Yunnan TGFOP (ZY51)

Tea type
Black Tea
Black Tea
Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Raisins, Smoke, Soy Sauce, Wood, Smoked, Bitter, Brown Sugar
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by GabrielduViolon
Average preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 oz / 139 ml

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10 Tasting Notes View all

From Upton Tea Imports

This superior China black tea is a great after dinner tea. Stands up nicely to milk; delectable plain. (Our original China Yunnan, introduced as item TP50.)

Steeping Suggestions: -
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 212º (boiling)
Steep Time: 3-5 min.

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10 Tasting Notes

863 tasting notes

I had to lower the rating dramatically because it turns out (like I suspected) when hot brewed it is really very smoky in the nose. I abhor the smell of smoke in any form (fireplaces, campfires, cigarettes, all of it) and so I just. can’t. do. it.

The sad part is the smokiness isn’t really in the taste at all – I get a nice black tea with honey undertones that isn’t bad…but then I breathe it in and it’s all ruined. :(

Not the tea for me.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

Try it at a lower temperature. I’ve noticed that yunnan tends to only get smoky if the water is too hot. It might work better around 185 degrees.


Thanks for the recommendation, I will certainly do that. In your experience, do all Yunnans tend to have that smoky note in them?


Not all of them, but some. Seems like the more tips there are, the less smoky they turn out to be.

Jim Marks

I may be a bad measuring stick, because I love lapsang souchong tea (which is extremely smoky), but in my experience, Yunnan golds are not smoky at all. Very round, very soft, molasses and old leather rather than smoke, so don’t let this turn you away from Yunnan’s.

Or Upton, for that matter, if this is your first Upton tea. They have a shockingly huge selection of teas and are very price competitive.

From Upton I’d recommend this one:
but I actually liked this other golden much better, although it is from Panyang, not Yunnan.


Hi Jim – I think the main problem with the Yunnan was the temperature I steeped it at, as Tabby suggested. Boiling water does not seem to be a recommendation with Yunnans from other tea companies, so I’m not sure why Upton’s suggested temp was so high. If it’s a more fragile tea then I’ve no doubt the reason it was smoky was because I burned the heck out of it. Smoke is just not my thing, unfortunately – I find the smell and taste of all things smoky to be very unpalatable, hence why I dropped the rating so low.

I love Upton as a company – they’ve become my go-to for trying new teas since they’re so budget friendly, and usually I’ll branch out from there. I checked into both of the teas you recommended too, but sadly I think the Yunnan Imperial is discontinued – maybe it’s just been rebranded, but I’ll have to do some digging and find out. If you have any inkling or another similar suggestion I would be very interested – this tea was so promising except for the carcinogenic smell!

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314 tasting notes

1.6 grams in 6 oz water
This is another example of how conflicted I am by Yunnan tea. The last time I drank this I rated it a 75, but now I’m thinking mid-80s (my rating here is an average of all my ratings, not just the last).

I absolutely love the nose – so rich and complex I could just smell it for hours. Surprisingly rich smoky aroma. The taste has a bit too much smoke/ash for my taste, but is rich and flavorful. As I drank the tea, I started to like it better; perhaps just getting used to it. The finish is also dominated by smoke, but in a nice way. However, by the end of the cup there was a slight bitterness in the finish.

This was part of an Upton Tea sampler set: Introduction to Fine Tea, which also contains Darjeeling, Assam, and Keemun samples. They are all good, solid teas, and an excellent introduction to their types.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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12 tasting notes

This is my new post dinner tea.

Unusual for me, I take it with a little sugar and no milk, because I like how the sugar seems to bring out the smokey-floral notes of the tea, and that quintessential taste of Chinese black teas that I adore.

An unassuming but capable cup of tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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42 tasting notes

Nice Yunnan, good creamy body, not as sweet as Golden Yunnan from Rishi.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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13 tasting notes

This black (or rather, red) tea is hearty and entrancing. The dry leaf smells of dark chocolate, toasted wood, and cooked sugar (like dark caramel or toffee). I found the wet leaf aroma depends mainly on the water temperature. Boiling water draws a pungent fragrance delightfully suggestive of soy sauce. Slightly cooler water (approx. 95°C) yields earthier, woodier notes.

I have prepared this tea in both Western and gongfu styles. Western-style preparation gives a mahogany brew with prominent notes of smoke and balsamic vinegar. With this tea, I obtain four solid infusions with Western brewing parameters (1 tsp leaf per 6 oz boiling water). The first two steeps are robust and mildly astringent, while the last two tend to be more subtle and earthy with mustier forest flavors.

Gongfu brewing produces fuller smoke and dried fruit notes in the first 2-3 infusions. Later steeps unfold into toasted nuts and woodchips with hints of dark chocolate. 75 mL of boiling water with 5g of leaf provided 9-11 substantial infusions with brewing times of 10, 15, 21, 28, 38, 53 seconds, etc.

This is one of my favorite teas to enjoy after an evening meal. Additionally, it blends very well with cream and would probably make an excellent bubble tea base.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Raisins, Smoke, Soy Sauce, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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25 tasting notes

Two golden tips less in the photo would be a little more accurate.
It’s said that a tea master can make any tea taste delicious.
As a novice, I take that statement as license to experiment.

First steep:
2 tea scoops (~1t)

pours: 30sec to ~7min

Second steep:
per practice of using lower temperature water for longer infusion to coax out the qualities of the tea

transferred tea, including leaves, to a pint glass
tasted after ~6 hours
unbelievable sweetness
after ~8 hours
still sweet, with a touch of bitterness in the throat at the end
left overnight
quick bitter that mellows into almost sweet

Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar

180 °F / 82 °C

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45 tasting notes

very nice – this is my first straight-up yunnan, so I can’t comment on how it compares with others. a tiny bit astringent but otherwise very smooth, lots of flavor and body. a bit smoky.

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8 tasting notes

Very pleasant and mild tasting. It does well with a tiny bit of milk. Next time I’ll probably brew it a bit longer (a full five minutes).

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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