It simply says, “Finely plucked, small lot black tea” on the tin, so there are no tasting notes for me to consider or compare. Rats. But in the mention of Yunnan tea in the New Tea Lover’s Treasury it specifically mentions the gold variety of this tea: “…the craving for it may recur throughout the day, more especially if one has discovered that blondest and most beautiful of teas well-named Yunnan Gold.” (Pratt, 136)
Well. That certainly sets some high expectations.
The tea leaves are beautiful, as you can kind of tell in the photo. They are large and fluffy and golden. When brewed you can see the whole leaf. The lightly floral scent is present again, as it was with the last post, the Yunnan Fancy. There’s a malty scent here as well. In the cup the tea is a golden, red-brown. The flavor is a little floral and sweet, but just slightly –and not like a sugary-sweet–and smooth. The scent in the cup is slightly grainy and malty, which comes through in the flavor of the tea as well, with the grain as an aftertaste.
This may sound crazy, but I think I prefer the Yunnan Fancy over the Yunnan Gold Leaf. The Yunnan Gold Leaf is good, but it doesn’t knock my socks off the way the Yunnan Fancy did. So this tea did not live up to its high expectations, but it is not a bad one. It’s interesting to note that my tastes have not changed much over time. This tin was nearly full, and as I mentioned in the last post, when I opened the tin of Yunnan Fancy it was half empty. Or half full, depending on how you look at things. But that usually gives me an indication of what I thought about the tea the first time around.
So we will continue our journey through China with the next couple posts or so. I have a couple more China black teas–then we will back track to India because I just received some samples in the mail of four India black teas. Samples! I love the idea of samples because I can taste a variety of teas rather than committing to a tin full that I’m not crazy about. This way I’m not out much money either, which is definitely something to write home about.
The Yunnan Gold Leaf is no longer available at Peet’s, but I’ve included a link to their Rare Teas page. The Imperial Red sounds interesting, no?