Review: The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants Golden Needles

Black Tea, Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants, Yunnan Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!"Yet another perfect Yunnan Gold."
Geoff’s Teaview: 10/10
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The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants were known to me for several years, but I never tried any of their offerings until last fall - their Cranberry Sencha. They were predominately an online operation until opening a bricks-'n-mortar store around that same time. On an errand-running expedition with my brother on the side of town they were located, I finally had the urge (and reason) to check 'em out. What I greatly appreciated was they offered free tastings of anything we wished to try. I went through two oolongs, a chrysanthemum pu-erh, and a literal honey blend before finally deciding on the three I wanted. One of those three, however, was one I didn't sample; I bought it on name alone - Golden Needles.

If I were to learn that the world was to end the next day, I would want my last tea on Earth to be a Yunnan Golden Bud or something related to it. Something about tippy Yunnan blacks makes my taste buds and heart sing some tune in broken Mandarin. And I don't even know Mandarin. To date, I've had five different Yunnan Golds. Each of them were near-flawless. I hoped the same would be the case here. The appearance and smell of the leaves certainly made me think so.

Imagine if Silver Needle white tea buds were dipped in liquid gold then sprinkled with allspice; that is what it's like to behold this. I may have embellished a little, but that's how much I love the sight and smell of this stuff. If stuck on a deserted island, this would be my dessert.

Brewing instructions called for 190F water and a three-to-five-minute steep. I was used to bringing it to at least a boil and steeping it light, but I'd never done it at an oolong-ish setting before. Perhaps it would produce an even MORE perfect cup than I was used to. Worth a shot. I brewed the recommended 1 tbsn in 8oz of water.

The liquor infused to a color echoing the dried, curled buds almost to the palette but with more of an amber lean. The aroma was nectarine, malty, honey-like with a hint of hazelnut. The taste - as usual with this Yunnan type - threw me into reserved hysterics. Yet another perfect Yunnan Gold. That is five for five now. Initially, when I got this, I brewed it at boiling and - while awesome - there was a bit of astringency that kept it from being perfect. The slight dial down in temperature made all the difference. And I'm glad I have a local source in which to find it.

— To purchase The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants Golden Needles, 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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