Imperial Golden Monkey (ZP85)

Tea type
Black Tea
Chinese Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Rumpus Parable
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205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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23 Tasting Notes View all

From Upton Tea Imports

This selection from Fujian province has a well balanced, smooth cup that is rich and complex in flavor and aroma. Notes of spice, honey, and apple skins linger in the finish. The bold, dark leaves have an attractive appearance, and contain a generous complement of golden tips.

Steeping Suggestions: –
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 212° (boiling)
Steep Time: 4-5 min.

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23 Tasting Notes

985 tasting notes

Tea of the morning……

It has been quite a while since I last had this tea. With all the new additions to my tea stash and all the samples I have been trying, this one simply just got buried in the back of the tea cupboard. It is always good to get reacquainted with an old friend.

This tea is so smooth. I get notes of apple and honey, plus just a dash of cocoa. I do have last year’s version, and it looks like it has gone up just a little in price. I recall 125g being about $16, and now it is $20. I do think I would take a chance on the new version when this is gone.

Usual teapot method.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Dinah Saur

I know exactly what you mean with the additions to your tea stash and samples. I’ve been in exactly the same situation and am trying to not only at least taste most of the samples I’ve been getting, but still have the time to drink my old standbys! It’s surprisingly difficult to balance!!

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8177 tasting notes

hmmmm revisiting this one and I’m less impressed this time around. For that reason alone, not likely to be a staple though it’s not a bad straight black tea. Also…somewhere along the way i hit over 1000 tasting notes so go me! Not that i noticed at the time lol.


congrats on 1000 reviews!!


Just flew by 1000, I guess! Crazy!

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2185 tasting notes

Got a sample of this one in a package from SimplyJenW… yay for continuing my black tea education! I’ve had one other Golden Monkey before, and that was Harney’s. That one I first tried way back when I really wasn’t into unflavored black teas at all, but I liked it pretty well (but not enough to seek out others).

The dry tea for this smells malty and hay-ish. When I smelled this and the Harney version back to back, this one smelled brighter and the Harney one smelled more caramelly. When steeped, this tea has a nice depth to the aroma. It smells honeyed and yes, a bit like dried apples. Also some toasty grains, a bit. Other people have said “tart apples” in tasting notes for this one, and I think I get that… it’s definitely kind of fruity as well as a bit alfalfa-y. There are some light chocolatey notes there, but they’re definitely not the main event. All in all I really enjoy the flavor of this one… except the fact that there is a layer of bitterness over everything. I’m very sensative to bitterness in black teas and this one is oversteeped to my tastes. I definitely need to drop my water temp a smidge next time and see how it goes.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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1112 tasting notes

Another very much enjoyed tea, all gone! I really enjoyed this slightly tart and green apple-y incarnation of a monkey. It especially reminds me of the summer because I made so much delicious iced tea with it! We are having a strangely warm and sunny January day here on the East Coast, so I thought it appropriate to bid this one adieu as I dream of visiting gardens and having picnics.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This one is sold out! I looked at it in the catalog last night. Here in NC, it is warm but very overcast. I do wish we were having a sunny also!


I think my next monkey is going to be Harney’s! I have 2 coworkers who want to place an order with me. I love being a tea pusher :) :) :)


The latest batch is really rich!

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136 tasting notes

Been testing various Upton black teas lately… mostly the blends, but thought I’d try this out this morning. The leaves look very fancy, for sure.

Added my typical T. of honey to sweeten and the first sip is amazing. Not one itty bitty sign of bitterness anywhere. I am getting a sense that there is already sweetness to this tea, and the honey is blending in nicely.

Amy oh, you were right about exploring non-blend blacks… if this one is any example, I think I might have hit my stride in my quest. This is EXCELLENT. If I really like this one, what’s next? (ponders)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Try some Fujian teas, and explore more Chinese teas in general. I find them to be smoother, less bitter. Anything Chinese with “Golden” in title (like Golden Yunnan) you might like, too. Have fun :)


Oh yes, Chinese black teas. I think it was Adagio’s Golden Monkey and their Fujian Baroque that got me hooked, and then I continued onto the China congou teas at Upton. Keemuns are a little smokier, Yunnans a little maltier, but both pretty smooth. If you think you might like a light rose scent, try Upton’s Rose Congou.


Taking notes… thanks ladies : )

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1959 tasting notes

I love teas that are consistently and predictably good every time. This one is. Still getting the mildly spicy, appley hints alluded to in Upton’s description…and craving a piece of homemade pie.

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53 tasting notes

Vry nice iced with a touch of sugar. Honey notes come out nicely.

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74 tasting notes

This is the first time I’ve tried Golden Monkey and it was pretty darn good.

It reminds me a bit of the other bold, malty black tea that I love from China: Yunnan Gold. Very interesting and bold flavour, but still mellow and not bitter or in-your-face. A nice combo. Let the experiments in Black Tea continue!!!!!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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177 tasting notes

I’m surprised that this doesn’t have a higher rating. It is one of Upton’s finest China black teas. Many-layered and well-balanced between sweet and piquant notes. It sells out quickly when it hits Upton’s site.

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160 tasting notes

I’ve been looking forward to trying this one for awhile. Before steeping I’m getting a deep chocolatey smell, with a fruity sweetness in the background. After I got it in the cup it smells like the yeast rolls my grandmother makes. The taste reminds me of buttermilk biscuits, roasted nuts, and a hint of cocoa. A little malty tasting too. It’s also tasting a bit like artichoke when I steep it multiple times. Mild lingering tang in the aftertaste. I like this best with a relatively short steep time, lower than boiling temp., and sugar.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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