Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Tea Chest – Golden Monkey

Yes, this is how I work!
During last summer, I drank I ridiculous amount of tea. I find this slightly amusing, as I drank more hot tea during out hottest months in Lorne than I have all winter at home since. In no small part, this was due to the Erskine River Tea House, which I visited almost every day as a way to escape from the monotony of working and living in the same building. I'd sit there for a few hours, reading a book, or working on my writing, and go through at least one pot of tea, trying a new one each time. Towards the end of summer, I started taking notes about the various teas that I was drinking, with a view to sharing them on my blog. A bit late now, considering we are now approaching summer once more, but as the old clique goes, better late than never!

The first tea I took notes on was called 'Golden Monkey'. It's a black tea from the Fujian province of China. The full leaf tip is curled tightly when dry, and resembles the hands of a monkey, which is where this particular variety gets its name. When brewed, these unfurl into beautiful, long, unbroken leaves, which themselves remind me of fingers. The tea brews to a golden honey colour, with a sweet aroma, itself reminiscent of honey and light stone fruit, maybe peach or nectarine. It's quite robust, with a slightly woody or earthy quality, is naturally a bit sweet, and pleasantly lacks astringency or bitterness. Well, usually lacks bitterness, I once let it overstep while distracted, and the result was almost unpalatable, so I recommend not going over 5 minutes. It's milder than your typical English-style black teas, very smooth to drink, and well-rounded on the palate. I've read some people's opinions on Golden Monkey teas, and didn't detect the chocolate tones that are often described, but that may be either my underdeveloped palate, or a variation between batches.

On the whole, a lovely tea that I highly recommend. Erskine River Tea House were selling it at AUD $12 for 100g way back in February.

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