Review: California Tea House Golden Monkey Paw

Black Tea, California Tea House Add comments
Jamie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It comes with a curious complexity that somehow makes me think of hikes in the northwest when the scent of the forest floor comes up a bit sweet and acidic with a slightly coniferous flavor to it - though not in a smoky sense."
Jamie’s Teaview: 8/10
Other Teaviews: Dan gave it 9.5/10, Vanessa gave it 7.7/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10, Lynn gave it 9.5/10
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californiateamonkeypawThe gorgeous leaf of California Tea House's Golden Monkey Paw will draw you in right away with its beautiful blend black, golden orange and olive leaves. Slender, twisty and wiry they have a sweet high scent a little reminiscent of tobacco and they begin to swell as soon as hot water hits them. I'm going to include a little background on this tea excerpted from the California Tea House website. "Golden Monkey Paw is a black tea made from the very young leaves and bud of new season growth. It originates from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province, China. With the same careful process as White Monkey Paw green tea, the tea leaves are hand picked with an artistic process to preserve the tea leaf form and then delicately steamed and dried. The leaves are then allowed a fermentation process which brings out the beautiful black and gold colors."

I used a heaped tablespoon of this leaf to an eight ounce mug of tea. California Tea House recommends two full tablespoons and I was pretty darned close to that. I brought my water to a boil and allowed it to cool for a couple of minutes before pouring and steeped close to three minutes. I should point out that California Tea House recommends a two minute steep. Be sure to have your nose nearby as you steep this tea. It's got a fine fragrance. The aroma is sweet and with a slight, pleasant astringent element that really makes for a freshness to the scent as well. The leaves swell as they steep, taking on a more uniform reddish brown coloring. The liquor brews to a reddish copper color that is very attractive as well.

My first mug of this tea I did not sweeten. Despite a strong note of astringency in the nose, the overwhelming scent and flavor of this tea is sweet. It comes with a curious complexity that somehow makes me think of hikes in the northwest when the scent of the forest floor comes up a bit sweet and acidic with a slightly coniferous flavor to it - though not in a smoky sense. I suppose a sweet, lightly acidic earthiness is kind of what I was noting. This tea is superb without any sweeteners at all. It has a courteousness about it in all regards, neither bitey nor overly astringent and needing no additions. It even leaves your mouth clean and clear tasting at the finish. Nice.

I did try a sweetened bit of this tea...though not a whole mug. I really didn't think it necessary and am glad I didn't sweeten a whole mug's worth as I found the sweetener gave the tea a bit too high pitched a flavor and masked some of the naturally sweet earthiness of the tea. I recommend trying it au naturel to start and see if you aren't as impressed as I was. Very interesting flavors and a gentle, pleasant natural sweetness make me recommend this tea highly.

— To purchase California Tea House Golden Monkey Paw, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Jamie Jamie
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