Friday, December 30, 2011

Tea Review: Yunnan Golden Buds (Californa Tea House)

Isn't this a gorgeous tea?  I love the contrast of the dark leaf with the golden leaf.  Just gorgeous! 

This is my second tea review for California Tea House, and I have really enjoyed this tea!  I'm not the best to judge the Yunnan Gold, because I've only drank them seriously for a couple of years.  There are folks who have been devoted to Yunnan Gold teas for a very long time.  Those folks will tell you that the Yunnan Golds we have today simply don't measure up to the teas of old.  (Share your opinion on this topic if you have one, please!)  The dilemma is that when the tea market went crazy over pu-erhs, a lot of the good Yunnan Gold plants were removed to make way for more pu-erh tea trees and processing, and it has never been the same.  :-(

Nonetheless, I've really enjoyed this tea.  I've found it's what I want when I plan to be out for the day and I want a thermos of tea with me.  It holds up well over time.  I steeped it with water just off the boil (rest if for 30 sec),  for 3 minutes and found that to be just right for my taste preferences.  I drink it plain.  I've really enjoyed this one, and I plan to share it with a friend who knows her "old-style" Yunnan's to see what her take is.


Marilyn said...

What a very pretty tea and I am sure it would be one I would like.

Teafan said...

I'm still a big fan of Yunnan Golds! Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Look at that pretty, pretty leaf!

lahikmajoe said...

I've heard the same sort of things about Yunnan Gold, and my response has been similar to yours.

Even the darker Yunnans are nice everyday teas.

Cindy W. said...

Raising my hand as one of those old fogies who thinks yunnan gold just isn't the same. :) I haven't ever tried tea from California Tea House, though, so I'll have to check it out. Do you know if they source it themselves from China?

I have a few questions for you: Was the characteristic "cocoa dust" on the outside of the leaves? How about flavors/aromas of cocoa? Any spicy cayenne pepper on the palate? Those are the things that I've missed most from the more recent vintages.

I often get a lot of sweet potato (others have referred to it as cedar) in some of the teas, which is rather off-putting for me. This seems to have replaced the good old clay and forest floor traits that used to be so prevalent.

That said, I still drink a lot of yunnan gold -- haven't found a star performer in a few years, and I've spent way too much money on really bitter-green and underwhelming versions. It's a pricy tea to fall in love with, so it is frustrating when the quality declines (yet the prices keep rising).

Steph said...

Cindy W - Thank you so much for your questions, I'll have to sit down with another cup (or three) to contemplate!

Marlena said...

I'm not a real old Yunnan golden buds, but I remember some superb ones and today's are a pale imitation. But I still drink them "cause I love them.

Angela McRae said...

I rediscovered a tin of Yunnan tea a couple of days ago and so enjoyed it. Its earthy flavor was such a nice contrast to all the cinnamony things I have been drinking lately. And that picture is indeed gorgeous!