Peter’s Picks – Golden Monkey China Keemun Black Tea

What is in a name? Intrigue, curiosity, questions? All of these come to mind when you see the name Golden Monkey on our Tea display tin. Hmm, think I will try this, oops, it is a little expensive! So you pass it by! What a pity! And now to the curiosity in the name! Golden Monkey comes from the shape of the leaves that the Chinese say resemble monkey claws. Despite the fact that it has been growing for approximately 1700 years, Golden Monkey is relatively new to the North American tea market. It has only been developed for exporting for approximately the last 20 years.

This is one of my favourite black teas and while this Keemun is not for everyone, it is certainly enjoyed by everyone who appreciates a well-made black tea. Jin Hóu Chá) is the Chinese name of this exquisite black tea originating from the Fujian province although it is also grown in Yunnan province. It grows at elevations of 1200 metres. We carry the superfine grade from Fujian Province. It is also grown in Anhui province.

Only the bud and first leaf are picked, and the tea leaves are characterized by the pale gold threading. The ‘Monkey’ is intensely aromatic with beautifully made wiry black leaves full of bright golden tips and leaves. These leaves produce a rich, medium to full bodied tea liquor with a very smooth and sweet flavour with prominent notes of chocolate and malt. This tea has a wonderful depth of flavour and is highly recommended by tea lovers who appreciate fine quality teas.

This spring picked tea with only the bud and first leaf used, Golden Monkey black tea is often compared to Silver Needle White tea most likely because of its quality. This hand-processed spring plucked tea using only the new growth leaves and buds is considered one of the finest Chinese black teas available.

When steeping this tea, I do not recommend making it too strong, especially on the first cup. Too strong a cup will most likely turn you off this tea and most other black teas for that matter. Use 2 -3 grams per 8 ounce cup, bring water short of the boil, 195 – 200F. and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Please stay with your cup and make certain it is steeped properly. Way too many cups of tea are ruined by over-steeping and not paying careful attention to the steeping parameters.

Peter Barker TCP (Tea Connoisseur & Procurer)