Yunnan Black Treasure is a Great Fall Brew

Tea :      Yunnan Black Treasure (Formerly China Black Special)

Producer:  Teasource

Website: Yunnan Black Treasure

Website description: 

This tea was formerly called “China Black Special.”  Tightly curled black and gold leaves steep up full and hearty, but without the astringency. Buried in the earthiness is a malty, sweet allure that always hits the spot.  Produced in the spring of 2023 in Mangbai Village, Cangyuan County, Yunnan Province. It’s a one bud, one leaf pick from a local cultivar growing at almost 6,000 feet. This tea is also known as Hong Luo or “Red Snail” (due to its appearance).

Brewing Specs

Water:  240 ml/ approximately 8 oz

Temperature: 208 F

Steep Time: 5 minutes for 4 gm

My Review System:

My Overall Impression (Score of 85.5 %)

As we move to colder weather, we naturally crave heavier foods such as roasted meats, stews, etc.  It’s only natural that our beverage choices act the same.  I sampled this brew from Teasource and was a bit skeptical at first.  I’m not a big tannin fan so brewing tea at 4 gm for 5 minutes is a heavy extraction. 

I should not have worried.  This tea is fantastic.  Beautiful rich deep malt flavor with integrated tannins makes this a wonderful selection.  While you can enjoy it by itself, this will pair wonderfully with stews, wild game options or after a rich meal to clean the palate.  Definitely one with the price point to enjoy.

The price as of 10/3/23 is $6.24 for 56 gm or 2 oz.

Broken down:

  • 56gm / 4 gm for steeping = 14 cups
  • 14 cups from package = $0.45 per cup

Typically, I double steep all my teas (use the tea twice) so I can get 28 cups or approximately 23 cents per cup.  Please note that this is a big brew that can be brewed multiple times to bring the cost down even further.


  • In the bag, it shows lovely tobacco aromas with deep toasted malt. Reminded me of cigars in a humidor.
  • There is no fruit or vegetables but a hint of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon at the end of the profile.
  • Once brewed, the tobacco notes shine with the toasted oak essence malt with faint hints of cigar smoke.
  • It also shows hints of pine resin and rosemary (possibly juniper).


  • This shows big, toasted oak with small hints of tobacco and hints of cocoa.
  • Even though it’s dry, it does show smoked caramel notes.
  • Under the oak are hints of rosemary and thyme springs.
  • On the palate, this has a soft inviting mouthfeel with big tannins over the profile.
  • The acidity is high but works well to ‘rinse’ the palate clean of the tannins, making it refresh.


  • Aromas (4.3/5)
  • Flavors (8.4/10)
  • Overall impression (4.4/5)
    • Total score = 85.5 percent (17.1/20)

Foods to Pair and Why

  • It’s about to get colder here and all that I could think about was Lamb with Rosemary for this pairing. Now, you could do grilled lamb chops (NO MINT JELLY) with some roasted winter squash.  You also could debone a lamb leg, clean out the connective tissue, stuff the cavity with fresh herbs (oregano, thyme), parsley and garlic and roast until medium rare.
  • I would love to serve this with cold 5 spice smoked sauteed duck breasts over pureed winter squash and rutabagas.
  • My mind kept thinking to pull out my tagine and use it for winter vegetables cooked in a Moroccan Style.
  • One recipe I would love to try is a grilled ribeye served as a steak salad over bitter greens like radicchio.
  • While the above ideas are a bit complicated, we can keep this simple by making a lovely rich beef stew.
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