TangYang GongFu Black Tea from Tao Tea Leaf

Tang_Yang_Gong_FuTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tao Tea Leaf

Tea Description:

Well known throughout the world, TangYang GongFu is a fully oxidized black tea from the Fujian province of China. The tea was created in the year 1371 during the dawn of the Ming Dynasty. This tea has a thick and heavy body and tastes bold and slightly sweet.  The brew is a perfect balance between the bitterness,  sweet, honey and fruit like flavors.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I may be ruffling some feathers of you Chinese black tea lovers out there, but I just want to put my honest opinions out in the open. Fujian Province makes the best black teas. Hands down. My favorite black tea of all time is Jin Jun Mei, (also known as Beautiful Golden Eyebrow) which is also from Fujian. Must be something in the water. Or the dirt. Or the air. Yup. It’s gotta be the dirt. Just looking at this dark chocolaty brown leaf of this tea is making me thirsty. I love seeing the little golden fuzzy twirls hiding out within, that coy, delicate bud just waiting to hit me over the head with its rich deliciousness.

Of course, I whipped out my trusty porcelain gaiwan and got down to it. I just had to gongfu brew this tea. I mean, it even has the word in it’s name!  I used 3g of slender, lightly twisted,  leaf in my 100ml gaiwan. I gave it a quick rinse for about 3 seconds before beginning. Even the rinse had already become a deep, rustic brown. I knew I was in for a treat.

The tea was gracious enough to brew up all of it’s goodness slowly, letting me enjoy every last drop to it’s fullest. The soup was thick and broth, and a brilliant red. The taste was heavy in my mouth, and the flavors lasted long after each sip. I got no astringency whatsoever, it was so even and smooth. The aroma is similar to fresh baked whole wheat bread, with perhaps some dried fruit snuck inside. Upon further inspection, I detect creamed honey and thick malt coating my throat. It still retains that bread quality without becoming toast. This would make for an excellent breakfast tea!

Organic Golden Needle from Rishi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rishi Tea

Product Description:

Our best black tea is composed of pure buds that are hand harvested from Yunnan’s antique tea trees. Delicate processing and even fermentation present a lovely leaf style that yields a smooth, sugary flavor with nuances of baked sweet yams and raisins.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Looking back at the last few reviews that I’ve composed of teas from Rishi Tea, several of them have been “Golden” type black teas.  And I must say that Rishi has a really good selection of golden tea leaves to choose from.  But of all of those that I’ve tried thus far, this one has to be the most golden … that is … every leaf in this pouch appears to be gold in color.  Beautiful!

And what a lovely flavor these Golden Needles produce.  The body is lighter and crisper than a typical Yunnan tea, with a sweet flavor that is quite like raw sugar in flavor.  I also do taste the sweet potato and raisin flavor as mentioned in the description from the Rishi Tea website (as provided above).

It also possesses flavor characteristics that I’ve come to expect from a Yunnan tea:  a spiced undertone that is somewhat peppery and a hint of malt. It has a very warming quality to the flavor as well, making it a very welcome tea to enjoy on this chilly, late-autumn afternoon.

I prefer this served hot as the flavor profile seems more fit for a hot tea than an iced tea.  That’s not to say it wouldn’t make a nice iced tea, but I find that some of the nuances become lost in this tea as it cools, so for best enjoyment of all this tea has to offer, I suggest sipping it whilst it is hot.  It needs no sweetener of any kind, as it has a very satisfying sweetness to it without additions.

A very pleasing cup!

Yunnan Golden Buds from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Product Description:

Three years ago, we found an incredible Golden Buds tea from Yunnan during a research trip.  Since starting to import teas, we have been looking for another crop that would live up to our memories, and we finally found it.  The first steeping is sweet and rich like honey candy melting in the mouth.  The body is full, with the substantive creamy texture chocolate milk.  The second steeping is where the tea really starts to shine, with the honey sweetness moving quickly towards that lingering natural sweetness of cinnamon tea, boiled from Vietnamese cinnamon bark and reduced for hours.  This cinnamon sweetness combines with the creamy quality to create a full and satisfying black tea experience subtle enough for even a white tea enthusiast to enjoy.  Late in steeping, the particular floral creamy texture of a good Tieguanyin oolong comes through.  Try this one as the perfect after-dinner tea, or steep it up for hours in a gaiwan and watch it change.

Taster’s Review:

These leaves are gorgeously golden!

I steeped this tea in my Breville One-Touch and after steeping, I generally remove the lid so that I can remove the basket before I pour.  The aroma that emerged as I removed the lid was incredible.  It smelled just like honey.  I was not prepared for just how deliciously fragrant this tea would be.

I fully intend on taking advantage of the multiple infusions that the above description promises, so, I hope you’ll stay with me as I write about each one …

The first infusion is very much as the description suggests, it tastes very much like honey.  There are hints of a smoky-spicy background that are hiding behind the abundant honey flavor.  However, these intriguing notes seem to peek out every once in a while just to remind me that they are there, and entice me to continue to sip so that I can move on to the next infusion … and hopefully experience them a little more.  This first infusion is (obviously) sweet and incredibly smooth in both taste and texture.  Pleasantly rich and invigorating.

With the second infusion, the honey flavor is not quite as strong but it is still there.  While it is still piping hot, the honey tone is the flavor I notice first, but it tapers off almost immediately and becomes more of a hint of sweetness rather than a strong presence.  The cinnamon tones mentioned in the description are certainly there, although I can’t say that I’ve ever tasted the Viennese Cinnamon Bark tea before.

As this second infusion cools slightly, more of the honey tones emerge, but still not quite as strong as with the first infusion.  It has a deep, wood-like taste to it, not so much smoky, I think I’d describe it more as rustically masculine.  Rugged.  The texture is a little thinner, and I’m noticing a bit more astringency than I did with the first infusion.

With my third (and final) infusion, I noticed a smoother, mellower tea.  Undercurrents of honey-esque tones, with a savory spiced tone in the foreground.  Less of the wood-like flavor that I noticed so distinctly in the second infusion.  Interestingly enough, though, the texture feels much more like the first infusion than the second – rich and smooth, with a soft mouthfeel.  Less astringency with this infusion, too.

I really enjoyed my journey with this tea.  A beautiful tea to enjoy on this beautiful afternoon.

Golden Yunnan from Rishi Tea

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Rishi

Product Description:

This certified organic black tea is harvested from Yunnan’s ancient tea trees. Its deeply flavored infusion has notes of peppery spice, chocolate, sweet raisin, and a malty finish. Golden Yunnan has expertly fermented, even graded leaves and big, golden buds. Its wonderfully full-flavored and rich body is a treat for black tea lovers.

Tasters Review:

This is a great cup to start your day with whether it be the work day or a weekend wake-up!  It’s Robust and malty yet sweet and almost caramelly.  I can pick out the raisin comparison they mentioned in the description but not-so-much the chocolate they speak of but that’s ok because I like the taste I am tasting!  The spicy-peppery notes really work here!  The primary flavor is a strong black tea and I LOVE that!