Name: Golden Heaven Yunnan
Brand: English Tea Store
Type: Black tea
Form: Loose leaf
Review: Yunnan golds are always a surprise. Some are earthy, some spicy, some sweet. I’ve tasted some that taste purely of honey, while others are deeply complex. This Golden Yunnan offers a blend of earthy flavor along with a strong jolt of vanilla. Not as refined as some of the Yunnans I’ve tasted, but nonetheless tasty.
The dry leaf consists of wiry, medium-sized dark brown leaves sprinkled with a fair amount of golden buds. The dry leaf doesn’t smell like much, though the infused, golden liquor has a lovely floral/vanilla nose. On the palate, this tea is fairly heavy-bodied, giving it a slightly creamy mouth feel. It is fairly sweet with the vanilla notes dominating, though its earthiness emerges in the finish, which is slightly more astringent than I expected.
I personally prefer a spicy Yunnan gold, but found this one to be tasty and enjoyable nonetheless. If you are a vanilla lover, this is definitely a tea to check out. Incidentally, the English Tea Store says that you can prepare this with some milk and sugar. I’d advise against it. Either would obliterate the flavor profile of this tea and leave it undistinguished. Instead, drink it neat. You’ll like it better that way.
Preparation Tips: Golden Heaven Yunnan can be a challenge to brew: Too much leaf, and its earthy notes dominate, leaving you with a relatively one-dimensional tea. Too little, and it tastes watery. I like to use about 4 grams in 8 ounces of water, steeped for about 3 minutes.
Food Pairing: I am not over-fond of pairing Golden Yunnans with food, as I think that food competes with its lovely flavors. However, it does make a respectable breakfast tea and I’ve also been known to enjoy it with some very plain sweet baked goods, such as butter cookies, madeleines or pound cake.
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