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!

Queen Catherine Tea from Harney & Sons

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Harney & Sons

Product Description:

We created this blend of three Chinese black teas in honor of Queen Catherine, who introduced her love of tea to the British. We are privledged to have this tea featured in the Museum of Tea in Hangzhou, China. Harney & Sons is the only Western tea company to receive this honor.

Tasters Review:

Thus far – Queen Catherine – is one of my favorites from Harney & Sons!  I think it’s a great tea for mornings and afternoons as well as hot or cold.  It’s just one of those black teas that is good to have on hand at all times!

My first impressions of this tea?

Once I first started infusing this tea I could smell a very faint hint of smoke. It’s a deep burgundy brown.

The taste isn’t what I expected and that’s not a bad thing…it’s certainly your typical black tea taste but then I found a semi-bitter/semi-sweet berry type taste at the end of the sip!   It was a surprise but I  liked it! YUP! The tea description that I read didn’t mention that it had berries in it but I can certainly taste hints on the tongue.  And they are subtle, beautiful hints!

Frosty Spring Yunnan Roast Green from Life In Teacup

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Life In Teacup

Company Description:

Production Year:  2010

Production Season:  Pre-Spring, January 1, 2010

Production Region:  Yunan Province, Xi Shuang Ban Na

Style:  Hong Qing (roasted)

Taster’s Review:

This is an amazing cup of tea!

Prior to and during infusion, the tea smells very strongly of vegetables.  The brewed liquor is a softer smell, but still smells like vegetables mingling with a light, roasted nut aroma.  It’s very intriguing.

The flavor is intense!  It has a lovely roasted flavor that resembles buttery chestnuts and roasted vegetables.  In the finish, there is a tart/tangy note that seems to waft over the palate.  There is more astringency than I am typically accustomed to with a green tea, but, it isn’t hindering me from enjoying the tea.

There is also a beautiful sweetness to this cup… a light, flowery sweetness.  It’s really quite enchanting!

I brewed this tea in my gaiwan and I would suggest brewing it no other way!  I obtained a vibrant, delicious and fragrant cup of tea with a short brew time of 1 minute.  The leaves expand quite a bit so I don’t recommend brewing this using an infuser – there just won’t be enough room for the leaves to completely unfurl, and you’ll risk losing some delightfully impressive flavor.

The leaves submit several infusions.  After brewing in my gaiwan, I combine 2 infusions in my teacup, and I managed 3 very flavorful cups (that’s a total of 6 infusions) of this lovely tea!  At just $4.50 per ounce, that makes this tea an INCREDIBLE value!  I love it when tea is not only tasty but affordable!

Organic Golden Yunnan Black Tea from Arbor Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Arbor Teas

Company Description:

This exquisite black tea hails from the Jing Mai Mangjing region of China’s southwestern Yunnan province, made from the 1300-year-old tea trees found there – some of the oldest living tea trees in the world. The people of Jing Mai Mangjing’s high mountain tea villages climb their ancient tea trees to harvest the new growth leaves and buds used to create this organic and Fair Trade Certified tea. It is quite tippy, rich with golden buds and large, delicately twisted leaves. The full-bodied infusion is deep red with a molasses-like sweetness, a subtle milkiness and light coppery finish.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very beautiful tea in every way.  The dry leaf is lovely to look at with its long, slightly curled leaves.  The leaves are a deep mahogany with golden-yellow tips.  When they are steeped, they produce a deep, dark liquor that possesses a beautiful bouquet – it smells slightly earthy, floral, and spicy with a deep fruit note.

But the real beauty of this tea lies in its flavor – it is delightful.  The flavor is very rich.  It has a fruit-like undertone that is somewhat wine-like in flavor.  It is a bit tannic – not bitter – but it does have an astringency that is pleasant and cleansing and is also quite like a fine dry wine.

There are notes of spice that are almost peppery that I am really enjoying.  This spice note is a wonderful contrast to the creamy, almost-caramel-y sweetness that rounds out the flavor of this amazing tea.

There is a lovely autumnal feel to this tea and is making me long for the days when the leaves begin to change (they haven’t yet started here in the Pacific Northwest, but I am eager for it).  It is delicious served hot and I think it is probably best served that way, but, it would also make a very good iced tea (excellent with a thin slice of lemon).  It has that caramel-y undertone to it so it really doesn’t need any sweetener.  This is just perfect, just as it is!

Yunnan Golden Buds from Life In Teacup

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Life In Teacup

Product Description:
Production Year – 2010 – Production Season – Spring – Production Region Yunnan Style Pack Size 1 oz. (28g pack) Price per unit $7.99 Product #4hdh

Tasters Review:

Yunnan Golden Buds from Life In Teacup are some of the most lovely Yunnan Golden Bud-type leaves I have ever seen…darned-near-perfect PERFECT I’d say!

This infuses to a masculine-brown.  The taste is smooth but sweet and a true black tea.  It’s a medium to a medium-strong type taste and is very pure and clean with a juicy after-taste.

This is very good both hot and cold!  Another winner from Life In Teacup!

2009 Yunnan Pure Small Bud from JAS eTea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  JAS eTea

Company Description:

This Yunnan varietal of Black tea is created from highest grade small bud Feng Qing spring season tea. Early spring tea is picked when the buds are still young, the tea is then rolled, briedly fermented and then wok-dried by hand. The flavor is the smoothest of any Black tea I have ever tasted. Since this tea is nearly one year old is in its prime stage for drinking. Yunnan Black tea is best when it is 12 months to 24 months in age.

Taster’s Review:

I’m finding myself a little lost for words right now – which is rather unusual for me! (Yeah, I have been known to be a bit long-winded sometimes.)  But, WOW!  This tea is so amazing that I’m a little speechless!

The dry leaves are beautiful – gold in color, wispy thin, long and curly.  They don’t give off much of a fragrance when they’re dry.  When brewed, these lovely leaves create an enchanting golden brown liquor that is mildly fragrant, smelling a little spicy, a little flowery and fruity, and even a little bit earthy.

The flavor is smooth – perhaps the smoothest Yunnan I’ve yet to encounter.  There is a light peppery kick to it though, which is something I love about Yunnan teas and have come to expect – and feel a little disappointed when I don’t get that pepper note.  Fortunately, with this tea it’s there.

There is a nice complexity to this tea.  There is a nice fruity note to it, almost plum-like, but also a bit of apricot… and it almost tastes like a fermented version of these fruits.  It is sweet with a pleasant astringency and no bitterness.

Allow this tea to cool just slightly after it’s been brewed (not too much – just to a drinkable temperature) and then, enjoy it as it’s warm.  I find that the flavors enhance greatly as I continue to sip it when it’s warm, but, as it gets cold, some of that exquisite flavor is lost.  Because of this, I recommend brewing it in small batches (use your gaiwan for this one!) and enjoy it when it’s at its full flavor.  It has sweetness to the liquor so you needn’t add anything to it… enjoy it in it’s plain and perfected state!

Ancient Emerald Green Tea from Basic Tea

Tea Type: Green Tea

Where To Buy: Basic Tea

Product Description:

This long, wiry organic tea leaf comes from the Jing Mai village in Yunnan, China. This “emerald” green tea is famous for its full-bodied taste and lasting aroma, which can be infused two or even three times throughout the day. Steep 1 generous tsp. per 6 oz. cup for 3 minutes. ENJOY! 3.5 ounces $11.50

Tasters Review:

This tea makes my head spin with all sorts of thoughts!  Let me explain…it’s sort of like a word association thing…

When I see or hear the word ANCIENT I automatically think of tradition, history, smart, and for some reason when I think of EMERALDS I think of Green, of course, but also words like special, superior, and nature come to mind.  In a way I can relate all of these thoughts to this tea in some way, shape, or form.  Other things that come to mind while drinking this tea are…YUMMY!  Of Course the taste is YUMMY but it’s also sweet.  It’s not grassy.  It has a lingering sweet green aftertaste.  As far at the aroma…it smells like…
gently buttered veggies, sweet, nutty, yet warm.

This tea was much better than I anticipated!  I was thinking it was going to be ‘average’ but it better than average!  A nice surprise!  I would drink this again – maybe even often!  To sum in up on one word…YUM!

Bed & Breakfast from Zhena’s Gypsy Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zhena’s Gypsy Tea

Company Description:

This tea is the result of carefully crafted blending, to ensure that the essential harmony of the botanicals healthful properties yield a superb tea experience.

Our artisan crafted blend of top of class Fair Trade, organic black teas will cheerfully awaken and delight you with its rich, smooth flavor and sumptuous floral aroma. Grown by small, socially-just gardens, this highest grade exotic blend of Indian, Ceylon and China whole leaf teas brew a full-bodied, stimulating cup. Its distinct, deep flavor is enhanced with a splash of milk.

Ingredients: A Blend of Black Teas: Yunnan, Nilgiri and Ceylon.

Taster’s Review:

When it comes to breakfast blends, I want the tea to be strong – something that will help me shake off that “still sleepy” feeling that I have in the morning.  This tea does that, but still offers an agreeable sweet taste that brings a smile to my face.

It is a pleasantly robust, bright-tasting blend of black teas.  I find it very well-rounded:  smooth, but not too silky; vigorous, but not too strong; sweet, but not sickeningly so.  Just a very flavorful black tea.  It’s a little milder than some breakfast teas – it doesn’t reach out and slap you in the face to wake you up.  Instead, it gives you a sweet, gentle nudge to get you going.

The tea finishes with a dry note to the palate, much like drinking a fine dry wine, but without the bitterness I’d associate with that wine.  I like this tea very much, and I like it even better knowing it is a blend of organic, fair trade teas.

This is one that you can feel good about waking up to in the morning!

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