Golden Monkey

Tea type
Black Tea
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Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Oak wood, Pine, Toast, Chocolate
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 2 g 10 oz / 281 ml

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91 Tasting Notes View all

From Adagio Teas

Black tea from the Fujian province of China. Golden Monkey tea is hand-processed each spring with a careful plucking of only one leaf and one bud. It is among the finest Chinese black teas available today. The name comes from its unique appearance: the leaves resemble monkey claws. If you enjoy full-bodied teas with an abundance of flavor, you should give this tea a taste.

About Adagio Teas View company

Adagio Teas has become one of the most popular destinations for tea online. Its products are available online at and in many gourmet and health food stores.

91 Tasting Notes

474 tasting notes

We have another sipdown here. I had been working on a sample pouch of this tea for a couple of days and finished the last of it this morning. I used to really enjoy teas like this when I was younger, but had not had one in several years. I was delighted to find that I still enjoy this type of black tea, though I remembered this specific tea as being a little better than I found it to be.

I prepared this tea two ways. The first was a one step Western infusion. I followed Adagio’s guidelines here. I steeped 1 heaped teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. The second preparation was gongfu. I started off by steeping 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 5 seconds. I then followed this infusion up with 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 11 seconds, 14 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

The Western infusion yielded a smooth and subtle brew. I noted mild aromas of cocoa, oak, and toast on the nose. In the mouth, I noted integrated notes of cocoa, oak, cream, toast, malt, and cinnamon in the mouth. The gongfu session yielded a more complex brew. Prior to infusion, I noted a soft, subtle aroma of cocoa coming from the dry leaves. After infusion, I noted slightly more pronounced aromas of toast, malt, cream, oak, cocoa, and spice. In the mouth, I picked up on a strong flavor of cocoa underscored by cinnamon, oak, pine, toast, malt, and cream. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas and flavors of juniper berry, honey, leather, and black peppercorns. Later infusions were very mild with a slight mineral tinge, though honey, wood, malt, and cocoa notes remained. I noticed that this tea started off strong in the gongfu session, but faded quickly. The first 5 infusions yielded a strong, flavorful liquor, the next 3 infusions were decent, and the final 4 infusions were mostly a wash with very subtle aroma and flavor sensations.

This was not a bad golden monkey, but I have had better. Gongfuing this produced more interesting results, but the Western brews were smoother and more consistent overall. In the end, I could see this being a solid all-purpose Chinese black tea or a good introductory Chinese black tea.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Oak wood, Pine, Toast

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36 tasting notes

I only had the teabags for this one, but it’s a lovely solid black tea just the same. Smooth and rich. I love to combine the teabag with some second-steeped chestnut, to add a touch of nutty flavor. Very happy to indulge with a large mug of this one today.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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2400 tasting notes

Thank you so much for the sale, Ali! I’m always willing to try any of the Monkeys. I expect chocolate but this one seems to be pure maltiness. I used one heaping teaspoon as suggested but I’ll have to try two next time. Maybe an eight minute wait was too long as well. I love malty teas but this isn’t really what I expect from a Golden Monkey. It’s sweet, honey. Not much else to say. This is still a very good black tea but maybe I’ve just had some really good monkeys. This note is for learning for next time, I guess.
Steep # 1// 1 tsp // 8 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min

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52 tasting notes

Beautiful dry leaves with golden oxidized buds reminding me of Golden Curl tea from Yunnan. Rich amber-maple color moving to greenish-yellow near cups edge. Spices, with slight honey-sweet tang conjuring thoughts of cooked fruit followed by a woody, nutty astringent finish which really lingers in the wrong way I feel. I am not in love with this tea… and I really wanted to! I feel like its a little tired which will be ANOTHER sample from Adagio that is not quite that good. They really need to date those packs! I will get more next time I go, as I feel this isn’t the teas fault.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

i usually steep red teas at 205F and less time. gongfu method works every time


Yea… I am going to try again. Never really had a problem with the Golden Curl I have, which is similar. I probably need lower temp water… with the boiling I started at 3 minutes and it didn’t taste like much so I put the leaves back in for another 1:30… it just tasted “tired”, for lack of a better term. But thanks for the info I will try 205F for 2-3 minutes and see if that coaxes a better cup :)

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60 tasting notes

I’m not a huge fan of Golden Monkey teas, but I got this one as a free sample so why not?

Looks like a Golden Monkey tea with the curly leaves.

Smells like a Golden Monkey tea. You know, kind of like honey.

Tastes like a Golden Monkey tea. A bit of natural sweetness that balances the tea fairly well and makes it completely unremarkable – unless Golden Monkeys are your thing, I suppose.

Made a great, just slightly sweet iced tea when cold brewed over night.

I enjoyed drinking this tea both hot and cold, but there are other teas I like better.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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6 tasting notes

Golden by name, golden by nature. Like a featherweight boxer, light on its feet but can hold its own when cornered. The slightest of bitterness to give an edge to the smoothness. Fine with a slight dribble of milk, but consider without.

1 tsp

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358 tasting notes

This is another tea from the european teabox, and a sample I picked to remove more or less accidentally. I needed space and this was in a big original bag with a relatively small amount of tea for the space it occupied, so that was that. And while I lucked out on this selection, I am now feeling sorry i won´t read the next person´s opinions on this, because I really liked it and love seeing reviews by others of teas I liked.

For me it´s a quintessential Chinese black tea, though that is an opinion of a non-expert. It´s light, delicate, full of background flavours ( wild honey? some nuttiness?), refreshing. The kind of tea I really like.

But I confess to being a bit baffled by the descriptions and other reviews and wondering if I screwed up amount or brewing times. They mention this as being full-bodied, but with me this turned out light-bodied and delicate and graceful, a ballerina black tea, a perfect afternoon tea. I also find it a very sweet, naturally, tea.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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627 tasting notes

A very tasty and mellow cup of tea, it is my favorite black tea I’ve tried!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

I love Golden Monkey, too!

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49 tasting notes

I liked this one less than the Yunnan Noir because I found it to be more bitter, but still enjoyable.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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1 tasting notes

This is a good full bodied tea. Had good flavor. I could easily make this my everyday morning tea. I would highly recommend this one!

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