Sunday, July 15, 2012

Golden Monkey Tea : "The Emperor's Finest"

    Tea generally is very much a pleasure as should be a beverage with as much quality as one might expect in fine foods. My quest to find a tea of the highest calibre has stumbled on to this lovely little beauty (thanks to Teavivre!) that I acquired a small but manageable sample of this Golden Monkey tea directly sourced from Fuding, China. A bit of a long ways, took about a good four weeks before arriving at my doorstep to much of my anticipation for a Golden Monkey than settle for a twenty dollar investment at an expensive-upselling  establishment in nearby mall! I never had Golden Monkey tea from Teavivre before but subsisted instead for a twenty dollar per two ounce tea that goes tannic too quickly, becomes way too stringent and hardly brews multiple infusions.
        A disappointment but not unexpected! Teavivre's Golden Monkey however is entirely composed of  tippy young leaves that are whole or cut with golden tips that yields a crisp, chocolaty, and earthy flavor ( to much of my liking to Yunnan teas).  The first cup was brewed with the usual two-hundred and eight degree water that imparted on an sweet but earthy aroma on the leaves (reminiscent of Assam tea), an amber almost golden color.
                                    Beautiful is it? A light amber hue with the grace of dancing leaves then....

                         a transition to a warm, flavorful and nurturing liquid that does wonders after a bad day

           At five minutes into the brew, the color changed into a deep amber color with an aroma of sweet, earthy layered flavor that really gives the tea character( or characters) one might find unsuspecting in this Golden Monkey.  A kick of Spiciness that adds flair to appeal to complement a savory tea that does wonders to a drinker's palate, while the liquor itself was a bit astringent but not bitter, smooth on the palate, with hints of cocoa, layered earthy and foilage characteristics, slightly sweet and  irony notes that reminds one of drinking Yunnan grown teas. Bottomline: Age and relative youth one will expect from this tea, pu-erh likeness with an Assam and unique characteristics normally not found in common black teas.


             The leaves also shares the best characteristics of a great tea, here we see a mixture of cut and whole leaves that preserves much of the flavor it has though a whole leaf would bring a much brighter character. The best part of it all, the leaves even brewed in multiple successions still hold resilience and strength at a fingers touch unlike other tea leaves that would have fell apart with rough handling. The combination of young leaves that owes a bit of strength, it imparts the best flavor and quality one might expect from such a tea that is well renowned by dignitaries, emperors, and noblemen.

    Versitility: 65; Not really meant to be blended at all, flavored, or tampered with by any means due to much of the flavor being earthy and the lack of complementing flavors that goes well with soil! Its for the most part "already flavored"...well naturally that really has no need for additives, however a blend with different teas in the earthy department should be recommended but expect a deeper Pu-Erh like qualities.
Golden Monkey for the most part is a great tea all around for anyone as long they love a medium, earthy, and smooth tea.
    Tastes: 90; this monkey is terribly exquisite and enjoyable with as much depth of Pu-Erh, qualities of standard Assam tea in maltiness and a starchy flavor akin to sweet potatoes. Its really a great compromise between the two teas, it gives the tea almost an aged quality with a sweet savory character that bests complements any meal, and can go well "cuppa style" albeit screening natural flavors.

    Palate: Aged to perfection thanks to its earthy qualities moderated with sweet notes of starchiness. Its accented with cocoa like properties that gives a drinker a smooth, fulfilling and very comforting taste, highly smooth at the palate, full and rich midway to a finishing cocoa velvety finish.

    Drinker Friendliness: 7.5; this tea can be highly welcoming to most drinker's beginning to savor loose leaf teas, and connoisseurs alike! It has much of the best properties of Assam that most people has come to love at the same time introduces a rich earthy yet moderated and mellow flavor that can be quite favorable to most people without thinking its mud water! Its also a nice introduction into Yunnan grown teas and maybe into Pu-Erh teas that if one were to love soily and rich teas, Pu-erh would be a natural choice afterwords.

                                                                   Final Word
      Golden Monkey is far more that a potential but a great tea with alot to give for, rightly priced for expert cultivation and harvest, with as much young flavorful leaves, and highly renowned by any whom with a tastes for the different. While this tea won't be hitting the average store shelf, it has qualities with most peoples experiences in black tea to love drinking this tea plain as its naturally sweet and flavorful enough. Golden Monkey, truly golden but not a monkey!

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