Yunnan Golden Strand (Spring 2011) from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Description:

The most delicate combined with the robust; a skilled harvest of just the tips of the tea plant, exposed to the outside world for one day, then processed as black tea. Features characteristic earthy tones of Dian Hong, yet yields an incredibly soft, sweet cup. Notes of grape, slight pepper, and olive.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Impressive!

I do love a good Yunnan, and when its a golden Yunnan, I love it even more.  This is really very good – surprisingly sweet!  Yes, other Yunnan teas have been sweet, but, I don’t think I’ve found one that is quite like this.  It has notes of caramel, sweet cocoa and grape that seem to intertwine to create a sweet taste that is very palate pleasing.

And of course, there are the hints of spice, but, here, the peppery notes are quite subtle, lying beneath all that yummy sweetness.  There is just enough peppery taste (and aroma!) to put a little vigor into the sip, and it offers a nice transition from the initial sweetness to the more savory tone that the sip takes as it moves toward the tail.

This savory note reminds me a bit of artisan bread.  You know the specialty bread that you can find in bakeries with olives baked right into the bread?  That’s what this tea seems to evoke.  It has a deep, bread-y, bake-y kind of taste to it, like freshly baked bread, and then there is a smooth, rich flavor that is quite similar to the taste of olives!  These flavors offer a really delicious contrast to the sweetness at the start of the sip.

What I’m liking most about this cup is that through it all, from the start of the sip where it is sweet and sumptuous, to mid-sip where I notice a slight prickle of pepper, on to the savory qualities of the tea, I notice absolutely no bitterness, and very, very little astringency.  This is a black tea for those who sometimes avoid black teas for the bitterness and astringency.  It is so smooth and yes, even decadent, that you may just change your mind about black tea!

I love Yunnan, so I’m not surprised that I love this one too, but, what does surprise me is just how good this Yunnan is.  It’s a standout, because it’s better than most Yunnan teas that I’ve tried!

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