As a general rule, I think it’s safe to say that I greatly enjoy Golden Monkey teas. First of all, monkey so that’s kind of a duh. Second, it just tends to be a good, full-flavored but smooth and sweet Chinese tea. So yeah, I’m a fan all the way around. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Teavana. I’m not like a total anti-Teavana tea person – I’ve purchased from them before and I’m sure I will again because I think they have some of the cutest yunomi-style cups. But typically I find them too much a fan of blending random beep together and their teas are overpriced for their quality – for the same price elsewhere, much higher quality tea can be had. But enough general tea babbling and let’s get on to specific tea babbling.
The dry leaves are really quite cute (thin and wiry with little gold bits) and have a great fruity (almost berry-like) smell to them. Post-steeping, it has a great malty smell with strong honey notes. Or perhaps it is more of a great honey smell with strong malty notes? Also, there’s a good bake-y smell going on.
The taste was a bit unexpected. It’s not as heavy/thick/chewy as I was expecting but the flavor is very strong and very malty. It’s very clear tasting, like it would look sparkly and clear (which it actually does but that doesn’t always translate to taste). There’s a hint of sour to it which could probably be too much if brewed longer, but at this level it’s actually not bad – it adds a little balance to the sweetness. But it does seem to hang around after this sip which is a little less cool. All in all, it’s not the best GM I’ve had (that honor still belongs to Teas Etc’s GM) but it’s not bad either. Stout, perky, clean – the only real negative is the sour taste and that isn’t overwhelming.
Wait, I take that back. There is another negative – the price. Two ounces of this tea is just over $18. Three ounces of the (in my view, superior) Teas Etc version is just under $17. So even though I like this tea, I don’t think I’d ever actually buy it. Instead, I’d go to Teas Etc, save a bit over a buck and get an ounce more of a better Golden Monkey. (However, the rating I’m giving this tea is based purely on taste, not price.)
ETA: The second steep (3:00) is a bit… plainer than the first one. It doesn’t really have the sour bit anymore except a tad in the aftertaste (which is good) but it also doesn’t have the same bold and sweet malty taste that the first steep did (which is bad). But even though the overall taste was thinner and flatter, I still managed to finish off the cup quickly.