11 Tasting Notes
An excellent Golden Monkey offering from Upton! Caramel flavor predominates, ranging from a sort of medium intensity to very deep darker caramel notes. The dry leaves have a smell of pears, which may be an undertone to the steeped taste. Excellent as an all day, everyday tea, exceptional for relaxing and mindful tasting. Golden Monkey teas are my favorites and this one has taken the place formerly occupied by Teavana’s Golden Monkey. Steeped for 4 minutes, water at 208 degrees, 2 teaspoons of dry tea, 2.5 teaspoons of demerara sugar to 14 oz of brewed tea.
Dark honey taste, little to no maltiness but with a taste of the chocolate like the Keemuns. Tends to be thick in the mouth and very dark brown amber for first couple of steepings, and thinner and lighter colored after. No harshness but a deep flavor over all, probably due to the prevalence of tips. As enjoyable as my favorite Golden Monkey. Definitely hits the “relax” command button in my brain. Bought an entire small tin, so am glad I was right in my suspicions re this tea. Fujians seem to be a theme with me.
Continuing on with my British Sampler, and we come to this one.
There is a very faint hint of berry flavor, but then in the next sip you taste the Keemun cocoa flavor. The good thing about this blend is that it is so well balanced that none of the constituent teas takes precedence. Contrast this with the Baker Street Blend where you definitely taste the Lapsang Souchong in it. This is the kind of tea you drink continuously while working on a writing project — fill up the Zojirushi and re-steep each batch in the tea maker three or four times. It’s a satisfying cup that doesn’t distract you with “hey look at me” notes but is still deep enough to not be boring after two cups.
No astringency in first half of cup, and only slightly after that. I put in my standard 2 tsp of rock sugar but I think it needs a 1/2 tsp more. (Oh, I might want to mention that I typically drink a large mug full, 12 to 15 ounces, so the 2 tsp is not out of line. Anything less than 12 ounces is for wimps, unless you’re drinking $60 / ounce pu-erh.)
As I’m new to serious perusal of tea, please take this review with a grain of salt. Or a couple teaspoons of sugar.
This is the first of my Assam sampler pack I’ve tried and I’m beginning to connect some dots. There is a sour tang in this tea that I have tasted in the Bond Street Blend that I reviewed a couple days ago — though thankfully much less in this tea than the Bond Street! This taste must be what is called “malty”. It makes the tea quite strong, and is a taste I associate with a similarity to coffee. It’s strong enough that my standard 2 teaspoons of rock sugar barely temper it. The tea is thick tasting, and after half a cup there is only a little astringency. This may change as the cup progresses, as I’ve seen it do so with other teas as they cool.
I also noticed a very faint hint of cinnamon in the dry tea before steeping.
All in all, I’d recommend 2 1/2 tsp rock sugar or cane sugar equivalent, to help temper the strength of it.
Wow, this stuff is like coffee! Strong enough to etch metal! Quite a bit of astringency, and some hints of unsweetened dark chocolate. If this is Assam’s famous maltiness it slaps you upside the head on the way down your throat.
With 2 tsp rock sugar, no milk. Needs about 1/2 a tsp more sugar, I think.
Just got my order in yesterday and had some of this last night. I steeped it for only 4 minutes and was slightly underwhelmed, but I just steeped some for 5 minutes and that seems to do the trick. I feel prepared to comment properly now.
First off, what struck me first was the smell of the dry leaves. “Why does it smell like beef jerky?” was my immediate thought last night, and I checked again tonight to see if I’d imagined it — nope, still smells like beef jerky. Fortunately I have been reading the Harney and Sons tea guide and now I know why it does. This tea incorporates Lapsang Souchong, so that explains the smokiness. With the shorter steeping time I didn’t get the smokiness in the brew, but tonight I can taste it. I can also smell it from the brewed tea. Very interesting! I could really get to like this. I will definitely get some Lapsang sometime soon to which to compare.
This is a good “wintertime” tea, I would bet. It doesn’t have the heavy caramelly tone I’m used to with Golden Monkey but is much lighter in taste No astringency at all, not even when it begins to cool. Color is a dark amber brown.
2 tsp tea brewed for 5 minutes with boiling water, with 2 tsp rock sugar, no milk.
This is my favorite tea so far, let me show you it.
To me, Golden Monkey is the tea equivalent of a Riesens candy — caramel coated in dark chocolate. I can drown in the flavor, it seems to go on and on. Sometimes a tea will have a sour aftertaste to me, but Golden Monkey never does. It stays caramelly-chocolatey-malty. This to me is the definition of a fine black tea.
(This is not to say it will always be so, as I am just starting out on this tea thing. But right now, this is it. I am curious to see how Upton’s Golden Monkey will compare, or other Golden Monkeys from other suppliers.)