I have had many great solo sessions with these two teas in the past but I had never tried them together. My hope is to learn more about how they differ.
Needles = Top Left
Golden = Bottom Right
I steeped 2 grams of each tea in two identical ceramic tea cupping sets for 5 minutes. After decanting the tea soup it was very hard to tell them apart. They both had a lovely red color and sweet, alluring aroma. In this photo the Golden Dianhong is on the top and the Dianhong Needles is on the bottom.
I took my time sipping back and forth and came up with a few subtle differences. Golden is a little stronger, sweeter, and maltier while Needles is brisker. Needles has a tiny bit more smokiness and a complex "wild side" with note of pinewood, dried fruit, and nuts. Golden has a creamier, thicker mouth-feel. Both are very smooth, satisfying black teas with loads of wonderful dark chocolate flavors.
This cupping left me with a comfortable, happy tea-buzz and a major chocolate craving.