is argued to have originated. Most teas from this region are aged to make Pu-Erhs. Pu-Erhs have become so popular, it’s geting harder to find unaged, ordinary Yunnan black tea, but it is definitely worth the search!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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559 tasting notes

I’ve been meaning to review this for weeks, but I kept getting side-tracked. Meanwhile, my sample dwindles.

As far as yunnans go, this one is on the darker, earthier side. It has that sweet, malty scent to it, with a hearty taste of smoke and hay. After three minutes, it comes out smooth and caramelly, but if you go longer, it gets a sort of heavy bitterness to it like a keemun. It really depends on whether or not you like astringency. If it was early in the morning and I needed a wake-up call, I’d let this steep for a while to really bring out the strength… but tonight, I was looking for more complexity.

I highly recommend trying it both ways. There is no right or wrong preparation, it seems.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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1158 tasting notes

Thank you to Nicole for this sample.

This tastes a little sweet with honey notes. I get a little bit of smokiness. It is slightly astringent as well. And it gets even more astringent as it cools. So drink it quick!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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187 tasting notes

Catching up on some Dexter, watching some tea…

It’s a pretty awesome way to start a Sunday morning.

So, I’ve been looking forward to this H&S sample since I ordered it. I’ve only had one other Yunnan (Adagio’s Yunnan Jig), and this one is supposed to be “tippy” which in the tea world signifies “better than average.” Or at least, that’s what it sounds like.

Anyway, when I opened the packet, I was a little surprised at how broken the leaves were. Yunnan Jig’s leaves are long and wiry. These were a bit more chopped up. The smell coming from them was earthy-strong, with a bit of white pepper mixed in. Other than that, the dominant aroma was black tea. Hrm.

So I steeped this sucker up, and I was pretty surprised at how dark the tea is. It’s really dark. Darker than mahogany, but not the purple-black that pu-erh has. The infusion actually has a fairly pu-erh scent to it as well. Rich earth of pu-erh, mixed with a bit of smokiness. Maybe some pipe tobacco? It’s easy to see how the teas of Yunnan are linked to pu-erh (common origin and all that).

At peak hotness, this tea is pretty malty and strong. The dominant flavors are definitely smoke and peppery, mixed with a earthiness that’s pretty interesting. Very brisk, slightly astringent, but not that complex and interesting.

As the tea cools, a sweet element begins to build that’s somewhat like dried maple, but not nearly as strong and assertive as I would have liked. It’s a tantalizing whiff, but it never builds into anything substantial.

This tea is a tease. It should be so much better, but it’s really not. It’s just fairly average. Rishi’s Golden Yunnan (of the sample I’ve tried) is loads better, with caramelized, sweet potato notes, and it’s around the same price. I like Adagio’s Yunnan Jig a lot better as well.

So yeah, a fairly serviceable tea, but it’s not going to have sparks shooting out of your eyes or anything like that.

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

Dexter + tea FTW


I’m always in search of a tea that will make sparks shoot out my eyes, I dunno about you guys…


Oooh, this last season of Dexter was just…just…phenomenal. John Lithgow did an amazing job.


I’m about halfway through the season, and seriously, he’s creeping me out VERY badly.

And yes, Erin, when this does happen to you, please report back. Also, pix plz.

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2246 tasting notes

I could have swore I already tried this once since Nicole was so kind to share (thank you!) but if I did, this second cup was definitely different than the first time I tried it! I steeped for four minutes and it was nice and smokey, so I’d have to disagree with the description for this tea. I have no idea how the description could call it not smokey… that is its main characteristic. It definitely is smokey (but not as smokey as some teas I’ve tried), but also very sweet. I almost chose a russian caravan tea this morning, so I was pleased that this one was smokey anyway. I think the first cup I had was astringent, but this time it wasn’t, which leads me to believe that I oversteeped the last time and maybe the smokiness disappears if it is oversteeped. It was just a tiny bit astringent when the last bit of the cup got cold. (Where does astringency come from anyway?) I definitely would have remembered the smokiness before. So this one is sweet yet smokey. I love it.

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2188 tasting notes

I got this tea a while ago in a swap with Tea Sipper, but am just getting around to trying it. Thanks for sending it along!

Steeped, the tea smells kind of like that typical “black tea” smell that I think of whenever I smell a flavored tea that I know the black tea is going to be overwhelming in. Also, definitely smoky. Uh oh, smoke in tea and I are not friends. Yeaaah no. I should have noticed that it had smoky notes before I requested a sample of it. Sorry! These types of teas are just not for me. It is definitely one of those cases where I could tell that I would like the flavor without the smoke, but like Harney’s Keemun Mao Feng, even a little bit of smoke is too much smoke for me. For some reason it just turns my stomach. Oh well!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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774 tasting notes

Post-morning jaunt to local farmer’s market, I thought maybe I’d get a pot of this going while I snapped green beans.

Dry, the leaves smell very earthy and slightly smoky. I’m not sure I’m a fan of yunnans – but I was getting my last Harney order up to the free shipping level and this was something new to me.

Liquor is a dark reddish brown, I think you could easily oversteep this and end up with something really, really dark and forbidding.

I taste… earthy notes, dusty hay, a hint of smoke but that may still be in the smell more than the actual taste…The flavor is actually pretty light for my expectations of a black tea. The bulk of the flavor vanishes on the back of the tongue and after the swallow you are left with a bit of earthy notes and a slight tad of astringency.

Not bad, and it will be used up eventually, but this wouldn’t be one I’d turn to over other blacks I have in my stash. I’ll share it at work and see what the other tea person thinks. My mom will probably like it – she’s a fan of slightly smoky teas.

Off to mess with the fresh corn purchase from this morning to get it ready for dinners next week!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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