I consider myself to be a rather avid fan of Assam tea, a black variety that hails from the Assam region of India. Although I’m always careful to note that Assam teas are definitely not all created equal and some of them are rather yucky, to be quite honest. But I’m such a fan of this tea that on two separate occasions I’ve devoted an entire month at my own tea site to considering its many and varied charms.
Which doesn’t seem a very logical way to open a review of a black tea from the Yunnan region of China. But I wanted to establish that I like Assam so much for the simple reason that I’m starting to wonder if I don’t like Yunnan better. For a while now I’ve been drinking Yunnan tea from a merchant who shall remain nameless. I turn to this one whenever the supply of tea samples from various merchants starts to run dry because it’s of a decent quality and I can run down to the local Whole Foods and buy some, rather than having to go through mail order.
While it’s a rather decent Yunnan, as I say, the English Tea Store’s Golden Heaven Yunnan is a cut above that and is one of those Yunnan teas that might just put me over the top in my homegrown Assam/Yunnan competition.
I have to cringe at the Tea Store’s description of this one, however, specifically the opening part that claims that it’s a “a delicious tea that’s outstanding with milk.” While it may indeed be just that and while I’ve learned not to berate anyone for spoiling an outstanding tea with milk, I’d encourage anyone who thinks that black tea actually needs milk to give this one a try on its own before reaching for the pitcher.
I’ve had the good fortune to try a few decent Yunnan teas over the years and this one holds its own with any of them. It’s got the very full and highly robust black tea flavor that’s common to the breed and some notes of something like spice in the finish. Probably the best indicator of how highly I thought of it is that out of the wealth of tea samples I’ve received in recent weeks it was one of the first to go.
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