104 Tasting Notes
While not a fan of the trend away from the prolonged withering process that made second flush darjeelings distinct from first flush teas and created the deeper, richer, ripened fruit taste I like in older second flush teas, this offering from Upton (only samples left) is tremendous. The dry leaf is a beautiful mix of sienna and silver and the aroma is so fertile, fecund, and fruity it could be used in a sachet. The infused leaf smells like honeysuckle and the taste—a near first flush delicacy of flavor that leaves a pleasing honey-lemon aftertaste.
I had to add more about this incredible tea: scent of burning cannabis coming from the cup. You can follow the different sensations as it travels from mouth to throat. Spicy on the tip of the tongue, fruity on the middle and then the tea really explodes with a deep chocolate bomb towards the back of the mouth. Truly wonderful.
Upton describes the pre-chingming teas thusly, “The festival of Chingming (Qingming) is a 2500 year-old tradition in which people visit the burial sites of their ancestors to pay respect. It is significant in Chinese tea culture because it serves as a demarcation between a distinct pre-Chingming plucking period and the subsequent plucking period occuring after the festival date (usually around April 5). Pre-Chingming teas are prized for their delicacy and subtle, fresh nuances.”
This Golden Monkey is very intense and chocolatey if steeped in the 4-5 minute range as Upton prescribes. Try a shorter infusion—only then do the subtle fruity flavors come out, revealing a glorious cup that will compel me to try other early spring teas from China.
A rating of 1, really? maybe best not to give a numerical rating to teas you don’t like altogether, because it can skew the ratings for a tea, like this sencha which IS grassy and wonderfully evocative of the ocean environment it hails from. I’ve had many cups of this sencha and, for those who like this type of tea it is one you can really sink your teeth into. Keep the water below 190 and steep for 2.5 minutes max and you’ll avoid any bitterness.
Drinking this for the first time and impressed by the reliability of the CNNP mark. The cake is smooth and the leaves are relatively small which makes the unmolested cake look like a piece of beautiful marble. I’m immediately struck by a light effervescence in the broth that tingles my mouth and adds a pleasant dimension to the sweet brew. A little cherry tobacco aftertaste rounds out the sensation. An affordable, quality pu-erh that will only get better.
I made my way through this fine cake in the past two years and it just got better and better. The sweetness seemed to intensify and the already heavy, mellow body just got thicker and soupier. Yum! I think a reorder is in store. As an afternote, I like dealing with The Puerhshop.com because they never misrepresent their product.
I ordered the organic version of this tea rather than my usual Kenilworth and I’m quite pleased with the selection. Whereas I find the Kenilworth to be a classic Ceylon, the Greenfield surprised me with an Assam or Yunnan-like richness that I wasn’t expecting. 4-4.5 minutes seems spot on for this tea and I’ glad to see the tea doesn’t break down or get bitter after sitting in the cup for a while.
I’ve enjoyed many cups of this tea and almost always replenish when it’s gone. Why? It’s not trying to be something it’s not, like some Assams I know. It tastes the way a proper black tea should, with enough interesting flavor notes of dried fruit to keep me coming back again and again. If you like this, Upton has an organic Greenfield Estate Ceylon that is quite nice.