Ancient Yellow Buds

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Yellow Tea
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Nectar, Nuts, Rice, Vanilla
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 17 oz / 500 ml

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32 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I was absolutely shocked and amazed when I opened this month’s Steepster Select box (the box we receive in April is actually May’s box. Confusing, I know, but I’m sort of glad that they do it like...” Read full tasting note
  • “Oh this smells good. Seriously seriously good. Thick and sweet and rich and nectar-y and a tiny tiny hint of green and floral but mostly rich, dark yum. The smell reminds me a lot of Samovar’s...” Read full tasting note
  • “Oh my! This is good. The last yellow tea I had was medicre and I sort of wondered what the big deal was about. This tea though! Amazing! Thank you for sharing this precious tea with me Azzrian! I...” Read full tasting note
  • “Backlogging from the weekend! Okay, can we talk about how much my love for Rishi has shot up? Between this, Purple Bamboo, Ancient Emerald Lily, and their Silver Needle… yeah, Rishi has it going...” Read full tasting note

From Rishi Tea

Ancient Yellow Buds, Organic Fair Trade Yellow Tea

This tea has such a wonderfully unique profile with a rich, sweet and savory flavor accented by notes of peeled apples and honeysuckle. Yellow Buds resembles white tea silver needle and is composed of a single, ripe bud shoot. It was harvested during the 2nd week of April in Mannong Manmai and handcrafted with artisan methods inspired by Hunan’s famous Jun Shan Yin Zhen yellow piling process. Usually, yellow teas are made with small leaf or medium leaf varietals from central and eastern China. This is a one of a kind Yellow Tea made with Mannong Manmai’s ancient heirloom broad leaf tea trees. This is our first year to make this tea and we chose to release it for Fair Trade month as an example of the unqiue, new style teas we can produce in the traditional Pu-erh areas of Yunnan. It is very limited and we’ll do our best to make more of it next spring.

Use a porcelain guywan, glass teapot or a Ho-hin and fill it half full. Use 180˚F water and infuse the 1st infusion for 2 minutes, 2nd infusion for 3 minutes, 3 rd infusion for 4-5 minutes and all subsequent infusions for 5-7 minutes.

Ingredients: Organic Fair Trade Certified™ yellow tea.
Origin: Yunnan, China.

About Rishi Tea View company

Rishi Tea specializes in sourcing the most rarefied teas and botanical ingredients from exotic origins around the globe. This forms a palette from which we craft original blends inspired by equal parts ancient herbal wisdom and modern culinary innovation. Discover new tastes and join us on our journey to leave ‘No Leaf Unturned’.

32 Tasting Notes

4843 tasting notes

I was absolutely shocked and amazed when I opened this month’s Steepster Select box (the box we receive in April is actually May’s box. Confusing, I know, but I’m sort of glad that they do it like this, because it makes me feel less pressured to get my reviews for all three teas done within the month’s time frame. Not that I have to do that. But, I like to. I guess I’m a little OCD when it comes to reviewing tea.

Anyway, as I said, I was absolutely shocked, amazed, astounded, delighted, overjoyed and excited to find Yellow tea in this month’s box! OMG! This one tea made up for the fact that there were teas that I was less than thrilled with in the past. I love yellow tea… it is my precious! MY precious!!!

And this is amazingly good. Sweet, fresh, and delicious. Sweet fruit notes, floral tones, crisp and refreshing, I just want to bathe in this stuff. I want to make myself super small, curl up in a ball, and plunge into my Yixing mug and never leave this tea.

A rating of 100 isn’t high enough for this tea.


hee – I want some! Did you get your June Steepster box?


Yes, I did. This is from May’s box, though.


So you like this then?


hmm. I’m till waiting on mine!


OK, let’s see whether this will make # 75 on Barb’s shopping list… is this a mail order only? I shall have to look at my local Snooty Grocery Store.


Dang, just missed. Only # 74.


No box for me I am afraid. Card box maybe. Anyhow, I have seen Rishi Teas but have yet to try them. If I recall they are organic blends, more medicinal incline I think. No yellow teas either. I must try to visit China town one day soon for some Jasmine and other yellows.

I like wording crisp and refreshing but don’t see ‘vegetal’ as descriptor. Even with floral tones it should still yield some vegetal, perhaps not.

I don’t know. good review I guess.

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911 tasting notes

Oh this smells good. Seriously seriously good. Thick and sweet and rich and nectar-y and a tiny tiny hint of green and floral but mostly rich, dark yum. The smell reminds me a lot of Samovar’s Downy Sprout. So yeah, I’m excited.

Oh this tastes good. Seriously good. No. Awesome. Sweet and rich with a hint of solid-ness underneath. Sort of… bake-y but not as strong as Thomas Sampson’s bake-y. Where as TS is biscotti and mistake brownies, this is soft, warmed dinner rolls. Slathered in a honey butter – but not really honey (which is good because I’m not a fan) but more of nectar. Nectar butter. Is there such a thing? Because yeah, that would be awesome. There’s also a hint of greenness to this – just a hint – which makes me think of Silver Needles. Except I haven’t had a SN that I liked – it just tasted like boiled soybean water. This however, is like smelling freshly steamed edamame. So similar taste but this one? Done the right way.

Yeah, really good. Love it. Sweet, rich, thick, delicious. Love.

2nd steep: 3 minutes – Sweet and lovely.
3rd steep: 4 minutes – A little light. Must try 5 minutes next time.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Just realized it is really a good idea to include tea/water ratio as you did in your notes! Only with tea/water ratio, temperature and infusion time make more sense to viewers!


Glad it isn’t intrusive. I decided to start including it so I can make sure I can exactly repeat any deliciousness (or avoid any nastiness) that may occur!


Yay! So yellow tea doesn’t taste like the abomination that is… YELLOW PEACH.

I’m relieved that it doesn’t!


This sounds so good…mmm, nectar butter :)

teaplz! Now I have to go find your post on Yellow Peach, haha :)


Shanti, you should find Auggy’s post. It’s even more hellish than mine. I’m still trying to be nice to my TG tea. :(


Aw, now I feel mean! I will say though, I’m trying to be a little stricter and more consistent with my ratings so I can use Steepster as my sole rating tracking. It’s hard. :(

But in my defense, Yellow Peach was mean to me first.


Oh no, by all means by MEAN. I’ve just been despondent about the quality of the tea, so I’ve been trying to polish it up and make it shine. You’re being real! And I loffish it. And yeah, Yellow Peach made me feel awful physically, so I don’t want any more of that.


The Silver Needles by Rishi Tea remind me of this description! Excellente!


Yay! Glad you enjoyed this one. It’s so damn nommy. Also, I really should start trying to include the teaspoon/oz thing on my reviews. But what I should really do is buy a freaking scale.


Haha same here takgoti, I just eyeball it, but hey it always tastes good :)


@ Auggy – Did you taste the honeysuckle? After you mentioned it, this one DOES remind me of Downy Sprout, which I love. Mmmm…I need to make a cup of this right now.
@ takgoti and TeaCast – I really need to buy a scale too. I’ve been putting it off because the cost of the scale could equal much more tea. Maybe one day…after I’m tired of eyeballing it. :)


It’s not 100% honeysuckle for me because it almost seems like a slightly darker nectar taste. Actually, it reminds me of the taste of the honeysuckle flowers that didn’t have the big drop of nectar but instead just a tiny hint of it – those always seemed to taste a little darker and not quite as sweet. So I suppose now that I think about it, yes! :)

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525 tasting notes

Oh my! This is good. The last yellow tea I had was medicre and I sort of wondered what the big deal was about. This tea though! Amazing! Thank you for sharing this precious tea with me Azzrian!

I think used too little leaf but it’s still wonderful! It has the fruity floral complexity of an oolong but the light freshness of a white. Love this! More leaves next time though!

4 min, 15 sec

I want to try it!


That tea looks & sounds Fan-Tas-Tic!


I totally recommend it!


I would offer you all some but its about gone unfortunately.


This has been on my shopping list for sooo long! Want!

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187 tasting notes

Backlogging from the weekend!

Okay, can we talk about how much my love for Rishi has shot up? Between this, Purple Bamboo, Ancient Emerald Lily, and their Silver Needle… yeah, Rishi has it going on. Their Golden Yunnan is delicious too. I think they’re joining the esteemed ranks of some of my favorite tea companies.

So, this one has been getting a lot of hype on Steepster from some of my absolute favorite posters, so I knew I needed to buy me some Yellow Buds! The only yellow tea I had previously didn’t go so well. It was that awful Yellow Peach put out by TeaGschwendner, and I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like yellow tea after tasting that.

Well, guess what, this one is amazing. Let’s start with the dry leaves before we get into the taste, though… The leaves are really gorgeous. It looks like a silver needle, but tinged with yellow. Same shape, same fuzziness, just… different color. And the aroma that’s coming off of them is a dusty sort of honey. Like a sunset.

Anyway, I really was intimidated by the amount of leaves this bad boy requires. Half a teapot worth! I didn’t really measure out the leaf. I poured. It looked to be around 2-3 tablespoons for 8 oz., but what do I know? It’s really fluffy and hard to judge. This one steeps up to a gorgeous pale, pale cream-yellow, and the smell coming off of the cup… I let out a little whimper. That’s how delicious this one smells. It’s wonderfully fragrant of honey-butter. Seriously.

And the taste? Man. It’s actually really light and subtle, but it’s a delicious honeyed flavor. Sort of like wildflower honey. There’s a tiny note of vegetal-floralness that’s awesome. And this melts into a flavor of apples! Peeled apples! There’s something specific to the taste. I kept thinking it was baked, but it’s not. And then it hit me. Almost like those dehydrated apple snacks that I absolutely love to eat.

I’m getting this yeasty sort of taste as well. Almost like fresh out of the oven little breads. I had these breads at Calle Ocho in NYC the other day for an engagement party. They were gently spiked with cheese, but they were pillowy with a crust that gave rather easily. Minus the cheese, the aftertaste is that bread. Oh. My God.

This one is compulsively drinkable to the nth degree. I finished my cup quite quickly, enjoying the savory sweetness that accompanied each and every sip.

The second steep (3:30, 180) didn’t go as well for me. It was still very sweet and apple-lite, but I was getting a stronger vegetal note than I would have liked. I haven’t tried a third steep yet, but I probably will.

But seriously, I’m sort of late to the party and echoing everyone’s sentiments, but this tea is awesome. Thank you Rishi, for another tea well done!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

this is on my list of teas to try. i really want to experience a yellow tea. nice review!


Hmm I’ll have to check out Rishi.. and this sounds delicious.


It’s really good, guys!

And Matt, I definitely recommend Rishi. I’ve had some misses (Jade FIre is very, very strange) and some upper-mediocre ones (like Orange Blossom and Citron Oolong, although they taste pretty yummy), but when they’re good, they’re really good!




I’ll be sure to check it out


Do you think this would work well with gaiwan steeping? I ended up bringing my gaiwan to Nashville this week, and the Sainted Lena just gave me a sample of this one… I don’t want to wait to try it! :)


wombatgirl, absolutely! I believe the Rishi website has guidelines for infusing this in a gaiwan! Look it up!


But did you like it? lol…j/k. This tea just rocks on all sorts of levels. Mmmm…honeysuckle.


This has been on my list since Takgoti pointed toward…someone else’s review of it…and now I can’t remember who they were. That is awful of me. But the whole ‘floral honey on fresh-baked bread’ thing was too much for me to ignore. I have way too much tea now, but this might’ve tipped the scales..


Lena, hahahaha, and it is very delicious. I’m just sad that I’m going to run out of it faster than normal because of the heavy leaf thing.

sophistre, could it have been O-Cha? I think it might have been… but this one is really good. The bread thing is really extremely subtle, and more in the aftertaste, but it’s definitely there if you concentrate. This one tastes dark and dusky and wonderful and if you buy some I can’t wait to read your review!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Has already been noted in the SL. But your review made me go there to note it. =)

Oh Cha!

I thought you’d like it. :]

The trick with Rishi… go for the pure teas. Blends are great, sure sure sure… but, Rishi really stands out when it comes to TRUE TEA. Just like their catch-line encourages.

Personal favourites: Organic Sencha (different from Sencha Superior), Kukicha, Dragon Well for a Chinese green, Silver Needle, Osthmanthus Silver Needle, Moonlight White, and Iron Goddess of Mercy.


Wheeee, thanks Oh Cha for the wonderful list of recommendations! I’ve tried the Silver Needle and it’s absolutely delicious. Seriously wonderful. I’m going to have to try the others when I make another big tea order! :)

Oh Cha!

Let me know how you like any of them if/when you try them!

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161 tasting notes

I mentioned in a past tasting note that this tea reminds me of tasting honeysuckle with my Grandfather. It’s a really great memory…one of the countless memories I have of him. I lost him this Saturday, so I’m drinking this tea and thinking of him.


Lena, I’m so sorry for your loss.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Sorry for your lose. Keep on drinking that wonderful tea.


So sorry to hear abut your Grandfather. Good tea can spark wonderful memories. Take care!


My condolences, hon. *hugs *

Angrboda hugs you*
My condolences for your loss. :(

Goodbyes are hard. Praying for you and your family.


Thanks everyone. The kinds words are most appreciated.


I’m so sorry for your loss – you and your family and friends are in my thoughts/prayers!

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260 tasting notes

Ever since I read this:, I have been obsessed with trying this tea. So, when I decided it was time to put another order through with Rishi, Ancient Yellow Buds was the first tea on my list.

Not gonna lie, it’s pretty amazing.

First things first, this tea brews clear [or very nearly so]. It doesn’t look like you’ve done anything. I was thrown by this a bit, but now you know, and knowing is half the battle. [Cue shooting star rainbow swipe thingy.]

I’m going to have to agree with LENA, in that I primarily get honeysuckle out of this. Lovely, concentrated, honey combined with that almost strained sweetness from cholorphyll and a nectar-like thickness honeysuckle. It also did this crazy wonderful thing for me where, once I had swallowed the tea, I could feel the lingering honeysuckle taste actually dissolving on my tongue. Physically felt it. Like cotton candy, that kind of sensation, except not sickly sweet. Or angel food cake. It was awesome.

But the thing that kicks this tea from “love it” to “I am going to throw down some serious hyperbole and expletives until you try this” is the fact that lightly, in the aftertaste, towards the back of my tongue, I get the taste of freshly baked white bread, sweet and yeasty. This is not obvious. I like to wait in between sips of my tea, and that’s probably why I noticed it.

I did three steeps of this at varying times [gauge reflects the first one, Rishi recommends 3 minutes and then 4-5 on second and third steeps, which is what I did]. I don’t really see any need to deviate from these times, but I might since I definitely have enough to experiment a bit. Speaking of which, I bought 4 ounces of it, which I’m very glad of now because I expect that I’ll be drinking a lot of it. Anyhow, if any of this sounds even remotely appealing to you I’d suggest that you get it.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

After a description like that how can it sound anything other than OMG!-I-Have-To-Get-It?


i read this and immediately got hungry for honey and bread haha


@Takgoti I definitely agree that yellow tea is great. I got some Mengding Mountain Snow Buds, Huang Ya from last years crop from Tea Trekker. The infusion is really clear and to me this version sort of tastes like it has a hint of sweet asparagus(sounds disgusting but it’s not.) I think that Rishi sets the steeping temperature a bit too high because Yellow Tea is more similar to Green Tea in nature, but maybe that’s why you tasted those honeysuckle and bread tastes.


@Carolyn I’m gonna send you some!

@TeaCast It’s good!

@Fred I prescribe to the school of thought that not all teas should necessarily be brewed the same even if they’re of the same “type” anyway. I think that slight differences in processing and whatnot can result in more delicate or more hardy teas and that a lot of it’s susceptible to personal preferences anyhow. That being said, I had zero issues with what Rishi put on the bag, but it won’t keep me from trying different things in future cups.


Nice review this sounds good.


@Takgoti You’re absolutely right about the fact that certain teas can take a higher temperature. I agree with you on that one. What’s amazing and why I like tea so much is that all the differences in flavor lie with the skill of tea master who processes the tea. It is pretty amazing you can take the same leaf and get 100’s of different flavors just by processing it differently. I also deviate from directions sometimes. An example of this is I will start at steeping something that says a few short steepings at 3 minutes for first steeping 5 for second and 7 or 8 for third steeping.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I’ve never had a yellow tea before but this sounds absolutely yummy.


@takgoti Yay! Thank you!


NOM NOM NOM. Ugh, this and Purple Bamboo will be part of a super-future Rishi order! And I seriously mean super-future, since the tea is about to burst out of my house and start its own website.


@teaplz, I completely agree! But unfortuantely Den’s Tea is being way too nice and giving away Lucky Gold Tea w/ a purchase of $30 or more. The one tea I really do need more of is, in spite of my already MASSIVE collection, matcha. I’m almost down to only having mandarin matcha left and I want to break that up w/ unflavored. So that’ll put me at $24… and I really want that Lucky Gold tea so now I have to spend another $6! Too bad… hehe;)


Haha, my $3 coupon from Den is going to go to waste. I definitely do not need more tea for a while and it expires in January.


Ricky, I don’t need any more (well except matcha) either lol, but come on how many times to you get a chance to try gold plated tea? So since I’m already putting in an order, I might as well put one item into my cart:)


I’ve been holding off on finishing my last three packs of matcha as well. I don’t want it to all go away already. Argh when I thought I was finally making process and clearing the cupboard I received a whole bunch of tea.


Depriving yourself of matcha is just wrong:) So order some matcha and something else to make at least $30 then indulge in Lucky Gold Tea!=D


This review borders on the obscene. I feel like it should have been tagged NSFW. I mean…sure, yes, alright, with my wisdom teeth out there was probably some risk of me drooling on myself already anyway, but this is just over the top.

Honey and freshly baked bread? Really?

I would be feeling sort of scandalized if I weren’t so interested.


@Teaplz I just ordered 1/4 lb of Lu Shan Clouds & Mist
Spring 2009, 1/4 lb of Sweet Dew Gan Lu 2009 Pre-Qing Ming, and samples of Mengding Mountain Rock Essence 2009 Pre-Qing Ming and Everest Hand-Rolled Tips Spring 2009 organic plus a 50.7 ounce glass teapot from My wife didn’t want me to order it because she says I have too much tea and need to use what I have already. I told her if she can buy clothes I can buy tea:-). My tea drawer is overflowing lol.


@teaplz I was gonna try and come up with some kinda clever www for your tea, but I am full of food and too complacent and full for cleverness at the moment.

@sophistre Aw, sorry. Maybe I should have topped it with a little NC-17 or somethin’. It’s really very ridiculously nommy.


As someone who bakes bread for a living, this is obviously a must for me. I’m enjoying the yerba mate I’m drinking to wake up right now, and I was totally fine with it (and with having not yet eaten breakfast) until I read this! I’m trying to clear out some room in my tea stash, too, before I even think about getting any more tea. There are little odds and ends of things need drinking, and some of it’s far too old, so I’d never even consider adding it to the TTB. Therefore, it must be drunk…but WHY then do things like this have to tempt me? WHY?!?! weeps and gnashes teeth

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411 tasting notes

Oh, I get it now.


I finally got to try this tea with the proper amount of tea to water (i.e a heck of a lot of tea to not much water) and the right temperature of water and I get the flavors others are talking about.

The floral and fruit overtones. The not really buttery but the feeling that if it got a little closer to a cow, we’d be in sweet cream territory flavor.

I like this, I like this a lot. Thank you so much Lena!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I LOVE this tea. If I could afford it, I’d drink yellow tea every day, several times a day. A good, buttery Oolong is pretty close to it though… so I have Oolong every day, and Yellow Tea when I want a special treat.


Ah yellow tea, someday our paths shall cross and I will “get it” too. But until then I shall fall deeper in love with oolongs. :)

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

lol @ “the feeling that if it got a little closer to a cow, we’d be in sweet cream territory flavor”. Great and original metaphor!

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84 tasting notes


This… is the… BEST… unflavoured… unsweetened… tea I have ever experienced.
That’s right… I did not just taste it… I EXPERIENCED it.

Have you ever spread fresh honey from the farmer’s market onto freshly baked, still warm, French bread?
You’re salivating right? Good. That is the aroma of this tea. The aroma matches the taste. It’s glorious.

This is the very first yellow tea I have ever had… and I do believe it may become my new obsession, if any others even slightly compare to this.

I saw that Rishi has one other yellow tea right now, called Yellow Sprout. It’s next up on my “to-do” list. As for the Yellow Buds… I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM.


Well. If the prospect of trying this tea won’t give me motivation to get rid of this cold, I don’t know what else will.


I am now adding this to my “to buy” list. I want an experience tooooo! :) Sounds delish!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I’ve never had a yellow tea either. But I’d like to try one now.


Yellow tea is pretty much amazing.:)


Fava Tea Co. has 2 yellows. I wonder if they’re Rishi.


I need to try this! I’m usually a black/flavored black drinker and I’m trying to find some lighter teas for the evening (and to educate myself). This sounds perfect.

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6079 tasting notes

Another sample from LiberTEAS! Still have tons to get through, but this will be the last for today (or at least until I’m back from work).

This one brewed up to be the lightest colour I think I have ever seen with any tea! Just barely a hint of a beigey colour in the cup. As the tea has sat a bit, the colour has deepened somewhat, however.

The flavour is very, very mild here. I can definitely taste sweetness and the tea has an absolutely wonderful, smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel. If I try a bit harder, I can taste a light “tea” flavour amongst the sweetness. This one’s definitely quite pleasant, but seems to unfortunately fall into the category of teas that are a bit too delicate for my liking! (And then, I read the reviews…)

Ok! I think part of my problem here may have been underleafing my cup; I used maybe 1.5tsp of the rather fluffy leaf for my 8 oz. cup, but I think that may not have been enough. Luckily, I can try this one again :D Another potential problem is not drinking this tea on a fresh palate, so next time I should do that instead of drinking a strong matcha and black tea immediately prior (my bad!)

Thanks LiberTEAS!

(Oh man… I think that large cheesecake matcha is catching up to me… stomach not feeling so well anymore…)

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Oh noes! I was wondering how that was going for you…


Yeeeah, whoops! Ah well, I seem to be fine now :D Got a bit jittery and had an upset stomach for a while though.

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174 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday.

I’m afraid I’m going to be doing quite a bit of backlogging since I’ve been off of here for a little. It’s getting to be the end of the semester so all the professors simultaneously decided to give out all the work at the same time. But I only have one last assignment left until finals…thank goodness!

As for this tea, I never had this before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I opened the package and saw what looked like Silver Needles, took a sniff…Silver Needles but not quite. I went over and grabbed my tin of Silver Needles to compare, no, these were different, slightly different color and smell.

The liquor was so clear I was starting to think I had done something wrong. I waited for it to cool and took a sip, no I don’t believe I did a thing wrong with it. It tasted lovely. I was a mix of the light crispness of Silver Needles with not quite honey notes, more like nectar. The description said honeysuckle, I grew up with honeysuckle but this was not what I was expecting. I was expecting the floral qualities, instead I got the nectar qualities of honeysuckle and it was divine. Delicious tea!


someday I will try this one!


Me too Amy oh me too! :)


Your description sounds very similar to what I experienced with H&S’ Yellow Buds, in that they look, smell, and even taste somewhat like Silver Needles, but with a few minor differences; I liked the Yellow Buds better than Silver Needles.

Invader Zim

I don’t have to label most of my teas if/when I transfer them to a tin or jar to be able to tell the difference, but this is one of them that I should because just looking and smelling it easily throws me off if I’m not paying attention.

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