Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tea Review 111: Yunnan Roundup

Yunnan Curly Golden Buds
Yunnan Golden Tips
Yunnan Black Needle
Tea Trekker

Yunnan Top Grade
Mighty Leaf

Yunnan Golden Curls

Let's all join hands for a moment and sing the praises of black tea - something I never waste an opportunity to do. Yes, that's right - black tea. The old warhorse of the tea drinking world. If I had to choose just one type of tea to drink for the rest of my life (assuming that it's top quality stuff) I'd probably go with black.

My point, as I've noted in these pages before, is that a great black tea, at least for my money, can easily hold its own with any of the other types. Of the black teas, my favorite is probably Assam, but lately I've been discovering the delights of the Chinese variety known as Keemun. And, of course, there's Yunnan, yet another type of Chinese black tea.

I've been fortunate enough over the past few weeks to get my hands on a number of Yunnan samples. Yeah, life's hard. Here are some thoughts.

Tea Trekker (X3)
This was the first time I had the chance to taste any tea from Tea Trekker, but I hope it won't be the last. Of the three Yunnan samples I tried, Curly Golden Buds was the least impressive, but only by comparison with the other two varieties.

Next on the list was Black Needle, which had a very smooth, rich flavor and which definitely made me sit up and take notice. But they both paled (so does everything on this page) in comparison with Golden Tips, which I'd rank right up with the best black teas I've ever tasted. To say that it was bursting with flavor is probably something of a cliché, but it's true. I can't imagine how you could top this one.

Mighty Leaf Yunnan Top Grade
A respectable entry from Mighty Leaf. As they put it, "Black tea from China, Yunnan Top Grade, is one of the finest and noble Chinese black teas hailing from the cloud-veiled mountains of the Yunnan province. Nick-named the "mocha of teas", Yunnan Top Grade black tea boasts beautiful large, golden-tipped leaves, a sensual aroma and a rich, smooth flavor with a touch of fruit and malt."

Adagio Golden Curls
Golden Curls is part of Adagio's new Maestro line and is an interesting variety. It's one of the more unusual Yunnan teas I've tasted thus far, with a mild, offbeat flavor that wasn't quite like the typical Yunnan tea and which almost had a kind of creamy taste. Good on its own but perhaps not for those looking for the standard Yunnan flavor profile.

Adagio Teas triniTea Tea Maker
Breville BTM800XL Tea Maker

No comments: