Gold Dust Yunnan
While it was an oolong that originally showed me I could like tea, it was a Yunnan that showed me I could like black tea. I love how good examples balance an approachable smoothness with contrasting bite and tension. The flavors are often woodsy, spicy, and sometimes show a fruity undercurrent.
As the birthplace of the tea plant, Yunnan occupies a similar place Ethiopia does for coffee. The plant is native there and flourishes in that environment, infusing the leaves with a completeness of flavor.
The fact that I love black teas of Yunnan makes me more picky than I would otherwise be. I’m always measuring samples against what I know they can be, but often aren’t. When I got the sample of Yunnan Gold I saw the beautiful, golden tips – budding young leaves covered in a fine down – contrasted against long, large, lightly curled black leaves. These teas are named for the prominence of gold tips, a sign of very selective hand plucking, precise timing, and careful handling. But just because they look pretty doesn’t mean they’ll taste good.
This lot has a particularly sweet aroma that immediately draws me in. It reminds me of baked dough and caramelized sugars. The mouthfeel is soft and pillowy, and the flavor unfolds easily with notes of cedar and fruit. Fine down from the leaves is sometimes visibly suspended in your cup, contributing to the soft mouthfeel, and it collects at the bottom of the bag the leaves come in. That gold “dust” inspired the name I chose for this tea, a play on the song “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac.
I’m excited to offer this special lot of Yunnan, and hope to have enough to last us through 2018.