Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Min River Tea (However it’s no longer available)
Hailing from the foothills of Huang Shan’s eternally misty peaks, Tai Ping Monkey King is one of China’s most distinct green teas. The mellow and refreshing Monkey King is processed from a special cultivar prized for its large leaves. Its leaves are individually flattened resulting in the typical often finger-long blades featuring a beautifully deep green colour.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
Looks like I’m a little late to the game; Min River Tea has closed up their virtual doors and this tea is no longer available for sale – however I’m still going to review it because I think that even though you can’t buy it anymore you can certainly learn from it!
Personally; I’m way out of my comfort zone here. Not only am I not really big green tea person in general (though that is slowly changing) apart from roaster greens and matcha, but I’ve never had a Tai Ping Houkui before – though the concept has interested me for a long time. Personally, I think the dry tea leaves are one of the most visually interesting and stunning of ANY tea type.
For my first tasting of this I went with a cold brew, purely because my mason jar I use was the only brewing vessel I could think of that was actually deep enough for the very long leaves – each one is nearly an inch longer than my finger, though I do have tiny baby hands so maybe that’s not saying much. I didn’t really know how much leaf I should be using for a cold brew; in the end I wound up using six or seven of the long, steamed leaves.
I’m thinking that was pretty too lightly leafed; the taste was subtle and watery. Although, there were some differences though! The liquor was a very pretty, pale green and the taste was clean and grassy with some light seaweed seaweed notes and some sharpness. There was also a touch of sweetness that reminded me of honey. Honey and green tea is a great pairing; so it definitely worked.
I can’t say that I necessarily loved it, but I also didn’t hate it and to be perfectly fair I was also a little bit strained tasting it too. I definitely plan to repeat this cold brewing process again with more leaf to see how that changes the flavour and my impression.
I’ve also heard about the tea leaves ‘dancing’ when brewed hot so that’s something I’m eager to try as well! For now, I probably wont seek out this tea type but should it happen to find its way to me through a swap or something like that I’m definitely going to be very receptive to the chance to try different company’s take on this one.
As someone who’s done so little exploration into the world of green tea there’s always something really fascinating to learn and taste! I hope to grow to love the taste of this tea type enough to want to put more effort into tapping into that pool of knowledge.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas
Grown near the Huang Shan mountains in the southern Anhui Province, Keemun in China, this tea is a relatively strong. Subtle notes of cocoa, leather, dried plum and wet earth can be noted.
This is a stunning Keemun: full-flavored and delicious, but with a somewhat softer approach. Many Keemun teas are very bracing, this is not quite as bold but at the same time manages to maintain a gentle strength that I am really enjoying.
My first reaction to the taste of this tea is “wow! Smoky.” But as I continue to sip, I realize that it is less “smoky” than it is almost charcoal-esque. Not that it tastes as though I’ve steeped some of charcoal briquettes or anything, but it has that sort of essence about it.
It is a very earthy and masculine tasting tea, but underneath these assertive flavors is a wonderful sweetness. A molasses-y sweetness! I also get the flavors as described in the product description above. I taste notes of a savory cocoa, a rustic leather, sweet dried plum and damp earth.
Together, it becomes a deliciously complex cup of tea. At first reaction, I was a bit uncertain about this tea, but now, as I am finishing the cup, I am realizing just how good this really is. It’s good for multiple infusions too!
Another remarkable tea from Butiki Teas! I expected no less!