Golden Monkey from Tea N Joy. . ..

I’m not always the right tea taster for the special harvest, unflavored tea samples, as much as I wish I were overjoyed about a pu erh cake or a shade-grown green tea.  That said, I’ve definitely come to enjoy black teas with golden tips, so I was excited to brew up a cup of Golden Money from Tea N Joy.

It’s hard to resist an animal-inspired tea name.  I’ve tried oolongs called “Monkey-Picked” because of the treacherous areas where the trees grow. Golden Monkey sounds like a tea named for a beautiful blond-haired monkey.  This tea is actually named for the golden tips of the tea, and the fact that the leaves are sharply curved, like monkey claws.

Brewed, this tea is smooth and chocolatey, even after only a short brew.  The tea doesn’t taste exactly a chocolate bar, but there is a distinct sweet herbal flavor that brings to mind dark chocolate.  On my second steep, I gave the leaves a longer steep time, and even with the added brew time, the strength of the cacao notes don’t overpower the silky, mellow black tea base.  This tea is full and rich, very drinkable with lots of subtle sweet flavors that open up the more you drink.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a tea connoisseur, do yourself a favor and try a cup of Golden Monkey from Tea N Joy.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tea N Joy
Description: Golden Monkey Tea is hand-processed each spring with a careful plucking of only one leaf and one bud. It is among the finest Chinese Black Teas available today. A rich, full-bodied Tea. The name comes from its unique appearance: the leaves resemble monkey claws. Sweet and very ‘nosy’ with the aromas of: savory roasted apples, cocoa and spice notes that linger as you sip. Rich, coating texture and very smooth, soft mouth-feel. Delicate, almost indistinguishable astringency.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ma Liu Mie the Monkey King and Monkey Picked Oolong from Teavivre

There’s a lot to take in with a name like Taiwan Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea, but the most exciting part is “Monkey-Picked.”  What?  Really?  There were monkeys involved in getting this tea from the tree to my teapot?  According to legend, the steep cliff-side where this tea is grown is too treacherous for tea farmers to reach the leaves, so they trained monkeys to pick the leaves for them.  Ma Liu Mie is an honorable nickname for this tea used by the locals, as well as the name of the tea-picking Monkey King of legend. Read more about the tea under the “more info” tab here.

My first impression of this tea is that the leaves are small and dense, not cut or broken, but simply in a different shape than the long curls of black tea I’ve come to expect.  Dry, this oolong smells pleasantly earthy with a bit of stone-fruit sweetness like raisin or apricot.  I followed the recommended brewing instructions, using very hot, boiling water and a hefty serving of tea leaves.

At first sip, I notice strong roasted flavors.  However, this tea is not full-on smoke-flavored like lapsang souchong, instead it is more complex, like the perfect warm, golden-char flavor of eating food cooked over a campfire.  There are some of the aged, fermented notes I tend to associate with pu erh, but they are much more gentle and less sour. This type of earthiness is concentrated and layered, with notes of toasted grains, warm woods, and new leather.
On a day-to-day basis, I drink tea that is drinkable and easy-going.  I have to be in the right mood to want a bold, smokey lapsang souchong, or a challenging, fishy pu erh.  This Monkey Picked Oolong is a perfect compromise between all three.  It is so much more than a basic breakfast tea, but it is not so sour or smokey to bowl you over.  It is gentle and earthy, smooth and toasted, and it has a well-earned, legendary reputation.

How could you not give Monkey Picked Oolong a try?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teavivre
Description:

Using Taiwan autumn tea as material, this Monkey Picked Tie Guanyin carefully selected by TeaVivre is baked slowly by soft fire (the baking process falls into three steps and every step lasts two minutes). The degree of fermentation is 100 percent so that the dried tea can keep a long-lasting fragrance. After brewing, the smell of honey peach and the baked flavor can be perfectly appreciated and the beverage tastes gorgeously smooth.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Golden Monkey Champagne Black Tea from 52Teas

Golden-Monkey-ChampagneTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Here’s an awesome Golden Monkey black tea blended with marigold petals and organic champagne flavors. Not only that, each pouch contains a unique fortune for 2015. We are only making 70 of these, so get yours today.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve had a sip of champagne.  As I’ve said before, I’m just not all that big on drinking alcohol.  (I’m a TEA-totaler!)  But this Golden Monkey Champagne Black Tea from 52Teas is a nice way to enjoy some ‘champagne!’

First of all, I have to mention the fortune!  What a fun idea!  I liked opening the pouch to discover what my fortune for 2015 will be.  Here’s what mine said:

This year: someone will do something “for all the tea in China” and then have a monopoly on Chinese teas.

Yeah, it’s a little corny and silly, but it’s fun.  It’s a little ‘out of the box’ and that’s what I’ve come to love about 52Teas – the whole concept is a little out of the box!  A different tea every week?  That’s a little crazy!  But it’s crazy good!

And that’s why I want to keep 52Teas going.  Check out my Kickstarter campaign and help me keep this company going – I need your support!  Every little bit will help!

But, let’s talk more about THIS tea, shall we?

The base of this tea is a Golden Monkey, and it’s delicious!  It’s rich, robust, and full-flavored.  It has chocolate-y notes along with that earthy, leathery flavor that I’ve come to love about a Golden Monkey.  A hint of smoke in the distance.  Undertones of caramel.  It’s very smooth and has a pleasant, thick texture to it.  There is some astringency at the tail but it doesn’t disrupt from the enjoyment of the overall flavor.  It’s not bitter.  It’s just really, really LOVELY!

The champagne flavors have been added in a smart way – they don’t go overboard.  They’re not too much.  It has a light, champagne-y flavor that complements the overall tea.  I can taste the champagne but more importantly, I taste the nuances of the Golden Monkey and when you have a tea like this Golden Monkey – you WANT to taste it!  I like how the champagne is represented here, in a way that I can taste it (it’s especially noticeable in the aftertaste) but not so much so that it overpowers the excellent flavors of the tea itself.

This is a really enjoyable cuppa.  I’m surprised that more people haven’t grabbed this one up!  It’s a really lovely tea.

Not So Vanilla Flavored Black Tea from Tippy’s Tea

NotSoVanillaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tippy’s Tea

Tea Description:

Decadent dark chocolate and vanilla. Extremely smooth, malty and chocolatey. Hand chopped Madagascar vanilla beans add a sweet and creamy vanilla flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmmmmmm!  This is really good.  REALLY really good.

I’ve tried more than one or two different vanilla flavored black teas, and I’ve enjoyed most that I’ve enjoyed.  I can’t think of any vanilla flavored tea that I didn’t at least like.  Maybe not love, but I think that I liked most of them.

This one – though – this is one of those that stands out as an EXCELLENT vanilla flavored black tea.  What makes this one so different?

Well, I think it has a lot to do with the tea base.  It’s a Golden Monkey.  The combination of the natural chocolate-y notes of the Golden Monkey along with the sweet, creamy notes of the Madagascar vanilla bean works very well together.

The Golden Monkey is rich and slightly creamy tasting.  The aforementioned chocolate notes are bittersweet and this is a really pleasing contrast to the vanilla notes from the vanilla bean.

Another thing that makes this one different is that this doesn’t appear to be a flavored tea.  That is to say, it’s not been flavored with flavoring oils.  It’s been infused with the flavors naturally using vanilla beans rather than oils.  And this gives it a light, natural vanilla flavor rather than a synthetic one.  It’s kind of like the difference between a vanilla bean ice cream and a vanilla ice cream.  They taste similar, but there is a distinct difference that can be tasted.

That said, because this hasn’t been flavored with oils, the vanilla here is somewhat more subdued than you’d find in a vanilla tea that’s been flavored with oils.  If you’re looking for a really STRONG vanilla flavor, then you might want to try a different tea.  If you’re looking for a really GOOD vanilla flavor – you’ve found your tea!

Golden Monkey Superfine Grade – 2014 Harvest from Capital Tea Limited

GoldenMonkeyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Capital Tea Limited

Tea Description:

Young, fine and tender prominently golden tea leaves with an intensely forward aroma. These leaves produce a rich, medium bodied tea liquor with a very smooth and sweet flavour that is full of finesse. This tea has a wonderful depth of flavour and is highly recommended.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Really nice!  This Golden Monkey has a rich, full-flavor that I want in my first cup of the day, the kind of tea that will help you get a move on!

I received a sampling of this tea from a friendly sipper on Steepster, which is an excellent community of tea drinkers.  I like to call Steepster “Facebook for tea drinkers.”  Anyway, I’m so grateful to the community because it allows me the opportunity to try some teas that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to try otherwise.

Like this Golden Monkey, for example!  To brew this tea, I poured the sampling I received in the basket of my Kati Tumbler and heated 12 ounces of tea to boiling and let the tea steep for 3 minutes.

The aroma is sweet and chocolaty with notes of smoke, earth and leather.  These notes translate to the flavor as well, because that’s exactly what I’m tasting!  Notes of earth and leather, with background notes of smoke.  There is an overtone of chocolate with a sweet undertone of caramel.  Luscious!

It’s a remarkably smooth tea – I’m getting virtually no astringency.  In the aftertaste, I experience a very slight dryness, but it is so slight that if I wasn’t focusing on it, I don’t know that I would have noticed it.  It’s not bitter.  It’s just pleasant deliciousness from start to finish.

Another great tea from this company!