|"It's a damn good golden black. "|
Golden Monkey is a Fujian Province-grown black tea that - some sources claim - inspired the birth of Keemun black tea. Golden Monkey is to black tea what Silver Needle is to white. I don't quite find it as heavenly as, say, Yunnan-grown Jin Cha (Gold Bud), but it comes pretty darn close. Two different Golden Monkey options have graced my lips. Oddly enough, though, I never found them to be that gold. If anything, they were sporadic in their gold-tipped presentation, like an autumn flush Darjeeling - still wonderful, but not pure gold. White August's Golden Monkey, however, was brighter than any I'd seen. If not for the size of the leaves (small-to-medium needles), I would've thought this was a Yunnan Gold. The brisk, malty, caramel-honey aroma was also similar.
White August's brewing FAQ recommended boiling water and a four-to-six-minute steep. I agreed with the temp (sorta), but not the time. Personal brewing preference taught me that I preferred my black teas at a three-minute steep. Yunnan Golds worked at 190F best to bring out the honey notes. I decided to do the same with this Golden; 1 heaping teaspoon in 8oz.
At three minutes, the liquor brewed oolong gold-ish but with a very strong black tea nose. I refer back to my autumn flush comparison; the aroma was something like that, malty and muscatel. Caramel was also distinctly present. The taste echoed White August's apricot comparison to the letter. In fact, this was the most boldly apricot cup I've ever tried. There was also something else about it that reminded me of candied yams dipped in honey.
A second steep - and ooooh yes, there had to be a second steep - yielded a slightly darker liquor. The aroma took on more malt than muscat grape. And the taste emboldened to match the malty scent. I was more reminded of unsweetened molasses licked by the drip, but with a bit of a dry kick. At this point, I'm just rambling. It's a damn good golden black.
» Read more about this reviewer on Geoff's profile page.
» Find a list of recent posts by Geoff.