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I recently got a bunch of dian-hong-esque teas from Adagio. My favorite tea in this realm is Chicago Tea Company’s Golden Bi Luo, and that’s become my benchmark. I’m looking for something that can beat it. Haven’t found it yet.

But Golden Monkey manages to go off in its own direction. Despite being a dark, malty brew, it has less of the molasses note that I’m used to in these teas, and more of a…what is that?

Soy sauce. I think it’s soy sauce. Mostly in the nose, and of course without the salt. There’s a rich, dark soy brew flavor in there. Surprisingly I really like it. It’s almost savory, like a pu-erh, but it’s not a meal in itself.

Actually, the flavor on the palate seems lacking to me. I used a generous teaspoon for my cup and gave it almost 4 minutes, but the mouthfeel and palate is thin and unimpressive. I wouldn’t want to steep it longer; the nose would be overpowering. Stimulant-wise, it’s definitely a morning kickstart.

It doesn’t break the Golden Bi Luo’s record, but I’ll probably get more of this. Maybe I’ll try a second steep later.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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Northampton, MA

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