|"Golden Needle is supposed to be the Cadillac of Yunnans and I would say that this one is indicative of my expectations in that the ride is very smooth and mellow. "|
I have had the BEST day today! I won two contests on Facebook and am getting a free tea sampler and a free hair product of my choice from my Salon. Oh, and did I mention that the Breville One Touch Automatic Tea Maker that I bought from American Tea Room arrived today!?! I will NEVER accidentally oversteep my tea again :) What an amazing invention and how did I ever survive without one? Included in the box that the Breville arrived in was a sample of this Yunnan Golden Needle. Since I happen to love Yunnans in general, it only made sense to Christen my Breville with this sample from American Tea Room.
The dry leaves are twisted and have a bit of down on them. As expected with Golden Needle, the tea is very golden in color. The minimum pot size when using the Breville for preparation is 16 oz. Since I like my black teas to be a bit bold, I used three teaspoons of tea and infused the leaves in 200 degree water for 4 min. Golden Needle is supposed to be the Cadillac of Yunnans and I would say that this one is indicative of my expectations in that the ride is very smooth and mellow. It was the smoothness that I first noticed when I began sipping the cup and it is that same smoothness that is only found in some quality leaf. When I say this is mellow, I don't mean in terms of flavor but rather that some of the traits of this Yunnan are a bit mellow. For example, this is malty, but not super malty. It is a little astringent, but the astringency is mellow and does not leave my tongue feeling assaulted. The flavor profile is complex and morphs with temperature changes. I would say that it consistently tastes of tobacco and honey with some mild woody notes. At hotter temps, I also noted some nice notes of dark chocolate that seemed to fade but not completely disappear as the cup cooled. At cooler temps, I noticed a few floral notes and a bit of starchiness and, as I was trying to figure out if it reminded me of sweet potatoes, I noticed that ATR's website described this as baked yams. I can go with that. As far as the spicy, peppery finish that is expected with Yunnans, that is also mellow. I definitely would call it more spicy than peppery and this attribute is possibly the one downfall of this leaf in that some folks like a much stronger spice on the finish. However, I am not one of those folks that needs the super spicy finish so I enjoyed this fairly well.
Overall, if you love Yunnan Golden Needle leaves, then this is one that you should definitely check out. I really loved the smoothness and the mellowness of all things indicative of a good Yunnan. I enjoyed the chocolaty notes and even the mellow spice on the finish. While this one is a splurge and so much so that it might be out of reach for many drinkers, it is delicious and I have grown to love drinking quality pure leaf. Fortunately, American Tea Room offers sample sizes to you can take this for a test drive before committing to a large quality. Now I am off to get that other cup that my Breville is keeping warm for me. Thumbs up!
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