Golden Monkey from White August Tea Company

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: White August Tea Company

Product Description:

This stunning Chinese black tea is among the finest in the world. Each spring the tea leaves are carefully plucked of only one leaf and one bud, resembling a monkey claw. The beautiful twisted golden leaves yield a full bodied tea with a soft apricot finish. 50g bag only.

Tasters Review:

This is a mighty fine Golden Monkey! It didn’t disappoint!  This has the flavor you would expect from a Golden Monkey as well as a semi-chewy with the slightest bit of smoke hint that lingers on to the aftertaste!

Plain, Simple, and Straight to the point…I haven’t found a tea from White August Tea Company that I haven’t liked!  What a great tea from a great company!

Golden Bi Luo from Chicago Tea Garden

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Chicago Tea Garden

Product Description:

Other Names: Hong Bi Luo, Yunnan Bi Luo

Origin: China, Yunnan Province

Harvest: Spring 2010

Taste: Creamy with sweet, malty notes of vanilla.

Behind the Leaf: David Lee Hoffman has been traveling to China for over 20 years. His work has led to vast improvements in the quality of tea available to the West. David is especially proud of this tea. Golden Bi Luo is a high-grade black tea made in Yunnan Province in the style of Jiangsu Province’s Green Bi Luo Chun. The name means “snail spring” — “spring” because this tea is harvested in the spring and “snail” because the two leaves and down-covered tips are carefully rolled into tight spirals that slowly unfurl to release more flavor during steeping. The spirals are formed in a heated wok, using three different hand movements. This tea is a master at producing multiple infusions: you can easily get eight infusions from one serving of this tea. Golden Bi Luo is a great reintroduction to loose black tea. Whether you are looking for an alternative to coffee or are just getting started with loose leaf and are ready to ditch your tea bags, Golden Bi Luo is a wonderful choice for an everyday tea.

Taster’s Review:

Are you looking for a truly DIFFERENT black tea?  You need look no further than this amazing Golden Bi Luo from Chicago Tea Garden.  This tea has such an intriguing flavor – it keeps me sipping!

This tea has a very nice malty quality to it.  There is a baked biscuit-y flavor to it which gives it real substance.  This is a hefty tea!

About mid-sip, I taste a hint of vanilla (as the above description suggests) – it is a very heavy, heady kind of vanilla taste that when brought together with the malty note it creates a wonderful experience for the palate.  Sweet, almost creamy, and thick!  Yes … thick!  There is also a background note of bitter that provides an excellent contrast to the sweetness of this cup.  The cleansing astringency in the finish prepares the palate for another sip.

These “snails” or spirals of tea also submit several delicious infusions.  With each infusion the flavor seems to develop into a smoother, richer experience.  I managed three very flavorful infusions from one measurement of leaves!

This is a fantastic black tea that I would recommend to all tea enthusiasts.  A MUST try tea!

Yunnan Pu Er Small Tuocha (Ripe Pu Er) from auraTeas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  auraTeas

Product Description:

At the time of writing this review, auraTeas had not yet added this tea to their website, so instead, I shall provide you with some information about auraTeas:

We at [auraTeas] strive to bring the best tea to the world, and we hope you could to join us. We insist to purchase from tea growers around the world to insure the quality, and show our respect to tea growers and masters. In tea, we live.

Taster’s Review:

OK… it’s no great secret that I’m just a little scared of Pu-erh.  I had some not so successful experiences with it in the past and the memories of those bad experiences taint my current day encounters with the tea.  Slowly, though, I find myself getting over those bad times, and the more I try it, the more I really enjoy Pu-erh!

This is a lovely Pu-erh from auraTeas.  It comes packaged in a cotton-y paper, and it’s shaped like a bowl (a Tuocha).  I placed the little Tuocha in my gaiwan, and added some near boiling water for 15 seconds just to awaken the leaves.  Then I began brewing with near boiling water – 30 seconds for the first infusion, and 45 for the next… and so on.

The aroma of the brewed liquor is a bit intense.  It is earthy, and it can be a little off-putting to those who don’t really like earthy flavors.  But, rest assured, that the flavor is not quite as earthy as the aroma would lead one to believe.  For those who might find the aroma off-putting, though, I would recommend not inhaling the aroma just before taking a sip (this is something I often do when sipping tea, as it usually enhances the experience).  I find that when I do this, the earthy tones of the tea are brought into focus.

The tea is exceptionally smooth.  One might think from the fragrance of the tea that it would taste a bit more rough or rugged, but, this is anything but!  It has a deep, profound sweetness to it that is quite enchanting.  There are some earthy notes to the taste, but they are not nearly as pronounced as they are in the aroma.

I love the caramel-y sweetness to this tea!  This is a Pu-erh I would recommend to anyone who is finding themselves curious about Pu-erh.  The tuocha makes it very easy to steep (and it’s kind of fun watching it steep too!) and you just may find that you really like Pu-erh.

I also recommend sipping this tea while enjoying a piece of chocolate (dark chocolate, if you please!) – it is a perfect match!  Then again, what doesn’t taste better with a little chocolate?

Yunnan Royal Golden from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Product Description:

The golden tips of this black tea produce a complex peppery mellow yet malty flavor. This full-bodied tea originates from China.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaves are really beautiful.  The picture provided doesn’t do them justice, they really are GOLDEN.  But that’s nothing – just wait until you taste the tea that these golden leaves produce!

As I mentioned on Steepster, the aroma of this tea evokes images of freshly baked bread.  It doesn’t smell like baked bread, exactly, but the aroma has a way of bringing to mind the cozy comfort of a freshly baked loaf of bread.

The flavor is sublime!  It has a rich biscuit-y kind of quality to it.  Chewy with a pleasing malty character.  The flavor is hefty!  This is the kind of black tea you want first thing in the morning!  It has GUSTO!  In the background, notes of fruit can be detected, with a forefront of delicate spice notes that hint of pepper.  The finish is somewhat astringent (although it isn’t overwhelming), leaving the palate feeling refreshed.

While this IS delicious as an iced tea, it is one that I recommend serving hot, because I think that the flavor of this tea is best experienced when hot.  It has a mild sweetness to it, so do taste it before you sweeten.  I found it to be quite delightful without sweetener but a tiny drizzle of honey won’t hurt it either.

Truly a remarkable Yunnan!

Yunnan Black Gold Tea from TeaVert

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: TeaVert

Product Description:

Yunnan has a history of 2,100 years since it was domesticated from the aboriginal tea known as the ‘wild tea.’ Yunnan, a black tea, is also known as Tian Hong, which means “red tea from heaven” in Chinese.

Yunnan began producing black tea in 1940s. Yunnan Gold was originally grown specifically for export to Great Britain through Hong Kong, rather than for the Chinese domestic market. Despite this, its popularity was such that it soon began to spread throughout mainland China. Yunnan tea processing was considered a protected State secret until the 20th century.

Yunnan was a favorite of the young Queen Elizabeth, who was said to proudly display it in a glass cabinet. When it was first introduced, the rare tea could fetch nearly £900 per 500g.

All the tea-producing areas of the province are located at altitude of 6,560 feet and the region offers ideal condition for growing tea. Yunnan’s tea species are known as the “Yunnan large-leaf tea or Da Ye, and they belong to the superb tea species of the world.
This means that the tea harvest can begin in spring and continue right until the end of autumn.

Tea from the spring harvest in April is considered to be the best because the leaves are the tenderest. When oxidized, the beautiful buds of the tea turn gold rather than black, resulting in a rich, smooth flavor. This tea is deliciously rich and malty, with lingering notes of chocolate and honey. The flavor builds through several infusions.

Heat Water to 212 F, steep 5 minutes

Tasters Review:

I’ve always liked a nice strong Yunnan Black Tea but there are times when I go thru cravings or phases.  It seems I am in one of those zone lately!  But, I suppose, it’s a nice zone to be in, eh?

Yunnan Black Gold Tea from TeaVert is semi-smokey yet fairly rich and malty.  It smells more like honey than other Yunnan’s I have tried thus far. It’s a pretty strong one, too! The smokey and peppery notes are wonderful. As it cools I can pick up on a a chewier and sweeter taste than before while drinking the hotter version.

This is a goodie!

Puerh Yunnan from In Nature

Tea Type: Pu-erh

Where To Buy:  In Nature

Product Description:

Pu-erh, the great “connoisseur Tea”. The Queen of all Teas, known for its noble palate, taste and aroma. Also famous for its numerous health properties. Yunnan region.

This tea brews to a reddish-brown colour and has a distinctive liquorice, soothing taste.

Pack size: 50g

Servings: 50 cups or more. Full instructions on how to prepare the perfect cup of tea inside each box

Tasters Review:

This is incredibly smooth…I’m rather shocked at how smooth it is!  It’s more like a standard black tea than a stereotypical pu-erh!   This would be a nice go-to Pu-Erh.  For Pu-Erh fanatics tho, this may be on the lighter side!  But for me…I really like this!  If you aren’t a fan of the heavier pu-erh’s or the ones that will “put hair on your chest” – try this one!


Gold Flake from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Company Description:

This tea is a treasure from the Yunnan province of China. Since it is grown high up in the secluded mountains there are only limited quantities of this rich tea available each year.

Taster’s Review:

What a remarkable Yunnan!

All the flavors that I would normally expect in a high quality Yunnan are there – but each note is just a little better than I expected.  Am I contradicting myself?  Allow me to explain what I mean…

When you think of a black Yunnan tea, what immediately comes to mind?  For me, these qualities come to mind:  complex, full-bodied tea with a rich, bold flavor and deep notes of spice.

The spice notes are there, but somehow they seem more enhanced – spicier, perhaps?  Hints of pepper and even a slight nutty taste come through.  There is also notes of earth and wood to the cup.  Yes, this is a very interesting and complex cup of tea!

The flavor of this cup is indeed rich and bold; well-rounded with a fair amount of astringency that is drying and even a little bit starchy.  It has a sweetness to it that reminds me of sweet potato.

What a beautiful Yunnan – every bit as beautiful as a flake of gold!

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