Ancient Gold

Tea type
Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
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Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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20 Tasting Notes View all

  • “You know how I know I really love a tea? When it’s my first choice, several times a week. That’s how it’s been for me with Ancient Gold. When I first tried it, it struck me as a very good black...” Read full tasting note
  • “My Firefox crashed and I lost my notes. Blerg. Was just typing as I sipped so I really don’t know what all I wrote. Something along the lines of: Stout, smooth, thick, sweet, malty with...” Read full tasting note
  • “Wow, I can’t believe that I’m the first one logging this one! I think this tea just cemented Samovar in my mind as one of those must-order-from companies. I’m serious. The dry leaves are beautiful...” Read full tasting note
  • “Had this one again last night. After sampling some other yunnans, most notably the Leafspa’s yunnan, this one is missing a peppery note. But it is bold w/no astringency….And definitely more...” Read full tasting note

From Samovar

Origin: Yunnan, China
Flavor Profile: Deep and malty with hints of baked, bittersweet chocolate and raisin sugar. Lightly roasted body with a slightly sweet finish. A very balanced infusion: smooth black without milk and sugar. Brew it dark and its a real delight with milk and sugar.

Tea Story: This is a classic black tea from our friends on Jingmai Mountain, who wild-craft tea leaves from 40-foot tall trees. The women pick the tea, the men process it. Because it is certified Fair Trade, a portion of the cost of the tea goes directly back to the community. This tea is a blend of evenly cut leaves and big golden buds.

Samovarian Poetry: Black gold from the tribe on Jingmai Mountain. Wild-crafted, 1300 year-old trees deliver a smooth, fuzzy, malty brew of sweet gold.

Food Pairing: A bold flavor to match other bold flavors. Holds up against the pungent strength of cheeses and compliments the sweetness of deserts. At Samovar, we enjoy Ancient Gold with sandwiches, our quiche, scones with clotted cream and jam, and our delictable brioche bread pudding.

About Samovar View company

Samovar's is dedicated to preserving the simplicity and integrity of the tea traditions and inspiring people to practice peace through drinking tea.

20 Tasting Notes

102 tasting notes

You know how I know I really love a tea? When it’s my first choice, several times a week. That’s how it’s been for me with Ancient Gold. When I first tried it, it struck me as a very good black tea, but nothing outrageously great. Well, my perception is evolving, because whenever I’m in the mood for black tea, this is what I reach for. Even though there is a little voice in my head saying, “You just drank this yesterday. Don’t you think you should be trying X tea from the sampler you got from X company, or using up some Y tea from Z company?”, I stifle the the voice and drink Ancient Gold anyway.

I seem to be craving its rich, dark, smooth flavor. It goes well with everything. The color, the smell, the taste — they all really hit the spot. So I’m upping my rating.


If you like this a lot – may I suggest this one? It is awesome!


Thanks, Shinobicha! I am always interested in your recommendations. I’ll check it out.


You’re welcome!

Doug F

Thanks, Susan. I too love Yunnan teas and this one seems like yet another one I should try.

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911 tasting notes

My Firefox crashed and I lost my notes. Blerg. Was just typing as I sipped so I really don’t know what all I wrote. Something along the lines of:

Stout, smooth, thick, sweet, malty with chocolate and fruit, would be perfect for a breakfast time tea. With that in mind, added a little milk and sugar to my cup (Samovar says it is good so let’s try it out).

Yeah, it’s goooooood. Just a hair smoother/softer/less tannic at the end. This would be a super morning tea to take to work. Rating going up for that. Mmm.


205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Wheeeeeee. So happy you upped the rating on this. I love this one. takgoti is awesome for sharing some with me!

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187 tasting notes

Wow, I can’t believe that I’m the first one logging this one!

I think this tea just cemented Samovar in my mind as one of those must-order-from companies. I’m serious.

The dry leaves are beautiful and long, accented by gold tips. It’s very pretty, and looks pretty luxurious. And the smell… earthy and deep and delicious. I could stick my nose in the little container and sniff all day, and I’d be the happiest girl.

So I steeped this one up, and boy, does it brew dark. Pu-erh dark. In fact, a lot of things about this one remind me of a pu-erh, but in a wonderful, wonderful way. Almost like pu-erh and black tea made babies and out came Ancient Gold.

I had my nose stuck in the infusion almost as much as the dry leaves. It still smells deep and dark but now I’m smelling a raisin-sweet component and I’m salivating. SERIOUSLY. Salivating.

So I take the first sip, and my first thought is, “WHAT?” Another sip. “WHAT.” Again. This one is a surprise, a shocker, in a lot of ways, and so deep and complex… and WONDERFUL. My mind is all ajumble. And I keep pausing to sip this some more, because I just can’t get enough right now…

The front of the flavor is all earth. Rich, dark soil earth. Sort of like a pu-erh earth. Good, clean earth. Mmmm. Which extremely quickly gives way to malty robustness. But this is nothing like any malt I’ve ever tasted before. Normally I associate malt-type flavors with rough, rugged edges. This is almost elegant in its smoothness. Like I just plucked a street urchin off a back alley and pampered him up and presented him to the aristocracy. And it’s three years later and I can still pick him out in the crowd, but I’m SHOCKED at how different he is. Ridiculously smooth. Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before, in my life, pretty much.

Then there’s the slow sweetness that begins to creep up, and it’s a wonderful, deep sweetness. Like molasses or raisins. More than likely raisins. It’s not really sugary, but sweet in a very dark, multi-faceted way. Not that it’s murky, but it’s a low note. Not even a cello. A bass note.

At points there’s hints of an almost peppery-Yunnan-like taste. At other points, I’m getting an almost lapsang-like smokiness. I keep concentrating with each sip, because I’m just so darned FLABBERGASTED as to how this is all going on in a cup of tea.

The weirdest thing is that I feel like I’m even tasting things with my tonsils in this tea. Yes, with my tonsils. I cannot even begin to describe this, but towards the back of my throat I’m picking out these notes of saltiness and it’s altogether bizarre. A good salty, like salted caramel (not the caramel, but that type of sweet playing with salt). And now I’m keeping my mouth open like a fish and inhaling and exhaling, trying to feel out those notes, but since I’m pretty sure I have no tastebuds on my tonsils, I doubt I’m going to be able to make anything out.

Did I mention that it’s not astringent in the least?

As the cup is cooling down, the sweetness is becoming a bit more pronounced but still very, very deep and dark. This is the tea equivalent to dark chocolate, my favorite type of chocolate.

I can’t tell you how pleasurable and sensual this tea is. I don’t want my cup to end. So savory and rich and bottomless.

Go drink it. Nowwwwww. Now. Seriously. Oh. My. Now.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Ok, I’ll give Samovar a try…but not Nowwwwww, at least not Right Nowwwwww…maybe Laterrrrrr. Seriously. ;-))


Hahaha, you definitely should! takgoti has been trumpeting them for a very, very long time to everyone that will listen. And she’s completely right, because everything that I’ve tasted from them, even stuff that I might no necessarily like, has been awesome and amazing. Seriously top notch! Shipping is a little high, but I really think it’s worth it. And laterrrrrrr is better than neverrrrrrr. :D


Rawr, my samovar shopping list grows once again. I don’t think I’ll have to order about the shipping cost when I make my first order at this rate. AHHH Samovar’s website broke!

“Error establishing a database connection”


Ricky, I have a feeling that you’d really like this one is you’re into pu-erh-tasting tea, since this has some of the characteristics of pu-erh flavors but really is unique. Loveeee it.

And oh no! Let’s hope Samovar’s website is back up soon! Maybe they’re adding more tea?

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328 tasting notes

Had this one again last night. After sampling some other yunnans, most notably the Leafspa’s yunnan, this one is missing a peppery note. But it is bold w/no astringency….And definitely more flavor than Adagio’s Yunnan Gold and less malty than Adagio’s Golden Monkey… So I am still unsure about this one but I seem to drink it and I enjoy it…

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4843 tasting notes

This tea is amazing. As in Ahhhhh-mazzzzzzz-ing!

I ordered a sample of this tea when I placed my order for the Breville. They also included a free sample with my package, unfortunately, the seal on the sample package was broken and tea (or perhaps I should say rooibos as it was a rooibos blend that they sent me) was all over the place in the box. I wasn’t distraught about it though, because I had already tried the blend (thanks to the samovar herbal sampler deal they had some time ago), and I’m just glad that this sample was intact and unharmed.

This is quite possibly the best Yunnan I’ve yet to taste. I am getting the bittersweet cocoa notes. Smooth, deep, rich. Malty. Pleasantly sweet. Savory tones. It’s just so good. Yesterday, I was quite sad that the last of my Dawn (The Simple Leaf) was gone and I was unable to replace it – but today, I feel like I can go on without Dawn thanks to teas like this.

Awesome. Like in Ahhhhhwwwwwwe -some!

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158 tasting notes

This is one seriously strong cup of tea.

The color to which it brews is a brazen reddish-bronze. Sitting on my desk in a clear glass mug, looking down into the bottom from the top, I can almost not even see through the tea…and my cup is sitting on a white napkin on top of a blonde desk.

Trying to describe this one is going to be difficult. It’s a very savory tea, but slightly bitter. I’m not talking about the sort of bitterness that comes from oversteeped black, though I’ll readily admit that after my first sip I wondered if I hadn’t overdone the amount of tea steeped or the steep time (given this one says it can go up to 5 minutes, that seemed unlikely). It’s more like the bitterness you get when you try bittersweet chocolate or high-percentage cacao dark. That bitterness connects to a very notable taste of earth and soil and, in a development that reassures me that my impending confrontation with my fear of pu-erh may not be a total disaster, I like that earthiness. It isn’t a dry earth, it’s a moist and humid and black rich earth…and fortunately, it seems to want to do little more than play foundation for the raisiny sweetness responsible for the tea’s umami deliciousness. Rolling the tea over my tongue, I’m able to get different sensations toward the back and the sides of my tongue, flashes of sweetness or bake-y malt.

There is a slight pinch at the back of the throat that hasn’t decreased as the cup has cooled, and I’m again not sure if that’s my steeping or just the briskness of the cup itself, as this is my first time sitting down with this tea, but it doesn’t seem to want to go away. Not scratchy, not completely scratchy, but pinchy. Just a bit. It’s a very strange finish to have when the flavor profile of the cup is so completely dark and smooth.

I don’t think I would have this every day, but there are certainly mornings where I want a cup of tea that seems like it could dissolve a spoon. This one qualifies. In fact, the longer I sip it, the more I feel as though…

…you know, if tea were chocolate and not tea, then this tea would be the dark chocolate to the milk chocolate of the Golden Spring that I’ve made my staple go-to black tea. They both share the raisin-sugar mouth-watering umami deliciousness, but this tea is darker, bittersweet, earthy, full-bodied, stiff and smooth and the Golden Spring is lighter, brothy, full-bodied and made for downing in mass quantities.

Not sorry that I bought this at all. Looking forward to trying it with milk and sugar for sure…something I think the Golden Spring doesn’t quite hold up to as well as this could.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Seriously awesome log. I’m gonna have to attack my ancient gold again soon.


Oh my gosh, I had that same throat reaction as you did to this tea! SO WEIRD. I felt like, an almost salty sensation in my tonsils.

I loooooooove this one. Definitely raisin sweet and tremendously earthy, and I actually think it’s the perfect stepping stone to pu-erh. It almost tastes like a cross between pu-erh and black tea.

Also, your reviews are absolutely amazing. I so know I can trust your palate!


It was delicious! I wish more people would try Golden Spring so that I could see if the comparisons hold, but it seems pretty accurate. Your reassurance about the pu-erh thing is probably going to be enough to get me to actually try the maiden’s ecstasy this morning, whee! Here’s hoping.

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237 tasting notes

Another Samovar sampler – something strong to start the day with. The leaves are mixed dark and golden, cut into medium-small pieces. They smell of spice and roastiness, and just a hint of earth or perhaps smoke. Perfect for a fall day!

After four minutes, the liquor could fool the casual onlooker into thinking it was coffee. It’s got that same dark brown, can’t see the bottom of the cup hue to it. The aroma is malty, spicy, and sweet all at the same time, which I find very promising.

The taste has an engaging mix of elements. There’s a breadiness, cinnamon at the back of the throat, and a top note which reminds me of dried cherries. I also get a little catch on each swallow as the residual bitterness (not strong, but it is there) passes down my gullet. The main flavors though for me are bread/yeast and spice. I’m out of cream at the moment so I won’t be trying it with additives, which is fine – it’s very enjoyable as is.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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236 tasting notes

A very nice tea with a lot of depth to its flavors and fragrances. I like that it brews up very dark. It has a sweet honey taste to go with its dark cocoa and subtle earthy undertones. No bitterness, no astringency. It leaves a very pleasant dark chocolate aftertaste.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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38 tasting notes

This tea is definitely a shocker. As mentioned by other reviews, the initial outlook on this tea is that of your typical black or breakfast tea. The smell is similar to others, yet it does give off that earthy/sweet profile that makes this tea a true winner. The initial flavor profile is a bit like a breakfast blend but more earthy and pu-erh like. As it cools the sweetness and balanced flavors remind me of a more reserved version of Maiden’s Ecstasy pu-erh. Very interesting, a well rounded tea.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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639 tasting notes

Backlogging…This tea is a very nice black tea, but I’m not sure I would order it in bulk.

When I first tried it, I thought it was very bitter. I waited a day and brewed it again, this time in the afternoon. I found it wasn’t bitter at all. Maybe my drowsy, morning tongue thought this was bitter, but I can’t comfortably assign that quality to this tea now.

However, it is definitely strong! You can’t call this watery. This kind of reminds me of Twining’s English Breakfast, just as Samovar’s Breakfast Blend reminded me of Twining’s Irish Breakfast.

I can taste faint cocoa notes. But there’s definitely nothing malty in this, especially when compared to Samovar’s Breakfast Blend. Now, that tea is malty!

Nor is it particularly shocking or surprising. It’s just a good, standard black tea. But lately I’ve been preferring more subtle, white teas to loud blacks.

However, I fear I’m being a little too harsh on this tea. It’s smooth, strong, and even-tempered and handles two infusions with ease. I can readily say it’s a high-quality Yunnan.

So, don’t let me deter you from trying it out. I think it’s just not my cup of tea.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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