Review: Green Hill Tea Golden Monkey

Black Tea, Green Hill Tea Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"A Fujian tea with golden tips, much like a Dian Hong, but perhaps not quite as satisfying. Nonetheless, it is incredibly smooth, delicately sweet and perfect on the palette."
Dan’s Teaview: 8/10
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greenhillgoldenmonkeyGolden Monkey tea is one of my favorite types of tea. It generally comes from the Fujian province of China, but sometimes from the Yunnan province as well (this particular tea comes from Fujian) -- the latter makes sense, as Golden Monkey highly resembles the uber-fine Dian Hong (aka Yunnan Red) tea, which is my absolute Number One choice for a cuppa. The tea is comprised of the harvested bud and first leaf each spring. According to the lore, the name of this tea is derived from the fact that monkeys were trained to perform the specialized picking conditions -- namely due to the terrain in which the teas are grown, which was difficult to access for the average human, apparently.

The dried leaf is, not surprisingly, peppered with golden buds, mixed with darker mahogany tea tones. The golden tips obtain their color during processing. The aroma of the leaves is gorgeous - again, very similar to Dian Hong in aroma - a sweet-yet-earthy scent, hinting of umami.

The brew produces a beautiful yellow-golden cup. The potency of the aroma becomes tempered in the brew, but more strength comes right back in the flavor. Green Hill recommends a 3-7 minute brew using fully-boiling water. The first 4-5 cups I utilized my default recipe for Dian Hong and other Golden Monkey teas: a scant 2 minutes, boiling water, and 1.5-2 tsp of tea. This produced a terrific cup - incredibly smooth flavor, delicately sweet and perfect on the palette. By utilizing a two-minute brew, this produces 3 equally-wonderful infusions, thus stretching the tea three times further than a single cupping.

How would a full 7 minute brew compare? Naturally, I had to find out. And surprisingly, the results are not as satisfactory. Somehow, the flavors seem even more full in the shorter steepings. And, as suspected, the full 7 minute brew does not produce multiple satisfactory steepings, as does a shorter 2-3 minute one.

Green Hill's Golden Monkey is not quite as satisfying as a true Dian Hong, but it is a nice, refreshing alternative, that incorporates that heavenly flavor with a more straight-forward (Assam?) black tea flavor. For those who are used to craving the chocolate notes or subtly-sweet intensity of a Yunnan Gold, this may not satisfy.

— To purchase Green Hill Tea Golden Monkey, 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.

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