Nine Dragon Golden Needle Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by teatoad
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 16 oz / 473 ml

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25 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Thank you Jason for this tea sample! Yesterday I Oolanged about. That languid frame of mind I have about Oolongs. There has to be some peace and quiet when I sip them. Black tea on the other hand...” Read full tasting note
  • “So… my 8 month old daughter had me up until about… ah i don’t know, FIVE am… kinda sucks but a rather great time to enjoy a warm cup of tea. i always reach for my nine dragon golden needles when i...” Read full tasting note
  • “Many thanks to Autumn Hearth for her incredibly generous samples of this and so many other teas! I cannot wait to sink my fangs into the box :) I started my day with this tea. I figured, as it’s...” Read full tasting note
  • “After visiting the dentist yesterday, I started bleaching my choppers last night. If I had known in advance that this process requires a temporary halt to tea drinking (two weeks! – yeah, right,...” Read full tasting note

From Teavana

Long, slender leaves are twisted to form a delightful blend of gold and black which brews into a deep golden cup. This delicate black tea is grown in the Yunnan Province, known as the birthplace of tea. Smooth tasting with rich honey and cocoa notes, this classic black tea is composed of one leaf and one bud pairings.

Use 1 teaspoon of tea per 8oz of water. Heat water to 195-205 degrees (just before boiling) and steep tea for 2 minutes, 3 minutes at most. For stronger flavor use more leaves. 2oz of tea equals 25-30 teaspoons.

About Teavana View company

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25 Tasting Notes

676 tasting notes

Thank you Jason for this tea sample!

Yesterday I Oolanged about. That languid frame of mind I have about Oolongs. There has to be some peace and quiet when I sip them.

Black tea on the other hand is best in the morning when I have things to accomplish! No need to settle my spirit first. A good black tea is like my favorite jeans.(Ok, some are truly elegent. And Exeptional!)

Jason has read enough of my reviews that we connected on the mutual enjoyment of Black Tea. When we did a recent sample swap (easier to do when you live in the same State) I was delighted that he remembered to include some favorites including this tea.

Bonnie likes her Black Tea Strong! I doubled the recommended steep time of 2 minutes to 4 minutes (hee hee) which was PERFECT for my taste!
No astringency whatever. The beautiful dark golden brown liquor was
like velvet in my mouth, smooth but rich. The taste bright and young with an orange pekoe flavor and soft malt. There was no smoky flavor.

I drank one cup and refilled my mug again…now I was discovering a honey, warm homemade bread taste with a vanilla cream finish. Sigh.

I sat still when my 3 mugs of tea were gone. I was satisfied and full. The flavor was not only lingering but tingling on my tongue…prickly little nettles…reminding me like a tiny tempting voice that I could resteep and drink again.

I could do that. I want to drink more of this tea to begin my day but… I have to set up a Hooka Bar date with my 18 year old granddaughter Schey ( she wants to go with me…) and tomorrow the 16 year old Megan wants to go to A Taste of Fort Collins downtown, and my Rav4 is up for sale, and I have to learn how to ride the bus (ugh), and review more tea!

But, I think I have some time for another cup of THIS tea! Thanks Jason!


Bonnie you can come to our place for hookah! We have 10 of them LOL and plenty of shisha! :)


10?! Wow! We have a hookah bar close by with lots of flavors and a happy hour! Cool my 18 year old granddaughter likes hanging out with me. We went on an Alaskan cruise in September. The others are the same way. Why. 10?


Well said and well deserved! It’s a bit of a comfort cup that may not take you on fantastical journeys but warms the heart. Sometimes that’s just the thing you need to get the day going ;)


Very true! A feet squarely on the ground tea! My heart is always warm :)

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61 tasting notes

So… my 8 month old daughter had me up until about… ah i don’t know, FIVE am… kinda sucks but a rather great time to enjoy a warm cup of tea. i always reach for my nine dragon golden needles when i need to cal my nerves. However, as of lately i am almost afraid to drink anymore of it. I got on the teavana website to order more and, much to my surprise, ITS NOT ON THE WEBSITE ANYMORE… terror ran through every inch of me. So without further ado the question of the night: Does: A. anyone know if the nine dragon golden needles is discontinued? and B. Does anyone know of a fair replacement for it if, indeed, it is at an end. i don’t like to think this way however i don’t see much of a choice. As well, i am thinking about venturing out. as of thus far, i have only enjoyed teas that can be purchased as you local Wal-mart/ kroger and from my Simi-local Teavana. I was curious upon Adagio and there array of teas…any suggestions? thanks all.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Not positive, but it seems to be discontinued (see other tasting notes). I don’t feel qualified to make recommendations, but look around for Yunnan teas (golden, gold?). Don’t know how Adagio’s Yunnans stack up, so maybe read reviews for choices. Check out Upton Tea Imports also. I’ve had good luck with their flavored teas (so far). I’m a beginner too though : )

Steven Cook

Hey, Thanks so much! its an odd thing, my brain is still rapt around this idea that tea is mysterious and hard to understand. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that, ironic though it may be, that it isn;t so hard to understand but it requires a sense of valid logic. It’s all fairly new to me and thats why i joined this website, because i want to learn more and the best way to do that is to do that is to spend time and talk to the people that spend there time and money enjoying this wonderful little leaf. So again i say thank you .

The DJBooth

Based on the description of the tea I would suggest the Bai Lin Gongfu from Teavivre.


I support the Bai Lin suggestion, but I will always support a recommendation of Fujian black. :D If you try the Bai Lin and find you like it, also have a go at a Panyang (or Tan Yang), also a Fujian tea and my all-time favourite tea in the world. I get mine from TeaSpring. You could also try the Laoshan Northern Black (I think that’s the name) that Verdant Tea sells. You might enjoy that one as well.
Definitely explore Yunnans though. Cheryl made some good suggestions up there because they have huge selections so it’s a good place to start exploring, and like she says, try to look up some of them here first and see if other people have posted about it and how they describe it.

Steven Cook

Ok wonderfriends… got another noobie question for ya. i started a teavivre account and it says i have reward point…. how do you use them and how many do you need?


Pass. I haven’t tried shopping with Teavivre yet. I would think it ought to say on the site, though.

The DJBooth

sorry man I’m clueless on this as well.


See mail I sent you. Angel from Teavivre is active on Steepster (I see many people thanking her for sending them samples). She could answer your questions, or perhaps ask about sampling?


Each 100 points is worth a dollar off your order! You also sometimes get points after you buy tea if you review your tea on their site. Purchases of tea also garner you some points. There is almost always a tea coupon code. I recently used teavivre10 and it worked. You can always google for those and then give them a try.

Kaety Keckhafer

It IS sadly discontinued, but if you can get to a Teavana store, they may have some left over from the after Christmas sale. I know the store I work in still has a couple of tins full of it and they’re like 75% off. As a replacement if you’re used to using Teavana, Copper Knot Hongcha is one of my favorites with the same honey undertone. :)


Also, you can get 2oz of Golden Needle along with a few others and other neat stuff in their Into Tea collection. I got mine half off, but even full priced it’s a great deal! I love all of teas and the little tins are great for keeping at the office or in your purse if you’re on the go like me. And it comes with two fabulous tea tumblers!

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323 tasting notes

Many thanks to Autumn Hearth for her incredibly generous samples of this and so many other teas! I cannot wait to sink my fangs into the box :)

I started my day with this tea. I figured, as it’s not your typical breakfast blend, and it’s a Chinese instead of an Indian black, I’d be okay with it in the morning and drinking it without milk or sugar. I was more or less right. It got a bit heavy towards the end of the mug as it cooled, but I didn’t really have time to focus on steeping it perfectly.

Parameters: ~2tsp/12oz, 180 F, ~3min.

These are the notes I took in class:

Smell: Wheaty, with whiffs of dark chocolate, like the chocolate bread at the bakery I used to go to after ballet class. I never really liked that chocolate bread (I much preferred sticky buns!) but my sister got it fairly often.

Leaves: Long, dark and twisty, with streaks of gold running through the space.

Liquor: golden-brown, kind of a chestnut color.

Taste: There is a definite taste of salt here, something I’ve never really experienced in a tea before. It’s predominant at the beginning of the sip, but I didn’t always get it. It’s wheaty, as expected. Kind of dark and heavy. A little bit of astringency, especially as it cooled, but not a whole lot. There’s some sort of dark berry here too, maybe currant or raisin? It’s not a juicy, fruity tea, but there’s something there.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Tawny Kira

I’ve found that I like a little saltiness in tea (and other not typically salty things, like caramel/chocolate) as it helps bring out the other flavors more. I think I may have to try this one just for that bit of saltiness :)

Autumn Hearth

Hehe fangs!

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262 tasting notes

After visiting the dentist yesterday, I started bleaching my choppers last night. If I had known in advance that this process requires a temporary halt to tea drinking (two weeks! – yeah, right, like that is gonna happen!), I would have postponed the bleaching indefinitely. The rebel in me was not about to let the dentist’s sadistic demands prevent me from trying this Teavana tea. Necessi-tea is the mother of invention, so today’s tasting note comes to you while I suck this Nine Dragon Golden Needle tea through a straw.

I steeped this tea at 195 degrees for three minutes. A nice nutty aroma emerged while brewing. The color was a bright amber.

The flavor of this tea (even through a straw) is nutty and woodsy. The taste also has the underlying earthy characteristics that I’ve begun to recognize in other Chinese teas from the Yunnan Province. I haven’t encountered any bitterness. In addition, there is a slight sweet honey quality to the flavor.

I wouldn’t call this a strong blend. There is plenty of steady flavor, though, to never question its identity as a solid black tea.

This is an enjoyable black tea. I’m looking forward to experiencing it again. I know it will be even better without a plastic tube middle man between the cup and my lips.

NOTE (Addendum): This marks my 50th (golden?) Tasting Note since I joined Steepsters in August of 2011! I’m ready to celebrate! Break out the party tea! Pass me another straw!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I’ve had people (not dentists) admonish me before for drinking black tea as it will stain my teeth, apparently. Luckily I don’t care!


Yes. I hear that all the time too. However, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. ;-) Thanks for checking in!


Hahaha….Happy 50th!! Pass another straw….hahaha! I’ve noticed my teeth are not as white as they used to be as well. Thanks in good measure to my tea drinking, no doubt. Sounds like a great tea, and you should celebrate. :)) Why not with your favorite tea??…Or a new tea?!


Thanks, Scott! I may have to order a new tea for this special occasion!


Congrats on the 50th!!!!!!!


Thanks, Ninavampi! I didn’t think I knew that many words! :-)


Very funny! Good laugh!

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300 tasting notes

Cold brewed this for the husband today, 6 heaping teaspoons (bit difficult with the long needles) in 6 cups of water for 6 hours. Husband though it was a tad mild, I thought it was lovely. I let the remaining 2 cups of liquid sit in the leaves in the fridge and lo it got stronger and more delicious! Excellent honey notes. So I’d say a touch more leaf and time and we’ll be golden. Now back to my regularly scheduled yabao.

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303 tasting notes

This is tea #3 from the selection of four I first talked about in this post:

I’ve had various golden needle teas before, but I’ve never brewed them myself. The long, spiky leaves aren’t really ideal for a one-cup infuser, but it worked out. I was struck by a brief wave of OCD desire to steep them vertically, but I managed to control myself.

Dry, this tea is very much a noseful of hay. Not dry, dead, hay, though, but grassy, sweet and springy. In the cup, it’s a very nice, smooth, elegant black. This is the kind of tea I’d keep at home, if I wanted to have a good basic black tea around – not overly characteristic, but with more sophistication and appeal than the average bag of leaves.

But, as it happens, I don’t feel much of a need to keep a good basic black around. I want more complexity and more surprises. I’ve finished the cup, and it was definitely nice and smooth – yes. I can see myself finishing the roughly 2 oz. I have left, potentially in a breakfast situation – yes. But it doesn’t really excite me, and there are many teas I would pick over it. My lower rating, in other words, has to do with my own preferences and not so much with the quality of the tea itself.

[Purchased/gifted at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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6 tasting notes

This tea was on clearance at Teavana and the only way I could buy it was half a pound already in a tin. I was really nervous about buying that much of it as I normally drink flavored teas. But all my family loves tea, so I was planning on sharing.

This tea is AMAZING!!

It’s very mellow for a black tea, and very smooth. It doesn’t kick you in the face like some black teas. It has a light, nutty flavor and if you inhale through your mouth after taking a sip, you taste the natural sweetness. I shared about a quarter of the tin with my family, but the rest is ALL MINE!!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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172 tasting notes

This is the reason why i started drinking tea. This is just simple straight black tea. I do not know what else to say.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 15 sec

I agree with you 100%! I love this tea!!

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226 tasting notes

Backlog from yesterday. I decided to go with this one in the morning, because I wasn’t feeling very adventurous (took a small break from the traveling tea box, but I’m just about through trying everything I wanted to try from it, and I can’t ship it until Saturday anyway, because I’m not at home, so I don’t really feel any rush about it). My little girl was awake for a lot of last night, which put me in a pretty bad funk. I am not fun to be around when I haven’t gotten the sleep I need. So this tea was a nice little cup of “hey, it’s a new day, take a deep breath, and carry on.”

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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3 tasting notes

I have to admit, I was TERRIFIED to try this. I got into loose-leaf tea through blends, and all I remember of straight black tea is a little lipton bag steeped with waaaaaay too much sugar, that I muscled through at my grandmother’s kitchen table when I was little because I DESPERATELY wanted to be a big kid. So, I held off on trying it… In a fit of bravery, I grabbed the bag and opened it up.
My first impression- “Wow. Hay.” Seriously. All I could smell was hay, with an underlying sweetness. Brewed, it smells a bit like hay, and a bit like wheat bread. A bit intimidating for someone who tends to fruity or spicy teas. Still, I wasn’t going to waste the leaves, and took a sip. I am so glad I did. This tea tastes a bit like honey, maybe with a caramel-y note to it? (my palate is so not refined.) Granted, I did sweeten it with rock sugar, because I am still a bit of a sugar fiend and take everything with a bit of sweetener.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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