Yunnan Gold Tips looseleaf tea .Ito En

February 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more)

Ito En $7/oz (ok, i just read that, i read that right, yes $7, …112/lb… damn! thats one expensive oz i bought.)

Leaf: looks black, i see 1 gold tip. */* overly critical
but do you see the rightmost 2 pics? thats all gold tips… picture shadows make some look darker, but in reality theyre all gold , GOLD BABY GOLD.

Yunnan Itoen, Center&Right Gold tips YunnanSourcing
this should be called Yunnan Gold Tip.*/* now i’m just mean
Where is gold tips ??!!!
Show me gold tips !
… yeah i like seinfeld

sortof blind testing – i already know taste of 2/3 (bias) but tried it anyway,
lined up the cups, tried to measure similar quantity of leaf with my dispenser, marked all the cups on the bottom,
poured water ~200F , less than 1/2 cup so about 5oz(i think i shoulda used less), took pictures, figured some time passed,
maybe 2-3 minutes. strained in bottom marked cup, took to another room, and switched the cups around.
marked the cups with their reviewing #, and started teasting: (at end i put the actual tea in the paranthesis next to the #)

please excuse the lack of ability to describe in better detail someone else could relate to

#1 (Yunnan Gold Tips .Ito En)
aroma: fermented? black + astringent +”vegetal”
not very “defined”,
most astringent,
sort of a generic black +vegetal? sourish?-pinches-“stings” the mouth cheeks
very mild and faded honey, not smoky, nothing that interests me…
not a yunnan i’d like to drink.

#2 (Premium Yunnan Black Gold (Dian Hong Cha) .Yunnan Sourcing LLC)
aroma: maybe black? …triggering memories …cant describe, chicken farm…?!
similar astringent,
taste not as powerful honey-wine as #3,
very mildly smoky (i think this is the memories stimulant). i like this one.

#3 (Yunnan Pure Small Bud Black Tea Gold Tips .Yunnan Sourcing LLC)
aroma: strong “honey wine”
some mild astringency,
a dark black honey malty,
like the taste.


2008 Yunnan Gold “Jin Si” Golden Tips Black Tea

February 26, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more) link). 11.5/2oz = 5.75/oz, also at 69/1lb; nice price.

long post, with comparison and video.

Leaf: nice gold, some darker leaf.

Method: 2g 4oz, 4g 4oz, 4g 8oz, 190 thru 208F water filtered, 2-3min.

Flavor: good strong yunnan gold flavor, malty, some “honey”, some “wine”
2g 4oz 3min is alright with me, clean taste, pleasant, easy, very minor tannin, but 4g 4oz 2min is more my taste.(tho it brings out a med tannin with some astringency)
Pleasant aftertaste of the same flavor.

Comparison: Houde, Davids Golden Monkeys, Yunnan Sourcing Pure Small Buds.
note: these observations are under a “tense” state & senses “honed” to detect something. In real life – day to day – i just make tea and drink it for pleasure… plus: I’ve already had a couple sessions of “comparison” between these 2 so i’m rather caffeinated and jittery :D.

Leaf: Davids sure looks like a gold golden goldy…

Houde ……………… ………………   …………….Davids Golden Monkeys ……… ……………..Yunnan Sourcing Pure Small Buds.

Liquor Aroma: Houde: less strong, more towards “chocolate”; Davids: “sweet”?!


Houde- LEFT, Davids-RIGHT

Davids darker liquor, flavor & aroma are less intense(1/3 or 1/4) towards “dull” when cold, compared to Houde. There are some flavor differences but i cant really detail.

4g/4oz/190F/2 min (or longer)

Houde ……………… ………………   …………….Davids Golden Monkeys

Leaf left to float just for show/pictures/video, other infusions leaf was guided below water 🙂

Houde & Davids very similar, more tannin/astringent, not sure i’d be able to tell apart.

I dot have the YG from YS (well, i do, but its 1 yr old). from memory when i first opened it: flavor: again very similar, maybe a bit more pungent and more “fresh” than both (not saying either are old/stale, just a flavor observation in my mouth and memory.)

Leaf: Houde darker & floats, vs Davids which doesn’t float. (whatever this observation means.)

Wet leaf: Houde: not as nice as Davids: very nice, FAT buds.

Houde ……………… ………………   …………….Davids Golden Monkeys

Comparison conclusion: Houde & Davids very similar flavor, not sure i’d be able to tell apart in day to day drinking.

no smokiness in either of these. (i actually enjoy a little of that, and so my favorite yunnan black gold tips on golden monkeys tippy hairy tea of all time is the Premium Yunnan Black Gold from Yunnan Sourcing.)

Yunnan Pure Small Bud Black Tea Gold Tips .Yunnan Sourcing LLC

October 2, 2007 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more)

Yunnan Sourcing LLC (review) $24/250g = $2.72/oz , 44/lb, nice! … + s&h
Production period: Spring 2007
“Early spring tea is picked when the buds are still young, the tea is then rolled, briedly fermented and then wok-dried by hand. The flavor is the smoothest… “

Dry leaf: leaf smells pretty medium-high like apricot+honey
theres little hairs on the leaf, and leaves behind plenty of golden dust on the paper.

Method: 1 blk dispenser ‘tbsp’ 3min 190F, also tried 200F

Liquor: probably the same golden dust makes a contribution to liquor being cloudy, and adds some frothyness on the margins of the cup(when it dries you can see the gold dust particles), also the gold dust adds texture in the last sips (when most it is settled around the bottom of the cup). [the picture here is from 2nd or 3rd infusion].

Flavor: mmmm yunnan, id say flavor is more strong/prominent than the premium yunnan from them maybe its the young leaf it has stronger flavor to be extracted= there is a more prevalent sort of mild astringency feeling, not very harsh, aftertaste does not stay long. but its not watery as some of the cheap crap yunnan from WHF.

i’m not going to say smoothest flavor. i’ve had smooth, this does not fit that.

i’d say this taste profile goes towards my ‘foody’ sensation, and wine-y. some tobacco-ish sensations?! ,,, …not my liking. i think im about to say it feels …confusing… might be due to my feel of the astringency and the prominent flavor – i think they wine-y part reminds me of keemun/qimen. no, i think its sort of …darjeeling-ish, from that tobacco sensation. oy.

this definitely has caffeine. yup… not felt that in a while from a tea. i think its rather strong. good for me, i need it at the moment.

Overall: i like it. but i personally prefer yunnan with a touch of smokiness, not the wine-ceylon-foody (as i sense it).

Golden Monkey

February 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more) (review)(product link)  $15/50g = 8.5/oz, 102/lb … a bit high for me
review sample courtesy of David’s Tea.

I’m a HUGE fan of yunnan black tea (dian hong). gold or no gold. From the name and the pretty website …i guessed 😉 this would be a gold one.  No idea why label says this tea is from Keemun

Leaf: looks good, mostly gold – yay, some gold dust (the amount of this will give more or less froth/foam when pouring water on tea). Aroma from bag is a bit light. Wet leaf looks good, see mostly buds.

Method: 4g in 4oz 206F/96C water 2,3,3min (and other various). It could go for more than the 3 infusions i listed.

Flavor: good yunnan gold flavor. not as strong as i remember (YS’s pure small bud), malty, some honey, some “wine”, not sensing any “foody, ceylon” (that i dont like). not smoky.  Tannin/astringency in the sides of mouth is not bad, low. Aftertaste: Quite a lot of “tannin” that ends up on the palate and throat (makes throat feel dry). Feeling caffeine effects.

Overall: a good tea/con: price. does good reinfused.

Yunnan Gold Premium Black Tea

July 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more) (review)(no more available). $4.99/100g/3.5oz = ~23$/lb is cheap.

Leaf: alright, not many gold tips but its got a little gold ‘dust’ in the package…

Method: boiled filtered water/200F stream hitting the cup.

Taste: yunnan black but sort of …”generic”?, not really wine, not really caramel, some very distant smoky? More flavor that the other yunnan black from Puerhshop & much less astringency 1/3 compared to 2/3 or more in the other one. Not really tea bag flavor…Interesting part seems to leave a sweet aftertaste feel. Interesting part #2, on 2nd infusion seems to get a greenish sensation as i remember from this keemun maofeng tasting… not “black-ened” enough?

Overall: its ok. not enough flavor. not sure i’d get again.

Premium Yunnan Black Gold (Dian Hong Cha) .Yunnan Sourcing LLC

October 2, 2007 at 11:25 am | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

TEA> Black Tea> China> Yunnan (for more)

Yunnan Sourcing LLC (review) 16.4/250 g = $1.86/oz , 30/lb ….  :O :O    *** DISCONTINUED ***
Production: Fall 2006
“Aged just enough, liquor is mellow, smooth but with a depth of flavor that is not to be missed. Other black teas don’t stand up to this!”

Dry: This smells good from 1 meter away (thats 3 feet). I’ve not seen a black tea with such long intact leaves in my last year of tasting teas! (or maybe i have, what do i know, i’m getting senile anyway…)

Method: 1black scoop “tbsp” 4oz @ 190F

Liquor: little dust/residue in the liquor. smell hint of smoky.

interruption: Ohhhhh sooo goood…. mmmmm…
…ok… i’m back

Tongue: so good… “full taste” (fills mouth with flavor), chocolaty aftertaste with a little tiny astringency, oh so nice

not bitter, not wine, not watery, not “foody” (personal sensation)

i want to say ‘soft’ but not lacking flavor, soft as in not rough, no unpleasant astringency, everything melts very nice on the tastebuds. i think as they say it ‘mellow‘ is better.

good, longlasting aftertaste.

i so want to describe the flavor in more detail but i dont have any other words to match…

Compared: to the yunnan gold from Jing Tea, Jing’s was more caramel (but it had what i call “foody-ceylon” flavor which is not my preference). another comparison with Yunnan Gold Tips looseleaf tea .Ito En

Overall: lets just say… friggin’ awesome (imho) three thumbs up (thats all the thumbs i got).

Ito En Flagship Store

February 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Tea Stores | Leave a comment

Yup, they have a store. Not anymore. ITOEN Nyc store has closed down as of 2010.  BOO.

Some asian markets in Los Angeles (Mitsuwa) have a standalone Ito En booth, but it wasn’t this big. Actually for a ‘flagship’ store its not that big, i had imagined something with alot more stuff. I suppose its proportional to demand.

Located in Manhattan, 822 Madison ave x 69th, you get a nice walk, and after the thousand dollar bag boutiques in glass skyscrapers, you reach what looks like the city’s part with smaller, old, cute buildings.
822 has their ito en restaurant upstairs, downstairs on the right is the store.

The store is well laid out – looks very good visually, well organized.

There are some pre-packaged loose tea bags, didn’t investigate those.

The looseleaf teas are stored in a wall sized fridge, in air tight bags. Every time you ask for something, the staff takes out the bag, cuts it open, dispense tea, immediately re-seals the bag and puts it back. While it seems nice, i am recently wondering if that is good for the leaf as even for a couple minutes when the leaf is outside with a different temperature and atmosphere it could lead to formation of some condensation.

They also have 2 little fridges that hold some of the .5L teas, and the canned teas such as Sencha or Oolong shot, and Weil for tea. They do not have up front any of the 2L bottled teas (i didn’t ask for any so don’t know if they do have.)

In the back there’s the pottery/hardware section, with a good selection of japanese pots, kyusus, good selection of prices from 30 to 300$. Next time i’m getting one, i really like how they look and feel.

The staff is very helpful, friendly and not pushy.

Tea selection is mostly japanese, but also have some chinese green, oolong, 1 yunnan gold tips, maybe some others.

They give you the tea in these sealed pretty thick plastic bags.

Very pleasant experience.

>> CLICKYDYCLICK << for Ito En Tea Reviews I made

Tea Reviews

May 10, 2006 at 1:29 am | Posted in | 12 Comments
I love tea. These are my “tasting notes”, organized by type. Some have pictures (usually of tea… :D).
tea = alternative/original/westernized name
VAR = varieties of that tea (tea) = additional varieties ^ = link to info
Thank you for visiting, enjoy…
B l a c k T e a
Just Black Tea/ unblended, unflavored, etc:
China black tea “hong cha, red tea, congou
> Qimen “Keemun^ VAR: Qimen Hao Ya (A, B), Qi men Mao Feng “Hair Peak”
> Yunnan “Dian Hong^ VAR: Yunnan Black, Yunnan Gold, Yunnan Gold Tips
> China ‘true black’ tea “hei cha” VAR: Fu bricks, Liu an, Liu bao
> Assam^, Darjeeling^, Ceylon^, Nilgiri^, Sikkim
Black, Blends:
> English Breakfast tea^, Irish Breakfast tea^
> Chai Masala^
Black, Scented/ Flavored:
> Earl Grey^
> Souchong, Lapsang Souchong^, Smokey Souchong, Russian Caravan^
> Jagertee^ = black tea + rum
oolongs, wulongs
O o l o n g ” W u l o n g” T e a
Green/ partially oxidized/ fermented wu-longs “jade oolong”
> High Mountain Oolong “Gaoshan Oolong”
> Tie Guan Yin “TGY, Iron Goddess of Mercy, Iron Buddha, Ti Kwan/Kuan Yin”
> Fo Shou “Buddha’s Palm”, “Monkey Picked
> Bao Zhong “Pouchong, Wenshan Baozhong
> Dong Ding “Tung Ting , Frozen Peak/Summit”
> Alishan “alisan wu long”
oolongs, wulongs dark, fermented
Dark/ oxidized/ fermented wu-longs “amber = baked, champagne = fermented”
> Champagne Oolong, Fujian oolong, Formosa Oolong
> Bai hao Oolong “Oriental Beauty, Dongfang Mei Ren
> Dancong “Phoenix oolong, Feng huang dan cong”
> WuYi Oolong “wu yi yan cha, rock oolong” (the WuYi & YiWu Master: MarshalN)
> Qi Lan “Rare Orchid”
> Xiao Hong Pao “Small Red Robe”, Da Hong Pao “Big Red Robe”, Rougui “Chinese Cassia”
> Shui xian “Shui Hsien, Water Sprite”
> Shui Jin Gui “Golden Turtle”
> Bai Ji Guan “White cock/rooster crest”, “White Cockscomb”
green tea
G r e e n T e a
Just Green Tea
Japan ^classification
> Sencha VAR: Shincha (1st harvest), Asamushi, Chumushi, Fukamushi (long steamed)
> Gyokuro (shade grown), Matcha (shade grown, powdered), Guricha
> Hojicha “Houjicha” (baked), Kukicha (stems), Bancha
China “lu cha”
> Longjing “Lung Ching, Long Jing, Dragon Well” VAR: ming, yu qian “1st, 2nd plucking”
> Bi Luo Chun “BLC, Pi luo chun, green snail spring”. Gunpowder
> Mao Feng “huang shan mao feng, yellow mountain fur tip”
scented mixed green tea flavored
Green Scented/Flavored/Mixed
> Jasmine
> Genmaicha^
> Touareg =green + mint + alot of sugar
> Kashmiri pink chai^ =green+baking soda+sugar/salt+sprinkled nuts …sounds good!
everyone’s favorite: pu erh tea
Pu-erh “pu’er, pu’erh, pu-er cha, pooer, po-lay, pu-lay, pooh-erh”
> looseleaf pu’er, Maocha = raw pu’er loose leaf
Shaped: tuo cha “bowl”, bing cha “cake, beeng cha”, brick
> Sheng pu “raw, green” // Shu pu “ripe, cooked, black”
here comes white teas
White Tea
> Chinese white tea “bai cha”, Indian white teas, Darjeeling.
otd tea
Ready to drink Tea “RTD, Bottled Tea, iced tea”
herbal teas
Herbal ‘tea’ Tissanes
of leaf: rooibos, mint, Kuding cha Ku Ting, Wu Tang, Bitter stalk tea, Qing Shan Lu Shui, Yerba Mate^
of flower: chamomile, rosebud, linden “lime, tilia”
of grain: barley^ “JP: mugicha, KO: boricha”
not my thing
Display teas, flower tea etc don’t like those, some have glue (i don’t eat glue, i don’t sniff glue, so …no).

Black Pearl .Lipton

January 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews | 1 Comment

What better way to start the New Year than with Lipton tea bags in my fav mug ! YAY tea !

And: since i have a ($10) scale with “+/- 0.1g precision” i did weigh the tea content of the “pyramid” teabags. its ~ 2g of “leaf”… And this leaf does contain a couple bits longer than 2mm. which may be stems. or represent the 3mm long leaf found in the lipton tea fields?


Compare leaf, left to right: Lipton black pearl, Ineeka black, Yunnan “gold” premium, Yunnan gold (YSLLC)
bottom: an oolong.
leaf size itself wont give a better flavor. just comparing manufacturer claims.

Method: 2bags in 16oz mug, 1bag 4oz, 1 bag 8oz, etc x 3-5 min, 200F water.

Flavor: not much flavor other than teabag black. some astringency and same nondescript Lipton black tea flavor (an Indian mix of some kind). depending on infusion strength tannins remain coating the mouth, sometimes give a sweet feeling…. Might have a bit more flavor than regular teabags and less of the “dusty”-“concentrated” “tannin”
as regular lipton bags… Maybe not as much flavor or tarty/tanninic as Taj Mahal, PGtips, Yorkshire Gold(my fav tbag), but none of them is “a winner” on my tastebuds. I drink it, its not really trash, but not that good.

Overall: these PYRAMIDS or the “PURE LONG LEAF” !!! did nothing to make the tea taste better. The only reason I would buy any tea bags is the “convenience” factor. throw it in a mug, 3min, throw it out, drink, wonder why didnt spend 2 more minutes to use the better tea i have (i suppose i dont want to run out of the good stuff, so i drink tbags.)

Anteadote Pure Black Tea .Adagio Teas

December 28, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Black Tea, RTD Bottled Tea, Tea Reviews, Yunnan | Leave a comment

Adagio Teas (review) 2$/ea or 24$/case of 15 + s&h, sometimes also found at Whole Foods.
Anteadote Black, Oolong, Green, White, Jasmine.

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Package: Product of China. no “organic” wording on this one… nice 🙂 the label is really crooked, rotated on a corner… (if its the chinese packing plant, they should slap them around with a large trout.)

Liquor: dark-brown, smells a little sweet, reminds me of assam.

Flavor: black tea taste about medium strength, astringency is low! feels like a sortofa mixture maybe, assam-ish something. *** apparently after a little live chat on their website, they say its just Yunnan gold black tea (oops, its there too, on teh label…i should clean my glasses, …i should buy some glasses to have some to clean) … i really have to wonder where my tea tongue is at… oh yeah, here it is:

to me it tastes like an assam/sortof wine-y, maybe if i stretch it i would place it with this Yunnan Pure Small Bud Black Tea Gold Tips from Yunnan Sourcing but this bottled tea i dont feel any tobacco-ish-ness-y in it.

The bottle label says something of ‘smooth peppery taste’ <– what the f* that means i dont know. there is no pepper of any kind in this tea, i’m pretty sure, i just went and sprinkled some on my tongue.

…after tasting, i find there is a weird little flavor i cant describe-maybe faintly medicinal, but i think its there, like in their green tea bottle.

Not much aftertaste, but doesn’t feel completely watery, some remnants on tongue and back of throat.

Overall: taste is medium, ok, not bad, if found in a store i’d buy it, but if Tejava was there… i pick Tejava Premium iced tea bottle-which is more crisp, strong, defined, astringent. should i put this one on the Favoritea Bottled tea list… well ok, there isnt much choice out there…

Jagertee .diy home made tea alcohol mix recipe

November 19, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Black Tea, Tea Reviews | Leave a comment

Jagertee definition: “black tea” + rum (it might be some mix of black teas, likely assam?), also maybe its supposed to have sugar in it, as most mixes of tea do….ok…here goes

UPDATE: 2nd try 🙂

Yorkshire Gold 2 teabags + 5-6oz water @ boil x 3-4 minutes, remove tbags, squeeze tbags a little. waited to cool (not long enough, and you can see on the glass some of the condensation)

Rum [Malibu Carribean Rum Coconut Flavor]
1 tablespoon (eye’d…)
Sugar (the rum is sweet, but i added 1 tablespoon sugar for my taste).

Taste: much better: malty, black tea taste similar to the original component tea, some of the nuances are covered/mixed with the alcohol & sugar. The “briskness”/astringency of the tea can be felt in everydrink, but its less strong than the tea without alcohol&sugar. At the end can feel the alcohol “burning” the buccal mucosa (mouth). the coconut flavor i forgot to notice it, heh, there’s another reason to re-try this again… and as you notice it was daylight…. this is not my usual routine – alcohol in the morning – but i had to wake myself up with somethin! right? right?

Overall: tea taste was present and very apparent, alcohol blended very well in this “recipe”. None of the flavors seemed to dominate the other- are able to enjoy a variety of tastebud tinglings, so i think it turned out good.

*PS: alcohol is bad, damages liver, stomach linings, direct toxic effect on some cells, hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, etc etc. Alcohol+ smoking a major cause of esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer and more. I don’t like mind altering substances, i enjoy reality as it is… Oh, you’re wondering why i had the rum… Shit. you got me….Oh wait, i know, its for educational purposes only. not that it means give it to students, students should not drink in class.

~~~~~~~~~~~ 1st try:

yunnan black [Yunnan Pure Small Bud Black Tea Gold Tips .YS] (i dont have any assam right now)
(infused a tad longer to give it some astringency)
quantity: ~ 1/4 of 4oz gaiwan (so thats 1oz ?)

rum [Malibu Carribean Rum Coconut Flavor]
quantity: i’d say ~1 teaspoon.. maybe it was too much.

result–> surprisingly most of the tea taste is gone… i dont think i sense any astringency…!… i dont know… tastes alcoholic somewhat watery… tea? what tea?
ok i think i might have had too much alcohol to tea ratio… i just dont like to spoil 4oz of good tea… ah.

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