Not all Golden Monkeys are created equal.
As much as I dog on Teavana’s — the price alone begs for minor mocking, even if you’re not snooty enough to sniff at the association to the store (really I think the eyeroll factor with Teavana, for me, comes from their desperate desire to portray tea as a magic bullet cure for zapping cake-fat off of our tushes or as an ambitious panacea for the unrealistic curing of any number of other ills) — I enjoyed it. (Woo! There’s a run-on sentence for you!) I said in my tasting note for it that I wouldn’t buy it again, and I haven’t, but I considered it more than once. It was the single bake-y-est tea I’ve ever had, and once I figured out that short steep times were its friend, I found it utterly craving-worthy, if only for the aroma alone. I preferred it to almost every other Golden Monkey that I’ve had since then, by a slim margin.
This tea is another outstanding Golden Monkey, but for different reasons. It has some of that bake-y quality to it — I find it very alluring; my palate interprets this in the same way that it does bread — but pairs it together with a profile that is irresistibly Yunnan. I have been plunging my nose into my cup in search of the proper analogy for the sweetness there, and coming up short. Sweet potato is not adequate, this time, nor is raisin. Perhaps if the two got together and produced delicious, delicious love-children? Who were actually made of bread?
The tea has a very thick feeling both in the mouth and after you swallow. I’ve found in the past that Golden Monkey is easy to screw up; steep it just 30 seconds too long, and something about it takes a turn for the strangely sour or the unbearably bitter. I think the lesser amount of malt in this (vs. the Teavana stuff I’ve been comparing it to) makes it a far more forgiving cup with a delectable, umami-savory quality.
Steep two was every bit as good, and the goodness sticks around long after the cup is cold. Steep 3 is incoming, and then I really ought to stop brewing black tea for the day, lest the top of my skull pop completely off. Whoo!
Definitely going to have to pick up some of this for my very own. Thanks Auggy!
Edit: What remains in my cup (there isn’t more than a hair of tea) smells, cooled down to utterly cold, distinctly of brown sugar and nothing else.