Cup of Tea and a Blog

Welcome to my spot for musing about all things tea. Here you'll read reviews of quality teas, click through comments on tea rooms and shops I've visited, and see photos of leaves and cups. You’ll also find things I might talk about over a cup of tea, like philosophy, literature, current events, or fun ways to pass the time.

Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

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19 April 2005

Golden Yunnans

Golden Yunnans grow in the Yunnan province of China. The tea is handpicked as partially-opened buds in the early spring. Even though it is a black tea, the leaves actually turn gold after the oxidizing process. Good quality golden yunnan features long, thin, tightly-rolled leaves, and it has a distinctly earthy flavor.

In the past few months, Golden Yunnans have become my irreplaceable tea. I've fallen in love with the earthy, smokey characteristics of this tea and tend to shy away from any on the more floral end. I prefer overtones of cocoa and pepper with this tea. Here are my current favorites:

Teaspring's Golden Yunnan (the first I tried), a nicely grounded tea, and I mean that literally. This tea reminds me of a foggy day in the Puget Sound, when the air smells of moss and clay and ferns. My husband has used this in a blend that turns out quite nicely, but we've been wondering if the batch of tea has changed. We're not tasting as much depth in our most recent order (it's also possible that the strong cocoa overtones of my other two favorites are changing our perception).

In Pursuit Of Tea's Royal Yunnan, with its wonderfully peppery finish and beautifully "sproingy" leaves. I never use a spoon to measure the leaves with this because I love the feel of it in my fingers when I pull out a pinch. I'm starting to taste the hints of cocoa more, now that I've had the next tea. . .

Floating Leaves' Yunnan Gold, which is an incredible experience. When I first opened the bag, a heady scent of cocoa rose up. The leaves remind me of IPOT's -- very beautiful, and I can't help wanting to hold them in my fingers. There is a hint of a musty dark chocolate, and some great smokey undertones. There's also a nice pepper flavor, especially as the tea cools and you can feel the pricks on your tongue. Oddly enough, this reminds me of certain foods in New Mexico (smokey dark roasted chiles, moles, chipotles).

Imperial Tea Court's yunnan gold has been suggested to me, but that's next month's new tea. If anyone out there has suggestions for others, let me know! :)

see the comments for a copy of my initial experience with "Herons, Mud, and Yunnan Gold"


Blogger Cindy W. said...

I'm adding this as a comment, since it's something I wrote previously. This is the story of my conversion to golden yunnans, as posted to the Teamail e-list on Febuary 11, 2005:

We had a foggy start to our day here in the Puget Sound area, and I felt like going out to play. So, I poured some Assam STGFOP (from -- a nice, sturdy breakfast tea) into a thermos mug. I loaded my dog into the car, and we headed toward a nearby lake -- time to do some geocaching in a wetlands area.

Geocaching combines hiking/walking with a treasure hunt by using a handheld GPS to find something hidden at specific latitude/longitude coordinates (see for more information). I ended up on muddy trail that went through the woods to the lake edge, cup of tea in one hand, GPS in the other. It was so foggy that I couldn't see more than 50 feet in front of us, but that was just enough to see the twenty-or-so Great Blue Herons that were hunched up in the trees around me. Every once in a while, one would silently swoop from its stoop and disappear into the fog. It was dramatic, beautiful, and even a bit creepy. I walked on through the mossy, grassy areas and ended up searching for the geocache smack dab in the middle of a stinky bog. By the time my dog and I left the area, she was no longer white, and we were both pretty slimy.

After getting home, I found myself daydreaming about the surreal beauty of the morning, and suddenly I got a yearning for some earthy tea. Now, this is unusual for me. I'm generally not all that fond of puerhs and other teas that have earthy notes that can come through as you sip. However, I just happened to have ordered some Yunnan Gold with a batch of teas from Teaspring last week, and I figured this was the "muddiest" tea I'd have in the house.

Mmmmmmmm....perfect. This is just perfect. There's a very subtle hint of earth -- moss and old leaves and ferns -- to the tea; it's not overwhelming at all, just a nice touch. The tea even holds up to a splash of milk (just experimenting!), and the leaves are rebrewing well. Cool! This is the first time that I found myself longing for that earth flavor, and I like how it takes me back to my morning in the stinky bog. I know that might not sound appetizing to everyone, but for those of you who like playing in the mud.....Yunnan makes a good followup after you're home. :)

Pouring a third cup,


3:31 PM  

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