drank Golden Blend by Harney & Sons
3411 tasting notes

This sample came from the lovely Nicole. I was unsure which teas are in this blend, so I looked it up on their website: apparently it’s golden monkey mixed with Assam. I don’t really have any experience with Assam, but it seems like (judging from other people’s notes) that it’s generally a very bold and strong type of tea. The dry leaf here looks similar to other less-tippy Yunnan teas – small, thin black leaves with just a few tips included. Normally, this would make me less excited to try it, as generally the less-tippy Yunnan teas have that heavy earth/mineral flavor, but since I know it’s golden monkey, I know this won’t be the case. Hooray! I don’t get a ton of dry scent from the leaves, just a sense of sweet stonefruit. I did my usual 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

Hmm, I can definitely smell the Yunnan here, the brewed aroma has plenty of malt with baked bread and apricot notes. It’s been a while since I’ve had Golden Monkey from Harney, but I remember enjoying it quite a bit.

This tastes chiefly of raw, chewy grain to me, which is not a bad thing! I’m reminded of all the Shang teas I’ve tried lately. There’s definitely malt and a little bit of a stonefruit essence. I get quite a bit of earthiness, but it’s not mineral or smoky, so it’s a nice mellow earth taste. There’s just a little bit of a rich molasses flavor that pairs nicely with all of that graininess.

Overall, I can’t really differentiate between the two teas, which I guess means they go well together. It’s been too long since I’ve had the Golden Monkey plain! Someday, I’ll explore Assams… ;)

Flavors: Earth, Grain, Malt, Molasses, Stonefruit

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Yes! Come on an Assam Trek with me! :P It will be funnnnn!

Cameron B.

Well technically I did order two Taiwanese Assams from Butiki! :)


That’s a start! XD

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Yes! Come on an Assam Trek with me! :P It will be funnnnn!

Cameron B.

Well technically I did order two Taiwanese Assams from Butiki! :)


That’s a start! XD

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include piano, knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, planners, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby-related things… ;)

- March Sipdowns: 37
- Total 2023 Sipdowns: 117

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I steep Western style, and fluctuate between using big mugs or small teapots depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I’ll also often use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, oolong, and herbal varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, and honeybush. I love matcha and drink it often! Fruit tisanes are not a favorite, but I’m always willing to try them.

I do not sweeten my teas, and pre-sweetened teas are usually too sweet for me. I also do not enjoy stevia.

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura, chamomile, and elderflower. Osmanthus is also a favorite of mine. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Companies:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts
The Chai Box

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age or scent contamination.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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