A sublime white tea that doesn’t become bitter if you ‘forget’ to remove the leaves and oversteep for a minute or two. In fact the flavor becomes stronger – I discovered this by indeed steeping it longer than intended. The color becomes quite a bit darker after about 3 or 3.5 minutes compared to the 2 minute steep. The buds have a sublime texture and the tactile sensory feedback is very pleasant, much like the softness of a purring persian doll faced feline. The taste – equally sublime with a gentle aroma and exceptionally smooth with a fruit tinged sweetness uncharacteristic of other whites. This tea is a delicacy and a tour de force in the realm of white teas.
39 Tasting Notes
This is a no doubter, I don’t see how one is complete without the Monkey in the cupboard. If I had to take only a few things with me on a trip, this would be one of them.
This is a full flavored, absolutely delicious tea. It is the tea you remember clearly and look forward to savoring. The leaves are fluffy and elegant, with golden bud strands running through the large dark leaves, best brewed around 205 degrees for around 3.75-4.00 minutes. The aroma is almost instantaneous and unmistakeable – a high entropy laden mixture of chocolate honey flavor that brews strong and dark, and tastes much like a pastry in the morning, or dessert in the evening. Despite the declarative nature of this tea, it is soft and pleasantly round in the mouth, something noticed frequently with Fujian teas. Why anyone would put a milk or sugar of any type is beyond comprehension, this is a self-drinking tea (ok, ok, to each his/her own) with a delicate sweetness and aftertaste. While not a low cost tea, this is perhaps most worth the premium price – it is truly a premium tea
Simply delightful and closer than they suggest to the Satisphur Broken Assam. This is a bold tea with a slightly more astringent flavor than the Nahorhabi 2010, so I suggest to go a minute shorter on steeping, around 3.5 minutes at boiling. Excellent honey flavor, full body – when I want a cup of TEA (capitals intended) I reach for either this or the Nahorhabi. Great for afternoon motivation. Requires not a drop of milk or honey, though if that is your bent I’d suggest simply honey to make a sincerely round cup. This tea is more complex and sweeter smelling than many other Assams, including Mangalam varieties, which I find somewhat weak (though I very much enjoy the Mangalams with honey). There is a subtle aftertaste, but nothing like a Keemun. This one will have you licking your lips down to the last sip.
This is a very aromatic tea both dry and wet. The rose and bergamot combine to form a rather unique and fruitful partnership, something I had considered to be a potential issue when I was introduced to this blend. One does not need a heaping scoop to get the full flavor and strength from this tea, and as such my supply has lasted quite some time. I find this to be a very refreshing iced tea in the summer, needing nothing else than ice and a pitcher. I am not fond of adding sugar to this tea, as it distorts the intriguing flavor combination.
This is certainly a strong tea – I’d recommend it as a few times a week treat, surrounded by something of lighter body.
This is a good, not great, Ti Quan Yin. The leaves are rolled in traditional oolong style and the aroma is somewhat more mild than others of the same ilk. The brewed cup is a yellow-green and taste is relatively smooth and buttery with a light earthy undertone. Unfortunately I must factor the pricing into this review – it is just too much of a ‘Really?’ to ignore. For this price or even less one can get a Top Ti Quan Yin which is immediately and noticeably richer and more savory with a sweeter floral accent and brighter aroma. That said this tea does feel full and soothing on the tongue and I find it better suited to evening consumption 30 minutes or so after a light meal, paired with some biscotti (almond and chocolate hazelnut IMO).
I believe my Ti Quan Yin purchases will be elsewhere based upon what you get for the price here.
This tea uses what appears to be CTC assam in the blend (maybe with others) which results in a deep red brew, only held back in darkness by the few darjeeling leaves. The tea is both fragrant and vibrant, though not as full of body as I expected. Nonetheless this is a solid cup of tea that does not require significant steeping time and will satisfy those who are rather strict in their like for a classic tasting moderate to full black tea. I find that I cannot consume a significant amount of this tea like I can for most congous, as it brings to mind the comparison of rich chocolate satin cake, for which one is satiated after a few bites and must wait some time before the desire returns.
This blend also makes a good, dark iced tea which is excellent with fresh orange slices.
This is a simple tea that will neither dazzle nor disappoint, but will not supplant your morning startup cup or take the place of those you crave. The tea is medium bodied and lighter than black teas from other regions. The flavor is muted malt with a hint of spiciness, and it brews quickly to almost an Assam-like red hue and aroma, but certainly not as full in the mouth as an Assam. I do not find myself drinking this tea at the expense of others in my cupboard but instead have become rather fond of using this tea as a component in black and black/green blends, especially japanese sencha. Due to its lighter body, it has turned out to be excellent for blends that include safflower, sunflower, tropical fruits, citrus, marigold, among others. This translates into some interesting and refreshing iced teas that do not consume your more expensive teas which are best served hot.
The leaves are long and rather aesthetically interesting – a mixture of frosted green with lighter down-covered leaves populate the tin. As far as aroma of dry teas go, this is a clear favorite, it is simply delicious to smell. The leaves brighten as they brew, to a lively green-yellow that is slightly brighter than tea, which makes for an attractive setup. The aroma in the cup is rather pleasant as well. I find this tea to be very elegant, not at all buttery and just mildly earthy. The brewed color is a light pale translucent green – but be on guard, it steeps quickly and does not get darker. The body has the feel of a medium tea in the mouth, and is rather crisp and more mellow than some of the Japanese greens. This tea is a unique green and one I intend to have in constant supply.
This is plainly a very satisfying first cup of tea. It is extremely smooth with a subtle but declarative scent and a medium-full body taste in the mouth. While I prefer the Nahorhabi 2010, this is a very solid Assam. I have shared this with many coworkers, some of whom drink tea and others who are coffee drinkers, and they all enjoyed it. I suspect this tea will be enjoyed by many, not as an absolute favorite but certainly a reliable cup.
The leaves are a very fine dark brown with just a few grays to represent the experience contained in this tea. At once one will recognize the unique scent of this tea – an unmistakable smokiness beckons your sip. My first reaction to this tea was strongly towards a similarity to some coffees, but after about a cup and thinking about why this connection rose into my consciousness, I realized this was so because the distinctive taste stays with you as you exhale, especially through the nose. Coffee has a similar effect, a lingering aftertaste. The taste, however, is not that of coffee, there is a cocoa note underwritten by the tea’s characteristic smokiness. I had not previously been fond of Keemun’s but this is rather an exception, the swift kick it gives has grown on me and I drink this tea when I need to concentrate or get moving.
This tea has a pleasantly surprising smoothness for a dark Assam and while not completely immune from going bitter, it takes a good deal of steeping amnesia for this to happen. Despite really letting loose on this one – pouring a full boil and even a spoon squeeze of the leaves after 4 minutes, it still brewed strong but with rich yet balanced, enjoyable flavor with some natural honey-like sweetness. This cup epitomizes a deep cup of tea – dark brewed with unmistakable character that declares its quality above many other black teas. The experience is unforgettable enough that I was able to remember the name of the estate and recommend this Assam to others while it is still available.
I have enjoyed this tea iced as well in the summer months – brewing it strong in quantity but not increasing steep time. It pairs well with light, sweet citrus.
This is currently my preferred Assam, though I have ordered some of the new Mangalam and Satisphur varieties and will testify for those once they arrive.
For those that like a darker oolong, this tea will not disappoint. The leaves resemble Da Hong Pao in appearance, though somewhat lighter colored with hints of an evergreen tone, and slightly thinner. The aroma of the dry leaves is rather pleasing and I imagine they’d do just fine as a component of a potpourri. The scent is of an elegant toasted dried peach liqueur and is rather inviting.
For this tea, I use almost boiling water and steep for a good 4-5 minutes. Unlike other oolongs it takes the hotter water quite well and returns a beautiful amber colored brew that is aromatic. It is somewhat similar in appearance to Wuyi Cassia as it is from that region, but has a more robust flavor with a satisfying bite (but not astringent) if one prefers a deeper steep. The tea fills the mouth shyly with a medium body and leaves behind a soothing finish. I find I favor this tea in the autumn and winter and tend to gravitate towards the lighter Ali San or Ti Quan Yin varieties in spring and summer, though the flavor is enough to satisfy any season.
As with all teas I consume, I do not use milk or sugar, and prefer to gain my insights from the pure tea itself. This no doubt is an insightful tea.
The tea brews a translucent pale yellow-green and has a distinctive and inviting buttery floral scent. The leaves are rolled and need space to expand so using a strainer or pyramid is recommended over the common paper type filters. I use a kettle with a temperature gauge and set it to the front of the oolong range for this tea, which is just right. The taste of this tea I describe as savory and it coats the mouth with the buttery earthy flavor characteristic of some of the high mountain oolongs. I was able to get two steeps out of my first bag with the second being slightly more intense on the earthy side. For those that like floral or earthy oolongs this is a privilege to drink, and quite a welcome departure from firm leaf varieties like wuyi cassia or da hong pao, from which I need a short break.
Not for the faint of heart with respect to price – but because the rolled leaves expand to a great degree, just a few are needed for a perfect cup. I just re-upped and ordered another batch, as some family members also took a keen liking to this tea, which we sipped in the evening as a way to relax and put the day behind us.
This tea has grown on me once I found the brewing parameters which bring out the best in it. I find that using a little more than a teaspoon at just under 4 minutes of steep time at just under boiling works best to bring out the delectable flavors hiding in this tea. Using these parameters reveals a subtle fruit tone enveloping a truly high quality classic black tea taste without the bitterness or sting associated with some oversteeped attempts. Brewed appropriately this tea will have me licking my lips after the first few sips. It will dent the wallet but I find the tea to be a rather refined and delicate cup that I simply must have in supply.
This tea is difficult to ice – I have not had much success, preferring other congous such as the panyang. Perhaps adjusting the iced steep parameters will bear better results, and if so I will post such. That said, after mastering the brewing settings this tea has moved into my top 5 and has become a daily enjoyment due to its incredibly smooth finish and heir of sophistication. Good over a book or contemplating non-stressful things.
This was recommended in the absence of one of my favorite H&S teas, Golden Snail, which is not available for the time being. The leaves are large and resemble Golden Monkey leaves in both size and texture. I like to use a larger amount of leaves for larger or full leaf teas and steep for less time, as this allows for a second steeping of high quality. That said I left these in about 4 minutes to generate a darker tone and I was rewarded – there is a very pleasant honey cocoa aroma reminiscent of the golden monkey but this tea is a little lighter and less intense on the tongue. There is less of a bite – and I am pleased to describe how smooth the tea remains after a more intense steep. There is no smokiness or astringency.
This is a very enjoyable second cup of morning tea for me (I like to start the day with an Assam or Assam blend). It also works in early evenings when one has some time to contemplate. A very enjoyable, well-mannered tea.