|"As the tea really began to cool down, I found the buttery texture that Andao refers to in their description! I have experienced this in oolongs and even a good green tea, but never in a black tea. OMG! This is soooo good."|
I have been forcing myself to hold off on reviewing this tea because I wanted to save it for a day when I needed a pick-me-up. Today was a rough day at work making this a good time to treat myself to a highly anticipated tea. With the possible exception of a good Yunnan, Golden Monkey is my favorite black tea. I actually find that a good Yunnan and a good Golden Monkey can be hard to distinguish from each other because they taste fairly similar. One of you tea scholars can probably elaborate on this, but I just know what I like. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Andao, they are a more 'serious' tea company based out of China. They offer a number of great teas and their Yunnan Gold is amongst my favorite teas.
My dry leaves were primarily golden as expected and had a fair number of tips. There were also a few darker leaves mixed into the bunch. I prepared this using water cut just short of a full boil and infused the leaves for 30 seconds as recommended by Andao. This tea offers a nice amount of complexity that impresses me. When I took my first sips, the tea was quite hot and the primary things that I noticed about it was that it was that it was a bit smokey and a little malty. As it cooled to a more drinkable temperature, I could pick up on a bit of the chocolate notes. The chocolate notes were maybe not as pronounced as I've experienced with some Golden Monkey offerings, and tasted like notes of a dark baker's chocolate. As the tea really began to cool down, I found the buttery texture that Andao refers to in their description! I have experienced this in oolongs and even a good green tea, but never in a black tea. OMG! This is soooo good.
After being impressed by the first infusion, I went ahead and prepared a second infusion of this using the same brewing parameters that I used for the first one. To my utter delight, the second infusion was equally delicious. I found this infusion to offer a cup that was less smoky and a bit more chocolatey. I also found that the buttery taste was even more pronounced in the second infusion. Delicious!
Overall, I found this to be a satisfying and delicious cup of tea. This is definitely one that I would reach for when wanting a plain black. I found the tea to offer everything that I love---smooth, a bit smoky, malty, chocolatey and it had that buttery quality that knocks my socks off. The only thing keeping this from a perfect score is that I really like my Golden Monkey to be a bit more chocolatey than this is. If the chocolate had got in my face a bit more, then this would be a 10---no questions asked. However, at just $16 for 100 grams, don't let that stop you from picking some of this up. It is amazing!
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