Imperial Gold Bud Dian Hong

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
Baked Bread, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Toast, Butter, Camphor, Chocolate, Cream, Mineral, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Wood, Creamy, Cocoa, Hay, Flowers, Tea, Sweet, Thick, Honey, Vanilla, Cacao, Dark Chocolate, Oak wood, Pepper, Peanut, Yams, Caramel, Hot hay, Wet Earth, Yeasty, Dried Fruit, Pastries
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Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Whispering Pines Tea Company
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 6 g 9 oz / 263 ml

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54 Tasting Notes View all

From Whispering Pines Tea Company

About the Tea
This is the highest grade black tea that you will find outside of China. Centuries of knowledge and tea master perfection went into picking and processing this dazzling Dian Hong style balck tea! The appearance alone is enough to knock you off your feet, with golden hairs covering the velvety soft leaves!

This tea is harvested in the spring from ancient tea bushes in Yunnan, China and carries lovely complex notes of malt, cocoa, warm pinewood, honey, morel mushrooms, and a damp forest aroma. This years harvest of this fantastic tea is smoother than previous harvests, with a new pinewood note comparable to warm wet pine after a summer storm. Imperial Gold Bud Black Tea is thick and lively with a clean aftertaste and carries an intense energy (cha qi).

We are very proud to be able to offer small quantities of this rare tea and will continue to offer Imperial Gold Bud as long as mother nature allows!

Warm Pinewood
Damp Forest

How to brew the perfect cup:
Steep 1/2 tablespoon of leaves
in 8 ounces of boiling water
for 3 minutes.

2nd infusion: 5 minutes
3rd infusion: 8 minutes

Black Tea

Caffeine Content

About Whispering Pines Tea Company View company

Whispering Pines Tea Company is dedicated to bringing you the most original, pure, beautiful tea blends. We use only the highest quality ingredients available to create additive-free teas teas inspired by the pristine wilderness of Northern Michigan. Our main focus is on customer satisfaction and quality.

54 Tasting Notes

316 tasting notes

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

This has a beautiful golden appearance that suggests quality. The instructions said to use 1/2 tsp, but I used my standard 1.5 grams (though increased the water to 8 oz from my usual 6).

This was an amazing tea. I was initially hesitant at the Yunnan-like damp forest aroma, but there was an underlying note of cocoa, and I didn’t find it off-putting. The flavor is HUGE. I won’t use as much next time, yet the strength was wonderful: a big, complex, mouth-filling tea. The flavor changed subtly in my mouth and as the cup cooled, making it hard to identify specifics, but it retained the forest/cocoa notes in the nose. The finish was also delightful and strong. A great tea.

There is only about 5 grams left in the box, but I’m afraid I’m claiming it.

I should probably give this a 100, but I’ve always been a tough grader.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hey Doc! Glad you enjoyed this! :)

I think (unless I was totally out of it and messed up) that the instructions called for 1/2 tablespoon rather than 1/2 teaspoon. This tea also was a reserve tea but as of today has been moved up to a regular stock item, and can be found here:

The one you had and the one currently offered is a 2012 harvest. When stock runs out of the 2012 we will be replenishing each fresh harvest. :)

Glad you enjoyed this and had a good first impression of Whispering Pines!

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572 tasting notes

It’s a rainy, gloomy day here today (I saw snow, though it didn’t stick thankfully!) and I feel so bleh with the ladytime pains I don’t feel up to housework, so I thought I’d do a little gong fu session with one of my old teabox teas (I really need to work on finishing those samples off!) This is the last black sample I had from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and to all those involved in that box for sharing their teas! I had a 2.3g sample and prepared it in my baby sized gaiwan.

2.32g / 40ml (gaiwan) / 205F / 30s|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s|60s|60s

The session lasted ten steeps, and I’ll admit I was surprised at the longevity of a black tea that had to be incredibly old at this point, as I rarely get such longevity even from fresh blacks and oolongs. My first steep ended up much longer than I planned, since I forgot how incredibly hot the little ceramic baby gaiwan is (I’m used to “cheating” with gong fu by always using my shiboridashi which is much easier to handle when it comes to heat retention and not pouring boiling tea all over my fingers). It had an aroma of orange peels, mandarins, and raisin bread, with a strong baked bread aroma present on the top of the cup, and the flavor of the tea was a strong pithy orange peel citrus note, with a less prominent lemony citrus note that produced slight puckering toward the end of the sip, as well as notes of malt and raisin bread, with a rather prominent astrigent/drying sensation on the top of the mouth. The second steep was less pithy with a more fruity and balanced orange flavor and a little stronger in the lemon note, with the malty notes also rounding out a bit and some florality becoming more present, but the tea was still quite astringent. On the third steep I overfilled my gaiwan to its limits of 60ml which made it extremely difficult to pour but noticed the extra water mellowed the tea out, with the malt/citrus/floral notes rounding out and the tea not having the bitter astringent bite on the finish, so the fourth steep I removed a few leaves out of the cup so I could fill it comfortably again at around the 40ml mark and got a flavor on par with the third steep, and the tea even seemed to have some rose florality pushing forward. It seemed some of the astringency was due to having too much leaf-to-water and now, while a bit drying after the sip, it was no longer unpleasant in any way. Most of the rest of the session continued with the tea reminding me of marmalade toast, with a bit of rose florality cropping up from time to time.

Considering the age of the tea sample, I was impressed with how much I got out of it, and had a nice, warming session on an otherwise dreary afternoon.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Toast

205 °F / 96 °C 2 g 1 OZ / 40 ML

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570 tasting notes
My small autumn order from Whispering Pines came today and this was included as a sample! The name on the packet was Imperial Gold Buds, but the description matches this one, so I assume it is the same. I’ve enjoyed every tea I’ve had from Whispering Pines. The quality is excellent. My favorite breakfast tea is North Winds. I really loved Golden Orchid. Cocoa Amore was delicious. This one is fantastic. The mouthfeel is silky smooth. There is not a hint of any acidity or bitterness. The tea is a beautiful shade of amber in the cup. I am not an expert on teas like some Steepsterians, but it seems to me the quality here is exceptional. I think I’ll need to hoard the rest of this sample.
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I have recently realized that any of those black teas with any gold in the leaves at all should be enjoyed fairly fresh. I feel like golden black teas lose a TON of flavor as it ages, probably more than any other type of tea. That gold goes from very complex tasting to very flat. (I’m not saying this will happen with this tea, but most gold teas I’ve had do this.)


I mention this because you mentioned hoarding it :D

Maddy Barone

Hmmm… Maybe I should grab this excuse to drink it up fast! LOL


Just sayin! :D

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100 tasting notes

Oh my, such a good cup of tea!

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2879 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #34
The tasting notes for this one are so complex, but I was only tasting the lightest of flavors here. I think these types of golden yunnans are VERY delicious when they are fresh but I think they are the most sensitive tea to aging, as they seem to lose their flavor very fast and end up tasting like cardboard (the other teas most sensitive to age seem to be green teas and definitely Darjeelings). I’m sure this is delicious when fresh, but I’m only tasting light honey notes.

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91 tasting notes

This one is a step up from the Yunnan gold tips.
Nose; Sweet potato, butter, honey, tannin, cocoa, citrus note.
Palate; Sugar sweet on the tip of the tongue, nice full mouth feel, rich, slight lime, sweet potato, once again that honeyed Darjeeling quality, just a touch of bitterness.

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859 tasting notes

Let me begin this review by saying that sometimes I forget what I have in my tea cabinets and storage totes. Literally, I sometimes buy something, put it aside, and then forget about it. I got so wrapped up in finishing off some of the aged oolong samples I had lying around that I totally forgot about this black tea. What’s worse is that I started working my way through this one a couple weeks ago, took a few preliminary notes, and then shoved it far in the back of one of the tea cabinets. I rediscovered it a couple days ago, tested it to make sure it was still viable, and made a point of taking the time to finish it before moving on to something else.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off mild aromas of camphor, chocolate, and sweet potato. After the rinse, the camphor, chocolate, and sweet potato aromas intensified and were joined by scents of malt, toast, and wood. The first infusion produced a similar, though more balanced bouquet. In the mouth, I mostly picked up mild notes of toast, malt, wood, and sweet potato underscored by subtle notes of chocolate, cream, and camphor. Subsequent infusions were more intense and robust, offering stronger impressions of chocolate, malt, cream, wood, camphor, toast, and sweet potato. Impressions of molasses, baked bread, butter, wildflower honey, and orange emerged at this point. A subtle minerality also began to make its mark on the finish. Later infusions were dominated by impressions of minerals, toast, baked bread, and wood, though fleeting impressions of orange, chocolate, sweet potato, wildflower honey, and camphor lingered in the background.

This was a super nice, supremely easy-drinking black tea. I loved how refined the aromas and flavors were, and I thought the smoothness of the body was extremely appealing. This was definitely one of the better black teas I have tried in recent months. I would recommend it highly to anyone looking for a sophisticated Chinese black tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Camphor, Chocolate, Cream, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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50 tasting notes

I’m upping my rating. The last time I had this tea, I was back in the midwest for 2 weeks in horribly hot weather in September, with amazing stress levels through the roof. As I had only received a sampler and was constantly interrupted trying to have a morning cup, I didn’t have a decent chance to really think about it, I was just trying to gulp down as much caffeine as I could get.

I like this one. I really like this one. If I could realistically afford it, this would be the one I drank most of the time. No bitterness, no astringency. A nice mouth feel, almost creamy or buttery like. A flavor element that makes me think of freshly baked whole wheat bread.

Added note – there is a small amount of astringency present once it goes cold. I wonder why that happens as this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that with a tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Creamy

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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42 tasting notes

This was not at all bitter and much less tannic than other black teas I’ve had. I did two western style steeps, the first was 3 minutes and the second was 5.

This tea really heated me up inside and got me going. I was amazed how warming it was even after the cup had cooled so perhaps more suited to cooler weather, but it was nice to drink a black tea where I didn’t need to load it up with sugar to be able to drink it. Though I guess there is a sharpness to all black teas that sugar or honey complements. I’m sure a touch of sweet would go well with this.

It’s been a few hours since I’ve had the tea and I still feel the effects. Potent stuff! I’m not sure how to rate it yet. I think I can brew it better but definitely one to explore more!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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109 tasting notes


Towards the end of the packet, I noticed the leaves weren’t as soft and fuzzy anymore. They became a little more dry and spindly.

To be fair, I have had this in my cupboard for a fairly long time and they still tasted pretty much as good as they were.

These are absolutely delicious, but it does become weak by the third steep so perhaps I won’t be buying this a third time.

I still highly recommend this however.

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