The Yunnan province is will known for its teas, most of the pu-erh production in in that province, and the teas there are pretty renoun. I've had Yunnan Gold from Jon Singer in packets he bought from Imperial Tea Court ("Liralen, you HAVE to taste this!"), and it always epitomized what "tea" should taste like. No bitterness, just enough tannin, a rich complex gold (no nuts or cream/butter tones, just... what I've always thought gold should taste like) and that underlying taste that simply is tea, comfort and gentle stimulous and a complexity of sweetness and depth that I've always loved. We'd brewed at sea level in a Yixing pot that I had though to use for white teas, but it worked so well with this that I have kept it for that. I should dig that pot up again.
This sample had something to live up to.
Water Temp: Full Boil (at 5000+ feet that's about 200 degrees Farenheit +/- a few, at sea level it should be about 212, which might bring out more of the complexities) in my Russell-Hobbs.
Brewed: 2 level teaspoons 4 minutes on the dot in a Chatsford 16 oz pot with 12 ounces of boiling water, all under a cozy as well to keep what heat there was in.
Leaf scent: Tannin and wood loam and rich body
Leaf appearance: Gold through and through
Liquor: Deep gold, no red hints or yellow or green, just deeper gold than yellow could be.
It was the richness that I remembered. Not quite as strong or as deep, but I might blame the not really boiling water, as it had enough character to remind me of what I'd been craving and it was satisfying enough. Or it was just the tin or they'd held it too long. I'll have to try this in the ingenuiTEA right out of the microwave (yeah for superheating!) to see if it's the water (though it's a balance between flattening the water by boiling it too much or the heat it can get to). Or else, hey, maybe the old teaman was right... my taste buds have wasted away on a diet of mostly coffee. ;-)
So I'll give it a 7 out of 10, with the original memory of Singer and I sipping and talking with Fezzik curled at my feet and the rain outside the window as the 10 of yore.
Added Aug. 7, 2005. I have a head cold, which is probably why things were so muted. I'll have to try this again and update it when I have my nose again.