Posted by: dan | April 10, 2009

the yunnan the gold

gyheader(title with apologies to Madness)

Dan: For the second time in one week, I’m going to review a tea I’ve tried before. The Silver Needle was a success, and hopefully, adagio’s Golden Yunnan will be too. When I tried Jing’s Golden Yunnan, I said I loved it, and it was nice as a break from drinking some of the other, more esoteric teas. With that in mind, I’m off to put the kettle on. You don’t have to wait for me though, the review is just below.

The tea is this colour from the second you add the hot water

The tea is this colour from the second you add the hot water

I was going to leave the comparisons until a bit later on, but the first one is so noticeable, I can’t not mention it. The colour! Whereas Jing’s was “a malty brown” (if I can quote myself), adagio’s is a ludicrously dense, ruddy colour. It’s so dark! I’ve uploaded a picture of it on the left. See? It almost defines ‘black’ tea, and even the leaves themselves were quite dark. There’s not a lot ‘golden’ about this tea visually, but the aroma of the dry leaves and the brewed tea compensate. The smell is heavenly, even to my pollen-clogged nose. It has a similar sweet, but wheaty scent that Jing’s did, but it all seems more refined. The sweetness is reduced to an undetone, allowing for the heavier tea tone to expand.

The sweetness isn’t gone, though. It’s just been transferred to the flavour. Taking a sip provides an instant smack of a sugary, floral flavour, and then it develops into the more common taste of a black tea. It’s very deep, and quite heavy. I’m getting more of the liquorice zest with this Yunnan, and it has a quite peppery quality to it. I’m finding it a little hard to drink straight, as the bitter edge is quite harsh, and the aftertaste is a lingering, fuzzy one. As I’m not a fan of liquorice, this is a bit of a problem, so hold on a second while I try adding a tiny drop of milk to the second half of the cup to see if that helps. I think I’m okay adding milk to a black tea. It’s not like it’s an oolong, right?

The leaves are a colourful mix

The leaves are a colourful mix

Bear in mind that I generally like my tea quite strong anyway, so I only ever put a small drop of milk in any tea I have. That’s what I’ve done with this tea, and the first difference is the smell. The colour’s changed as well, but that’s kind of expected, and not that interesting. Unlike the fact that adding milk has given the Yunnan a honey scent. And the taste? Toned down, but perhaps too much. While it certainly doesn’t need any sugar (there’s enough natural sweetness here already), the milk has done the trick of taking the slightly bitter edge off and removed the fuzzy aftertaste. But it’s also lost its charm. The strength of flavour, and all the subtlety has been removed, leaving me with a nice, but standard cup of tea.

It seems adagios’ Golden Yunnan is somewhat different to Jing’s offering. Colour, smell, and taste are all distinct, so much so that it’s almost like having two entirely different black teas, not variations of the same one. There’s no way I can say one is better than the other, as they both offer a unique experience for you. I think adagio’s leaves are of higher quality, offering a better depth of flavour, but the aftertaste needs quenching with milk, which in turn takes too much away – it’s a Catch-22. On the other hand, Jing’s Yunnan Gold is much more drinkable, but not as flavoursome. It all comes down to how serious you are about your black teas, and your personal taste. I think I prefer the Jing Yunnan Gold, but I’m sure this is because I’m still relatively inexperienced with proper black teas. Adagio’s seems better, but I just don’t like it as much. I think I’ll go back to white teas. I know where I stand with them.

Dan was drinking adagio’s Golden Yunnan, available at £5.99 for 15 teabags, or £8.99 for 3oz. loose leaf.

P.S. I might put a stop to those pun titles soon – they’re starting to irritate me, and they probably aren’t doing you any favours. Let me know if you disagree.

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Responses

  1. I love golden Yunnans myself, and marvel at how each one can be so different, yet retain a certain essential “golden Yunnan-ness”.

    Well done. Hope your sinuses clear out soon! I recommend a Neti pot.


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