Review: Tea Palace Yunnan Imperial

Black Tea, Tea Palace, Yunnan Tea Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Part of the Dian Hong tea family, this is a mid-grade quality Yunnan Gold. It has the properties of a robust black tea, but with the added bonus of that exquisite Yunnan golden tips flavor in the backseat."
Dan’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 8.0/10
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teapalaceyunnanIt is quickly becoming apparent to me that one of my absolute favorite teas is Dian Hong. Otherwise known as "Yunnan Red" (and often times Yunnan Gold), this type of tea comes from the Yunnan province of China, near the Vietnam border. The area has been growing tea longer than any other in China - we're talking close to B.C. years. The distinction of this tea is its inclusion of golden tips in the blend -- and the quality varies greatly. The cheapest teas (Broken Yunnan) have but a few specks of golden tipped leaves. A mid-grade tea (Yunnan Gold) contains mostly black tea leaves, but a healthy sprinkling of golden buds. Then there is the creme de la creme - Yunnan Pure Gold - which is comprised of nothing more than sweet golden tips (Zhi Tea's Royal Gold is a prime example of this exquisite tea). Tea Palace's Yunnan Imperial offering falls into the Yunnan Gold category.

The dried blend here is as hinted at earlier - the majority of the leaves are mahogany colored, but there is a good peppering of golden tips scattered about. The leaves are mid-grade, with a few broken particles and fines in there, but that may just be due to handling. The aroma is very pleasant - even through my allergy-plagued nose this morning, I can get a deep sniff of that sweet, woody scent.

The preferred preparation method of this tea is with a porcelain gaiwan. Sadly, I do not have a gaiwan, so my ingenuiTEA will have to do. Still, I wonder how much more delicious this tea could be if served as such? The tea brews up to a coppery hue after 4 minutes of steeping in freshly boiled water. If you have a lower grade Yunnan tea, it will be much darker. The brassier and more deep red the color of the liquor generally signifies a higher quality Dian Hong. The aroma in the cup is not unlike most plain black teas.

Upon first taste, this tea quite impressed me. But after combing my memory banks to compare it to some of the other Yunnan teas I've drooled over, this is really not all that close. Naturally, the similarities are there in terms of flavor, but this blend is definitely in the mid-grade category. While that delicious, sweet and malty, unmistakable golden tip flavor is present, it plays second fiddle to the general black tea flavor that is more omnipresent. This is not a bad tea by any stretch -- but I certainly don't prefer it to a Pure Gold variety (which should come as no surprise). However, as a general purpose morning black tea, this is hands down the way to go. It delivers that kick of robust black tea flavor, but with the added bonus of the unique Yunnan taste.

— To purchase Tea Palace Yunnan Imperial, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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One Response to “Review: Tea Palace Yunnan Imperial”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Yunnans are my all time favorite these days. Your review made my mouth water!

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