Yunnan Golden Tips

Picture of Yunnan Golden Tips
Brand:Harney and Sons
Style:Yunnan Gold
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Region:Yunnan, China
Loose/teabag:Loose
Product page:Yunnan Golden Tips

This tea's info last updated: Apr. 23, 2018

Commercial Description

...Earthy to the point of being almost vigorously assertive, Yunnan teas have a maple sweetness that wins you over with charm. Typical of many Yunnan teas, Yunnan Golden Tips features a mixture of dull gold buds and black leaves...

Ratings & Reviews

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Reviewer pic77 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
(1402 reviews) on

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 mellow, aged Pu-erh. I wish the sample had been bigger (Harney's samples are uncomfortably small I think, although I understand with this tea because it's so pricey) because I had the sense that it was growing on me, but never felt like I was able to fully appreciate it.

Dry leaf is very aromatic, but in a soft way. First it smells fruity, but it's quite nuanced, there is a hint of nutmeg, and then I notice a malty quality. The smell reminds me of my mom making cookies when I was a kid, like the smell of the batter and also the mixer. The leaf also looks really beautiful, and complex: it is wavy and curly, and has a combination of gold, brown, and orange hues, all with fine silvery dust covering it.

When water hit the leaves, however, I was surprised both by the weakness of the resulting tea's aroma, and the dominance of what I would normally consider "off" aromas. There was a guava-like fruitiness that reminded me of GABA oolong, something I don't enjoy drinking, but more than this, the dominant aromatic quality was a sort of combination of cigarette-smoke-stained upholstery meeting plastic. It honestly smells like the interior of aircrafts from the late 80's and early 90's, old airplanes that still had a lingering smell of smoke from when smoking had been allowed in recent years. Like the smell of the dry leaf, this also took me back to my childhood, albeit in a different way.

If brewed lightly, the flavor is exceptionally clean, light-bodied, thin and watery. I liked a much stronger steeping, more leaf than I'd usually use, and steeping for five minutes. The leaf is very slow to infuse and it even shows visibly, being tightly rolled and slow to unfurl. Brewed stronger like this, there's some pleasant astringency that imparts body. The aroma is a little stronger, but still the same. I find malty notes come out slightly more with a stronger steeping, but there are still a lot of those "off" aromas.

Resteeps pretty well. I do like it overall, especially once I adjusted my expectations, but I think most of the time I would prefer drinking the Tippy Yunnan, which incidentally is a much cheaper tea, less than 1/3rd the price. This was interesting to try, but I'm glad I only ordered a sample of this one; it's too expensive relative to how much I enjoy it.
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