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Alex Zorach

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1311 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from Yunnan, China

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Picture of Yunnan Golden Tips

Yunnan Golden Tips from Harney and Sons

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 8th, 2016

This tea is really strange. I enjoy it most when I don't think of it as a black tea, and I still don't know exactly how I feel about it. I disagree with Harney's assertion that this is "vigorously assertive": to me it lacks the strength and punch of a black tea, and in many respects is more like an oolong or even a m...

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Picture of Tippy Yunnan

Tippy Yunnan from Harney and Sons

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Feb. 16th, 2016

I thought this an excellent tea and it is definitely among my favorite Dian Hong or Yunnan Red (black teas) that I've ever sampled. It's one of many samples I recently ordered from Harney & Sons.

I chose this for a very cold morning, because I find Yunnan teas to often have a powerful warming quality, and I found i...

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Picture of Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey from The Meaning of Tea

Style: Golden Monkey – Region: Yunnan, China

37 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Mar. 23rd, 2015

This was the worst example of Golden Monkey that I've tried, and the worst example of any golden Chinese black tea. I thought it quite awful and I poured it out without drinking much of it.

The dry leaf is beautiful, and has a very intense aroma of cooked fruit, like raspberry jam. The leaf has a slight dusty qual...

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Picture of Premium Pu-erh Tea - Black

Premium Pu-erh Tea - Black from My Zen Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 9th, 2015

I tend not to be a fan of Shu Pu-erh at all, and my expectations for a tea bag were pretty low, but I was happy to say this greatly exceeding my expectations.

Brews up a very dark liquor, almost jet black, with a smooth mouthfeel, mild flavor, and mellow aroma. The aroma reminds me a little bit of clean, wet stone ...

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Picture of Vintage Pu-erh

Vintage Pu-erh from Octavia Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

50 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 13th, 2015

Not my cup of tea, and among the more disappointing teas from Octavia, although I think it's a good example of this style, it's a type of tea that I don't tend to like very much. Another sample served in Velvet Sky bakery in Jenkintown.

This is one of those classic "damp basement" Pu-erhs. Smells like wet moss or ...

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Picture of Premium Pu-erh Tea - Green

Premium Pu-erh Tea - Green from My Zen Tea

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jan. 4th, 2015

The best Pu-erh I've tried in a tea bag.

A sample from the Philadelphia Coffee & Tea Festival. The tea bag is not at all aromatic, but upon brewing, the cup becomes much more interesting.

Aroma is like a rather typical young sheng Pu-erh, a lightly aged green Pu-erh. The aroma is fresh and grassy, with a hint o...

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Picture of Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey from Octavia Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Dec. 19th, 2014

A pleasant, drinkable tea, but on the boring side. I usually associate the name "Golden Monkey" with golden, all-tip black teas from Fujian province, not Yunnan. This tea is from Yunnan.

Dry leaf is very pleasantly aromatic, suggesting dried fruit, and a slight hint of malt.

Brews up a beautiful, light brown cu...

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Picture of Dian Hong Congfu

Dian Hong Congfu from Joseph Wesley Black Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Nov. 27th, 2014

Dry leaf has beautiful, intact wiry leaf with golden tips, and a mild aroma of rye malt and fruit.

The brewed cup is very dark, but not as aromatic as I'd like. The aroma is mostly fruity, and also suggests rye malt, but the aroma is weak, and the flavor is also somewhat weak. Although this tea is smooth, I think ...

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Picture of Ancient Yunnan

Ancient Yunnan from Octavia Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Nov. 22nd, 2014

Sampled in Velvet Sky Bakery in Jenkintown.

A smoother-than-average Yunnan black tea (Dian hong) with a classic character, slightly nondescript, but with a hearty, warming quality that makes it very pleasant to drink. Not quite as mind-blowingly awesome or weird as some of the ancient-tree Yunnan teas I've had, but...

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Picture of Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014

Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

92 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 27th, 2014

Another superb tea! And how completely different this tea is from last year's batch! Multifaceted, complex, surprisingly floral in aroma, with a very pleasing flavor, able to be infused many times.

The dry leaf has an explosion of aroma, sweet, springy, suggestive of a tippy, spring harvest green tea, but followed...

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Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 14th, 2014

Hello, concord grape! The dry leaf of this tea smells initially like a sweet, tippy spring green tea, but this is followed by an intense fruitiness strongly suggestive of concord grape. Tea often smells like grape to me, but more often it is the muscatel grape of Darjeeling or Bai Hao oolong, or the deep raisin notes...

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Picture of Ancient Emerald Lily

Ancient Emerald Lily from Rishi Tea

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 11th, 2014

This is the most complex, multifaceted tea that I've tried in a very long time.

Purchased in a whole foods in the relatively new bulk tea section.

Dry leaf is beautiful, intact, and consists of irregularly curved, wiry leaf with both silvery and olive green parts. The dry leaf is strongly aromatic, with a fruity...

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Picture of Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend

Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend from Rishi Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
May. 13th, 2014

Thank you to E. Alex Gerster for this one. I took a while to review it primarily because I tend not to be a huge fan of this type of tea. It looks like it's already been discontinued from Rishi's catalogue. There's no harvest or packing date printed on the container, so I don't know how old this is, but it tastes li...

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Picture of Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013

Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

97 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 24th, 2014

Wow. Exceptional, unique. The dry leaf of this smells completely unlike any other tea I've tried...and so does the cup when brewed. The leaf smells like honey and flowers, but with a smoky quality. Definitely the smoothest raw Pu-erh I've ever had that was effectively un-aged (being less than a year old when I trie...

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Picture of 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

95 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 23rd, 2014

This is among my favorite Pu-erhs that I've ever sampled.

This cake has a very fine leaf, tightly packed, and is tricky to break apart. I'm glad TeaVivre had already broken it off for me for the sample.

The dry leaf has a pleasant aroma, like caramel with a hint of worcestershire sauce, and still some remnants o...

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Picture of Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 18th, 2014

This is just about my favorite age range of Pu-erh: aged but still relatively young.

The compressed leaf is not very aromatic, and is devilishly hard to break apart. Thankfully TeaVivre already broke off this sample for me, but just judging by the texture of the compressed leaf, this one looks like it would be anno...

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Picture of Yunnan Gold

Yunnan Gold from Bare Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 14th, 2014

This tastes a lot like other examples of high-quality Yunnan Gold teas that I've tried.

Pyramid sachets are very aromatic!

Upon brewing, produces a cup with numerous subtle aromas. I initially get caraway and rye in the aroma, but then vanilla and caramel. Underneath, there are cocoa tones. Flavor is extremel...

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Picture of Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013

Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 5th, 2014

This tea is the youngest raw Pu-erh that I've consumed to date. Like I'd expect, it is potent, but it's smoother and more drinkable than even some Pu-erh I've tried that has been aged by a few more years.

The dry leaf smells strongly vegetal, with tones of honey and camphor.

Brews a strong-flavored cup with a li...

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Picture of Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea

Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 3rd, 2014

A fascinating tea, resembling caraway and rye crackers, but complex and smooth. This tea got my attention in an unusual way: most of the high-end Yunnan black teas are gold or pure gold variants, mostly or all tip. This tea had an all-dark leaf.

The dry leaf is very aromatic, with a peculiar aroma resembling caraw...

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Picture of White Night

White Night from Mandala Tea

Style: White Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Dec. 29th, 2013

This was among the most interesting of the white teas I've tried, although more familiar and similar to typical white teas than moonlight white. E. Alex Gerster called this tea "sturdy" and I like that; I also want to thank him for providing me with this sample.

Dry leaf has a peculiar aroma, like caramel and overr...

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Picture of Black Pearl

Black Pearl from Mandala Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

91 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Sep. 5th, 2013

Top notch! A rich, complex black tea with a classic Yunnan character, yet a unique signature of its own. Great for multiple infusions, and exhibits different characteristics in each cup.

Mandala recommended 2-4 pearls; it looks like 3 pearls is about a typical serving that I'd use for a cup of tea, so that was spo...

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Picture of Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007

Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007 from TeaVivre

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 3rd, 2013

A strange tea, with a lot going on.

Aroma of the dry cake is unimpressive, even slightly unpleasant, but when I brew it, it becomes much better tasting. It looks attractive at least, with a lot of golden tips.

Besides the dusty tones reminiscent of a damp basement (which are most evident before actually sipping ...

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Picture of Ancient Gan Tong Tea

Ancient Gan Tong Tea from Wild Tea Qi

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

94 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 7th, 2013

A tea that really grew on me. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but after drinking a few cups I found myself loving it.

Dry leaf, mildly aromatic but subdued, becomes intensely aromatic when wet. But I find the resulting cup is again more subdued. Although the leaf is green, the brewed cup is dark in col...

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Picture of Yunnan Breakfast

Yunnan Breakfast from Rishi Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Jun. 7th, 2013

I was expecting this tea, on the basis of its name, to be basically the same tea as Rishi's China Breakfast, as that tea also comes from Yunnan province. I don't know if it is a different tea, if it was simply a different batch that I tried, or if something about steeping it in a tea bag changed the character, but it ...

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Picture of Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005

Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 21st, 2013

I've had shu (ripened) Pu-erh of this age that I thought was exquisite, like the 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal I got from Tao of Tea, so I know it exists, but this cake didn't do it for me. I had a generous amount of samples, enough to experiment a bit with brewing, but I still didn't like it. The dry leaf has an aroma typi...

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