This was one of my sipdowns from the last week of October. I think this was also the last of the spring 2018 golden needle black teas that I had in my cupboard. Of the bunch, it was the least appealing, but it was still a more or less very good tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of malt, cinnamon, chocolate, baked bread, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and smoke. The first infusion saw no change to the tea’s bouquet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, cream, butter, cooked green beans, and sweet potato that were balanced by hints of smoke, cinnamon, baked bread, chocolate, and sugarcane. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out additional aromas of cooked green beans, orange zest, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately discernible impressions of baked bread, chocolate, and sugarcane made themselves known in the mouth alongside notes of banana, caramel, roasted almond, earth, orange zest, roasted walnut, minerals, and cooked peas. There were also hints of marshmallow, raisin, and fig lurking in the background of each sip and swallow. As the tea shifted and faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, cream, earth, roasted peanut, roasted almond, and sweet potato that were chased by fleeting hints of cooked green beans, caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, raisin, roasted walnut, lemon zest, and sugarcane.
Overall, I found this to be a rock solid and very likable tea, though compared to the previous Yunnan golden needle black teas produced in the spring of 2018 that I had tried, this tea struck me as being a bit generic. It offered pretty much everything you would expect a Yunnan Assamica golden needle black tea to offer, and it did a very good job of that, but that’s really all this tea did. I’m glad I tried it, and I could see it working out great as a daily drinker or as an introduction to Yunnan golden needle black teas, but it didn’t compare all that favorably to some of Yunnan Sourcing’s similar offerings from the same year. I certainly would not reach for this tea over something like their Imperial Gold Needle Yunnan Black Tea.
Flavors: Almond, banana, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Fig, Green Beans, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peas, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut