|"This tea is subtle, but earthy and brisk (Lipton, eat your heart out)..."|
I have ended up guarding my sample like the treasure it turned out to be. The twisted, hairy, golden leaves are beautiful. The dark red liquor is beautiful. The unabashed pure tea fragrance is beautiful. Yunnan is the home of Pu-erh, but that's not all they do with their tea. I've found references to Yunnan Gold and Yunnan Pure Gold teas. The leaves undergo a labor-intensive process called "pile fermentation" and they turn a brilliant golden color, instead of black. Organic Golden Monkey appears to be somewhere at the top end of that family.
It handles multiple infusions with continuing rewards and has a deep, sweet character all its own. The customary one teaspoon, 5 minutes, 212 degree water seems to work fine at all stages, from first infusion to fourth and fifth. The tannins are present, but seem satisfying and almost peppery rather than astringent. They leave a mouth feel that seems as though one could chew the tea. This is the closest I've found to a tea with umami, that savory satisfaction found in beautiful, rich proteins like meats, cheeses and mushrooms. This tea has an unctuous presence that lingers long after the cup is empty.
I received Organic Golden Monkey as a sample from Teas Etc. They have a lovely program of sending samples of three of their teas if you ask them nicely. I won't tell you how to do it in this review, but a real tea fan will explore the Tea Views Forums and find the reference. Tell them Tea Views and I sent you, and that I'll be back to purchase some of this next payday. At $16.95 for three ounces (40 cups), it is a worthwhile investment. Even at $72.35 for a pound I would be thrilled. Truth is, the price is excellent when compared to other shops. Not inexpensive, but the best of anything seldom is. Organic Golden Monkey is worth every dime.
» Read more about this reviewer on Patty's profile page.
» Find a list of recent posts by Patty.