Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Zhi Tea
Exquisite, rare, high-altitude Royal Gold Yunnan tea. This needle tea, along with our Silver needle, is considered to be one of the finest teas in the world. Ours is completely comprised of copper-y, soft, curly buds. The dry leaf is quite aromatic; deep woodiness, tobacco, and floral hints. Once steeped, the leaf denotes hints of honeysuckle, with an autumnal richness. In the cup we find a deep caramel color and complex aromatics; bing cherry, baked bread, dark chocolate, roasted nuts,and spring blossoms. A long aftertaste leaves an incredible tobacco-y cacao finish.
Learn more about this tea here.
I just love it when I take that first sip of a tea and I exclaim: “Awesome!” … or something like that. Sometimes it’s “oh, that’s good.” Or, just simply “mmm…”
That was my response when I first tried this tea. It was first “mmm…” and then “Awesome!”
This tea has such a deliciously rich character – smooth and complex and full-flavored. The first thing I noticed is just how well-rounded it is. It has a richness – almost creaminess, but that’s not quite the right way to describe it. This isn’t creamy the same way an Oolong, for example, is creamy. But, it has a thickness to it … a satisfying quality that seems to warmly blanket my taste buds in a swathe of flavor that ranges from flower to cacao, from caramel to fruit. This tea seems to have it all.
There are distinct cocoa-y notes – a deep, dark chocolate-y note that seems to set the tone for the entire cup. The cup is sweet, but not so much from the cocoa as it is from the burnt-sugar caramel notes. After the first couple of blissful sips, I begin to notice the fruity tones emerging, reminiscent of fresh plum that has been ripened on the tree in the summer sun. More sweetness and just a hint of tart from the fruit. Just a hint – just a touch of tartness – and it helps to keep the cup interesting.
By mid-cup, the floral notes begin to reveal themselves. The description above suggests honeysuckle, and yes, I suppose I get that. But it isn’t quite the honeysuckle one might find in other teas that possess honeysuckle-like tones, these floral notes have the subtle qualities of chamomile, but with the flavor of honeysuckle. That is to say that they are soft, not sharp or overpowering – just a gentle hint of honeysuckle, as if a warm breeze filtered through a honeysuckle vine and the essence of the air and the flower met in the teacup.
By the time I reach the bottom of the cup, I can reflect over the different flavors that I’ve tasted and might also mention a slight spiced tone that peppers the cup – not heavily, just a touch of warmth here and there that tastes of freshly ground pepper that has been finely ground and used to season modestly the overall cup.
A truly wonderful experience, this Royal Gold Yunnan Needle from Zhi Tea. It’s one of those teas that will serve you well as a breakfast tea and takes the additions of milk and honey well. I prefer it straight though, as I find that it allows me to explore the many facets of flavor it offers.