Review: Tao Tea Leaf Golden Monkey

Black Tea, Tao Tea Leaf Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This is a black tea that doesn't bite on first sip, rather it creeps up on the drinker."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6/10, Shaiha gave it 9.2/10, Sophie gave it 7.2/10, Jamie gave it 8.75/10, Laura gave it 9.5/10
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This marks the second time I've had the pleasure of trying a Golden Monkey offering. While not as nectar-richly superb as Yunnan Gold, the first steep was still an excellent one. When a Tao Tea Leaf sample came up in review circulation, I was eager to compare it with the first I tried. Tao Tea Leaf already impressed me with their Dian Hongs and Rice Pu-erh - and broadened my horizons with mention of a Golden Assam - they were as good a sophomore steep as any.

The appearance of the leaves was as impressive as I expected them to be - small, twisty needles of gold amidst black tea browns. Their fragrance was malty, smoky, and vaguely muscatel. An untrained eye (not that mine is beyond novice) would confuse this for a Darjeeling by presentation alone.

Tao Tea Leaf recommended a lighter steep than I thought for this black tea; 185F for one-and-a-half minutes at most for the first two steeps. Gaiwan instructions differed slightly in the time. I went with the glass recommendation of 1 teaspoon in 8oz. and adhered to their infusion recommendation.

At only a minute and a half, the infusion colored to clear but bright gold with a nutty/malty nose. The flavor possessed shades of honey, caramel, smoke, and all with only a slight hint of astringency. A second steep at the same duration turned up a sweeter note on the foretaste and a creamier aftertaste. The key word here, though, is "smooth". This is a black tea that doesn't bite on first sip, rather it creeps up on the drinker. Last thing one notices, they're awake and thinking, "Mmmmm."

I preferred the second steep to the first, probably due to the higher-temp water. Not sure. Either way, this was an excellent and quick cup o' gold.

— To purchase Tao Tea Leaf 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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