This tea has me confused! I think I like it. I liked trying it. But it isn’t at all what I expected.
I was trying to find a substitute for A Southern Season’s Super China Black Zhen Quo which is as smooth and mellow as a Ceylon, rich and full-bodied without being strong. Golden Monkey comes from the same general area, the Fujian province of China, Wuyi mountain region. The appearance was very similar, but Zhen Quo has a lot of fuzzy golden buds, the fuzziest I have ever seen.
I expected Golden Monkey to be very similar in taste, but it is VERY different. I expected a honey taste from the other reviews I have seen, but I didn’t expect a strong clover honey aroma and taste without sweetness. That isn’t bad, just unexpected. The tea changes as its temperature changes as well.
If you smell the wet leaves, you will note the honey aroma, almost a caramel scent, and the barest hint of smoke. As the tea in the cup cools, you can taste the smoke, but only a little.
I will have to say this is a complex and interesting tea with a lot of personality, but not the smooth and soothing cup to cradle when I need to de-stress that I was expecting. My friend who tasted it with me liked it and felt that it grew more and more like the Zhen Quo in flavor as it cooled. It is worth a try. If you love oolongs, I think this is a black tea you would love.
I think when I make this one again I will use a slightly lower water temperature, as this tea seems to delicate for a full boil.