I thought I had posted a review of this tea before, but either Steepster ate it or I was wrong. I bought this in my mammoth Tao Tea Leaf order a few years ago. I’m not sure I’d call it Golden Needle, although the dark leaves are indeed punctuated with lots of fuzzy golden buds. Maybe Golden Curls? I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 200F for 7, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
Prior to steeping, the leaves smell like malt, sweet potato, and barnyard. The first steep has notes of malt, sweet potato, hay, earth, and tannin. Even at 7 seconds, there’s some astringency; I can also, perhaps only in my imagination, taste the fuzzy trichomes from the buds. Steeping the next couple rounds at 195F gives a more caramelized sweet potato flavour and cuts down on the astringency somewhat. It’s still unmistakably a burly Yunnan tea, though. Steeps five and onwards have not altogether pleasant flavours of cardboard, wood, tannins, and minerals, with a bit of sweet potato bravely hanging on in the background.
This is a slightly above-average Yunnan black tea that I’ll have no trouble finishing. I think lower temperatures are definitely the way to go here and I might even try it at 190F.
Flavors: Astringent, Barnyard, Caramel, Cardboard, Earth, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Wood